UNSCRUPULOUS employers are using a "black market cash economy" to avoid paying one-in-four young workers their entitlements, the Australian Council of Trade Unions claims.
The figure arose from a survey of more than 1000 workers commissioned by the Victorian Trades Hall Council and the ACTU.
The survey was launched at the Young Workers Conference in Melbourne on Thursday.
It also revealed one in 10 people were employed in insecure, black market work, with people aged 18-30 most at risk.
Of these jobs, 50-60% did not provide superannuation, annual leave, sick leave or penalty rates.
ACTU president Ged Kearney said employers paid workers cash-in-hand to avoid their legal obligations and to dodge taxes, describing it as "one of the dirty secrets of the Australian economy".
"It is appalling that at the same time we have employers running a major campaign to abolish penalty rates, we find that between 50-60% of all young workers in black market jobs are denied their basic legal entitlements, including penalty rates, superannuation, annual leave, sick leave and basic notice before they get the sack," Ms Kearney said.
The national survey, conducted by Essential Research between September 12-23, found 13% of workers had worked cash-in-hand in the past three years and 5% were working cash-in-hand in one of their current jobs.
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