Wesfarmers announced on the 19th February, 2020 that Target staff have been underpaid by $9 million. The day before, they announced that Coles employees have been underpaid by $20 million. Late last year, Bunnings and Woolworths announced their staff had been underpaid by 6.1 million and $300 million, respectively. Woolworths admitted that their managers were paid an annual salary and were not paid for the extra hours performed. The FWO has already begun an investigation into Target’s underpayments.
Large retailers aren’t the only ones to get it wrong; restaurants linked to celebrity chefs Heston Blumenthal and George Calombaris, have been in the news lately for underpaying their staff. It was announced on the 3rd February that Blumenthal underpaid his staff by $4.5 million, in part due to his employees working up to 25 hours unpaid overtime per week. Calombaris had to shut his 12 restaurants on the 10th February due to the reputational damage the underpayment of $7.8 million scandal has generated.
Commenting on the legislation changes, the Minister for Industrial Relations said that the government would ensure that employers are ‘compelled’ to pay their staff correct wages and there could be potential jail time for the worst offenders.
The FWO is going hard on franchises and retailers and will not tolerate any mistakes. In fact, the latest award changes are proof of just that. The annualised salary legislation ensures that employers pay their staff what they are due in regards to overtime and ordinary hours.
It’s never been a better time to be 100% sure that you pay your employees correctly.
If you are not clear about the rules in your award, especially the General Retail Award, please contact us for an audit. We will check your current rostering arrangements and provide recommendations on your current salaries agreements to ensure you are compliant.
Also, if you are not across the new annualised salary legislation taking effect on the 1st of March 2020, contact us on 03 9325 5900.