Victoria launches new workplace laws e-learning tool

The Wage Inspectorate Victoria has launched new online modules for employers and workers to improve understanding and bolster awareness of Victorian workplace laws, in particular Victoria’s long service leave and wage theft laws.

Last year, the Inspectorate filed wage theft charges against a restaurant and its officer, which were the first criminal wage theft charges laid under the Victorian Wage Theft Act 2020 and the first in any Australian jurisdiction.

According to its data, more than 280,000 Victorians accessed educative information on the Wage Inspectorate’s website last year.

Also, more than 12,000 people also phoned the regulator, with many of their questions helping to inform the content for the new e-learning modules.

The free e-learning modules will aim to improve compliance with workplace rights and obligations and will be trialled over the coming months to test the effectiveness of e-learning.

The long service leave module will deal with topics like determining when Victoria’s Long Service Act applies, how leave accrues and when it can be taken. It will also cover topics such as how workers could recoup money they are owed and how to resolve related concerns.

The wage theft module will focus on the legal definition of wage theft, how to address wage theft, the process of reporting it, and the support available from the Wage Inspectorate.

The new tool will also include the employer-focused module which would contain information on who can be liable for wage theft offences. Its aim is to help organisations understand their role in preventing a corporate culture that could lead to a wage theft offence being tolerated.

The modules would also offer audio and interactive elements that provide an overview of the law and allow practitioners or people with specific questions to jump to topics they need help with.

After finishing the courses, users would be encouraged to complete a short survey to provide their feedback and rate the extent to which their knowledge about long service leave and wage theft has improved.

Commissioner of Wage Inspectorate Victoria, Robert Hortle, said the pilot was part of the Inspectorate’s commitment to trialling different ways of improving wage law compliance.

“Visits to our website over the past year have demonstrated strong demand for online learning, and we hope to attract even more visitors with these new resources,” he said.

“We know there is a variety of learning preferences out there, and that’s why we provide support through multiple channels – we have fact sheets, videos, frequently asked questions, a Helpline and now online learning. Being informed is the first step to being compliant.”

Separately, Victoria’s Minister for Industry and Innovation, Ben Carroll, announced a further skills boost for Victorians seeking new digital careers by announcing “hundreds more opportunities” for Victorians under the state’s Digital Jobs program.

The Minister welcomed new recruits for the sixth round of the $63.8 million Digital Jobs program which, through 12-week training courses, gives digital job hunters relevant qualifications and skills in cybersecurity, IT support, digital marketing and business analytics. On completion of the course, participants are then matched with a Victorian business for a 12-week job placement.

The Minister said a $2.5 million investment in the latest round of the program would support an additional 800 candidates to complete their training, while a separate $5,000 wage subsidy would be available to eligible Victorian employers towards the cost of employing candidates during 12-week internships.

The program, described as “inclusive”, aims to support those mid-career, women, regional and culturally diverse Victorians to find a job in the digital economy.

Since its launch in August 2021, the program has helped match more than 740 Victorian businesses with more than 2,500 candidates, offering a range of experience, talents and transferrable skills.

Victorian employers who found digital recruits from the Digital Jobs program include Ltd, PwC Australia, CBA, Amazon Web Services, MYOB, Salesforce and Computershare.

“We’re supporting Victorians to transition into digital careers and open the door to exciting new work opportunities, by backing them with the training they need and a foot in the door,” Minister Carroll said.

“Victorian businesses are in need of workers with digital skills, and this program is delivering a skilled workforce equipped for jobs of the future.”

Research from Deloitte reveals that around 87 per cent of current jobs in Australia require digital literacy skills, with the professional services group predicting that Victoria will need an extra 33,000 technology workers by 2024.