David Jones and men’s fashion brand Politix have begun back-paying over 7,000 employees about $4 million in wages that were unpaid between 2014 and 2020. Both companies have committed to rectifying the underpayments and will also insert new measures to prevent similar issues occurring in the future.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) says David Jones and Politix underpaid their workers $1.9 million and $2.1 million respectively. This impacted thousands of David Jones employees from 2014 to 2020, and about 850 Politix workers from 2016 to 2020. The average underpayment was $170 at David Jones, and $2,353 at Politix. The FWO says the “large majority” of back-payments have already been made.
How did it happen?
The underpayments were caused by failures in manual payroll processes and salaries that didn’t cover all legal entitlements. They also didn’t cover some other paid tasks, such as training activities. This meant that employees didn’t receive their full minimum wage, as well as public holiday and overtime rates. David Jones also didn’t pay the correct superannuation amount to employees.
Is there a penalty?
David Jones will make a $130,000 payment to a Federal Government fund, while Politix will pay a $160,000 penalty. Under the agreements with the FWO, both companies will need to provide targeted support lines for affected employees, including an independent hotline, and publish public notices alerting people of the underpayments. They also agreed to conduct annual, independent audits over two years to ensure staff are being paid their proper entitlements.