Qantas has admitted to an embarrassing underpayment bungle involving 220 workers.
Qantas discovered it had mistakenly employed the workers under individual contracts instead of enterprise agreements.
As a result, the airline underpaid the workers an average of $8,000 a year over several years.
But Qantas isn’t the only company to admit to underpaying its workers this week.
Today, the Super Retail group, which owns brands like Rebel Sport and Supercheap Auto, admitted to underpaying its store managers $32 million.
The Qantas underpayments
Qantas said it wrongly employed 220 staff on individual contracts, instead of the relevant enterprise agreement.
The affected workers will receive what they are owed, plus interest, in addition to an additional one off payment of $1,000.
The classification stuff up also resulted in the airline overpaying 165 workers an average of $12,000 a year.
Those workers will not be made to repay the money.
Leslie Grant from Qantas apologised for the pay error.
“There was never an intention to underpay people, as shown by the fact that three-quarters of people who were affected by the error are financially better off.
‘The fact that some employees have been negatively impacted is frankly embarrassing.”
Super Retail underpayments
Super Retail has also admitted to significant underpayments involving its store managers.
The group owns Rebel Sport, Supercheap Auto, Macpac, Rays Outdoors and BCF retail stores.
Following a review of its employment arrangements, the company said it discovered that it owed its store managers $32 million in back-pay.
The underpayments happened because the company incorrectly applied overtime rates.
The company has set aside the $32 million to back-pay the workers, in addition to a further $11 million to cover interest payments and payroll tax.
CEO Steve Birtles said:
“We are very disappointed that we have let these team members down and not met our standards, and we apologise to each person affected unreservedly.”
The bottom line
Miles Heffernan from IR Claims represents employees who have been underpaid as a result of payroll errors by employers.
“It beggars belief that major companies with entire payroll departments full of trained accountants can make mistakes like this,” he said.
“If a worker is being short changed $8,000 a year, that can make a big difference to their budget at the end of each week.”
“There is no excuse for failing to pay your workers their proper wages and entitlements.”
Please call our team at Industrial Relations Claims today on