Making a complaint about underpayment of wages or entitlements

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Make an underpayment complaint to Private Sector Labour Relations industrial inspectors

If you believe you have been underpaid wages or leave entitlements the steps below outline the process to make a complaint to Private Sector Labour Relations at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. The department is able to investigate alleged underpayments of:

  • WA award pay rates and leave entitlements; 
  • minimum pay rates and leave entitlements under the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act; and 
  • long service leave entitlements under the Long Service Leave Act.

If you are seeking enforcement of pay rates above the award or minimum rates, or contractual entitlements not provided by an award or employment legislation, you may be able to make a Denial of Contractual Benefits Claim to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Visit the Commission’s website at for details. 

Step One - check your entitlements

If you are unsure, call Wageline on 1300 655 266.

Step Two - talk to your employer

You should first speak to your employer to see if you can resolve the issue. In doing so, you can inform your employer that you have spoken to Wageline and let them know what information Wageline has told you about your entitlements. 

Step Three - put your claim in writing to your employer

As well as talking to your employer, you should put your concerns in writing to your employer.  A sample letter is available to assist you - this letter can be changed depending upon the nature of your claim.

Your letter should provide as much information as possible about how you believe you have not been paid your correct entitlements. A letter that contains facts without emotive language is more likely to assist in resolving the matter. 

You can also provide the employer with information to support your claim such as a copy of the Wageline award summary. 

You should set a reasonable timeframe in which you would like a response - for example 14 days.  

You may wish to email your letter, or send it by post or registered mail. 

You will need to keep a copy of the letter and the delivery receipt if sent by registered mail. If you make a formal complaint to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (see Step Four) then you will be required to provide a copy of the letter that you sent to your employer and any response received as part of the process of making a formal complaint. 

Step Four - making a formal complaint 

If you are unable to resolve the issue yourself, you can make a formal complaint to Private Sector Labour Relations at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Please note that Private Sector Labour Relations will not be able to assist you until you have already attempted to resolve the issue with your employer (see steps two and three).

To make a complaint you must complete the relevant Entitlement Complaint Form and attach supporting documentation which provides evidence of your complaint.

There are two complaint forms:

If your complaint relates to both long service leave and other employment entitlements, you will need to complete both complaint forms. 

Step Five - conciliation

After your complaint form has been received, we will attempt to conciliate the matter.  A conciliation officer will be assigned to your complaint, and will work with you and the employer to attempt to resolve the matter. This conciliation process usually takes approximately 21 days from when the conciliation officer first contacts you. 

Step Six - formal investigation

As per the Private Sector Labour Relations Division Compliance and Enforcement Policy, if your complaint is not resolved via conciliation, your complaint may be allocated to an industrial inspector for formal investigation.  

Private Sector Labour Relations does not formally investigate every complaint that it receives, and exercises discretion in deciding which matters to investigate. Private Sector Labour Relations has developed guidelines to assist determining whether a complaint will be formally investigated. These guidelines are set out at Attachment A in the Private Sector Labour Relations Division Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

If your complaint proceeds to the formal investigation stage, an industrial inspector will be allocated to your case. An industrial inspector is impartial and does not represent either employees or employers. Their role is to investigate possible breaches of employment laws.

During the formal investigation you will need to:

  • provide all the evidence you have about the alleged underpayment of wages or entitlements. This may include:
    • copies of payslips
    • payment summaries (group certificates)
    • bank statements showing payments of wages
    • written contract of employment
    • timesheets
    • diary records
  • provide truthful information about the matter
  • make a witness statement regarding your employment and the wages and entitlements you have received from the employer
  • keep in touch with the industrial inspector investigating your case and inform him or her of any changes, such as the employer resolving the issue with you or you leaving Western Australia.

Step Seven - conclusion of investigation

After the industrial inspector has completed the formal investigation you will be contacted and told of the outcome. If the evidence supports a breach of employment law, we will advise your employer to repay your unpaid entitlements.

Step Eight - Industrial Magistrates Court

If a breach of employment law is supported by evidence and your employer does not voluntarily resolve it, the matter may be taken to the Industrial Magistrates Court for determination. If this occurs you will most likely be required to give evidence in court.

Taking a claim to the Industrial Magistrates Court 

The Taking a claim to the Industrial Magistrates Court - a guide for employees publication assists employees to independently make a claim to the Industrial Magistrates Court for unpaid entitlements under state employment laws, WA awards and state industrial agreements. 

Make an anonymous report about wage theft 

Use the Anonymous Wage Theft Report Form to make an anonymous report about wage theft under WA state employment laws.


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