Another large Australian company has admitted to underpaying their staff up to $300 million!
Following an investigation, Woolworths has admitted to underpaying 5,700 salaried staff across Australia over a ten year period.
The supermarket giant joins a growing list of companies in Australia including Westfarmers, Qantas and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), with the ABC owing current and previous flat-rate casual staff up to $22.9 million.
Woolworths said the underpayments emerged when the implementation of a new enterprise agreement highlighted “an inconsistency in pay” for some workers. Woolworths explained that its employees were entitled to be paid either their contractual salary or “what they otherwise would have earned for actual hours worked under the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA)”, which ever was higher.
Woolworths did not properly factor in hours of work when these were for employee salaries.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has said that they are not accepting Woolworths’ apology and are seriously considering taking the supermarket giant to court for breaching workplace laws.
These examples demonstrate why your business MUST be on top of the Award your employees fall into and that they are being paid correctly. By not paying your staff correctly, you not only risk action from the FWO but also lower morale and negative public facing for your business, as has occurred with the companies mentioned above for the underpayment of their staff. The FWO is taking the issue of underpayments seriously, recovering $40 million for 18,000 underpaid workers from a range of businesses in the previous financial year.
The MTA’s Workplace Relations team is available to assist members in paying their staff correctly and if you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact the team by clicking here.
Are you looking at taking on an apprentice? A benefit of taking on a MTA apprentice from our Group Training Organisation (GTO) is we take care of the payroll so you don’t have to. By working with hosts, we ensure that apprentices are paid correctly.
If you would like to enquire about taking on a Group Training apprentice from the MTA or have any questions, click here to contact the Training and Employment Centre.