Appearing on ABC’s Q&A program last night, former MasterChef Winner Adam Liaw has suggested that bosses who steal wages from their employees should face prison time.

“Prison for doing large-scale systemic wage theft is certainly something that should be on the table,” the 2010 reality show winner said.

“I have worked in an awful lot of restaurants. I have flipped burgers, washed dishes and cleaned toilets and in the vast majority of those jobs I was not paid an award wage,” he told guest host of the program Fran Kelly.

Liaw went on to say that it was often smaller restaurants that would underpay their staff.

“Generally the larger the organisation, the organisations that could afford to have payroll people to keep an eye on whether everyone was being paid accordingly, were the ones that paid better.

“Mum and Dad restaurants that couldn’t keep across the complexities of the award wage system were the ones that were paying below the award wage.

“In my case that was $10 an hour and $5 an hour in some cases.

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“But none of that is an excuse for not paying your employees properly”.

When asked by Kelly about whether the underpayment of wages should be considered a criminal offence, Liaw responded by saying: “Why not? It’s fraud and dishonesty.”

“The deterrence in terms of increasing penalties and putting people in prison for doing large-scale systemic wage theft is certainly something that should be on the table.”

4KQ 693AM Brisbane