A large Brisbane-based retail company has back-paid more than 70 workers a total of $25,000 following an investigation by the Federal Workplace Ombudsman.
The Workplace Ombudsman began looking into company records last year after a sales attendant complained that she had been underpaid.
Executive Director Michael Campbell says the worker was underpaid $2375 in annual leave entitlements as a result of an administrative error when the company switched to a new payroll system.
“As a result, our investigation was widened to determine if other workers had also been inadvertently short-changed,” said Campbell.
“It was subsequently discovered that some 77 workers had been underpaid a total of $22,600 in annual leave entitlements, and we negotiated with the company to reimburse the money.”
Campbell said 58 of the underpaid employees were located throughout Queensland and 19 were interstate.
He said the Workplace Ombudsman has chosen not to prosecute the company because the underpayments were not deliberate and the company had cooperated fully in rectifying the problem.
However, Campbell warned underpayment of workers was a serious breach of workplace law that could attract large financial penalties.
“If we had chosen to take this matter to court, the company could have faced a maximum penalty of $33,000 per breach,” he said.
“This case shows that when we become aware of an issue we will follow the matter to the end to ensure that all employees receive their correct entitlements.”