Every worker has the right to just and favourable conditions of work, including secure and reliable remuneration by employers.
Wages are to be paid under safe circumstances that do not inadvertently expose or increase the likelihood that a worker will encounter violence, theft or other harm. Payment of wages should always be made by way of legal tender and preferably into an account that the employee controls; payments should be made at regular intervals and not delayed without warning or reason. Further, an employee should have their wages appropriately and legally recorded to enable the raising of any issues of underpayment and to keep a record of their income which can be used to gain access to credit, secure housing or meet visa requirements.
Some categories of employees (such as migrant or seasonal workers) are often more likely to find themselves in potentially unsafe working conditions, increasing the likelihood that they will be exposed to dangers such as violence or theft, including if they work very late at night, work in isolated areas, or are reliant on public transport to travel between their home and workplace.
In circumstances where direct transfers to a bank account are not possible, businesses should seek to provide a cheque or promissory note so that cash withdrawals are able to be made at a secure banking or financial institution in safe circumstances, such as during regular business hours and close to the employee’s residence. Payment of wages should not be made in-kind and never in the form of illegal substances.
It is also necessary for businesses to ensure that wages are paid regularly so that an employee does not needlessly lack certainty as to when they will receive payment. The absence of regular payment may place the worker at risk of losing housing or access to other essential services.