Submitted by Lugius on April 4, 2016

Against the background of a fresh assault on penalty rates by the various employer bodies in Australia, the ASF in launching a campaign to raise the hourly rate paid to cash-in-hand work to a minimum of $25p/h

The current going rate varies between $15-$20 with some employers paying even less. The demand for $25p/h takes into account that working for cash-in-hand rates means missing out on penalty rates, leave loading, superannuation, sick pay, etc.

The Hospitality Workers Initiative attached to ASF Melbourne has been in contact with workers in the industry gathering information about conditions of work and rates of pay. HWI has discovered that many employers are demanding 'free trials' where workers are paid nothing at all for a pre-determined period before being paid at the agreed rate. Other issues are sexual harrassment at work and being sacked without reason.

The vast majority of workers in the cash economy are students (particularly overseas students), single mothers and recently arrived immigrants.

Hospitality Workers Initiative can be contacted through the FB page

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6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Good luck comrades! Also great to see that ASF seems to be on the up down there ;-)

Could you explain the definition of a 'cash in hand worker'? I think I get the idea; anybody paid cash at the end of the day instead of a check every couple weeks.

In the US we mostly talk about 'temp' labor as having these issues - that said, not all 'temp' labor is necessarily 'cash in hand'. A huge amount of construction related day labor outfits operate under a 'cash in hand' model but other temp agencies run every-two-week paycheck schemes. My experience in temp work ,which was somewhere around a couple of years worth, was through an agency that paid out every two weeks, even if I was dispatched to a couple of jobs that had different pay rates. The major issue there, which I for the most part luckily didn't have to deal with, was employers (as in the employer using the temp service) would often bully temps into changing their hours on their sheet (a thing we had to turn in either at the end of the job or by a certain date towards the end of a payperiod). Those sheets were basically the invoices the temp agency used to charge the employer for temp employment dispatches so I can imagine that some bosses were real shits about this. Oh gawd, rambling.

Anyways, I'll watch this campaign with interest and share the news around where I can - perhaps as it develops down the line some- ASF and WSA can arrange an online information skyping session so we can hear in detail about the campaign and organizational specifics.


6 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Cash-in-hand means you are paid cash directly without tax taken out to be remitted to the government. Technically, it's illegal to hire workers without putting them 'on the books'. But it is more widespread than is commonly known.

The federal governments Productivity Commission made reccomendations to get rid of penalty rates particularly double-time for a Sunday.

Various industry groups support this including the hospitality industry - yet the hospitality industry is the worst offender.

Workers working cash-in-hand have no legal protection whatsoever.

The ASF campaign is hoping to put an upward pressure on cash-in hand rates in the long run.