WHSmith admits underpaying 1500 workers by $2.2 million

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: Online : 6-Nov-20

WHSmith Australia has agreed to an enforceable undertaking after admitting that its employees had been underpaid some $2.2m between October 2013 and April 2019. The underpayment affected about 1,500 employees of the retailer, which has provided backpay totalling $2.257m to past and present staff. The company, which reported the underpayment to the Fair Work Ombudsman, will also make a ‘contrition payment’ of $50,000.

CORPORATES
WH SMITH AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN

Fair Work flags reprieve on underpayment

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 13-Jul-20

Restaurants, cafes and horticulture are among the sectors that the Fair Work Ombudsman tends to focus upon regarding wage underpayments. However, the FWO notes that businesses in these sectors are likely to be under severe financial stress because of COVID-19. As a result, it is prepared to take no legal action against businesses in these circumstances as well as considering the reduction of ‘contrition payments’, provided that their non-compliance was not "egregious or deliberate". The FWO will make large companies its 2020-21 focus so far as underpayments are concerned.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

‘Admission is not absolution’: FWO warns Woolies after $300m wage theft revelations

Original article by
The New Daily – Page: Online : 31-Oct-19

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has apologised after the retail giant became the latest company to be embroiled in the wage underpayment scandal. Woolworths has advised that it faces remediation costs of up to $300m after revealing that some 5,700 employees across its supermarkets and Metro stores have been underpaid, potentially since 2010. Woolworths will also review its non-grocery businesses, such as Big W and Dan Murphy’s. Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says the size of a company’s underpayment will be taken into consideration when the FWO considers penalties in the future.

CORPORATES
WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, WOOLWORTHS SUPERMARKETS, BIG W DISCOUNT STORES, DAN MURPHY’S, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, WESFARMERS LIMITED – ASX WES, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN

Perry’s Rockpool chain cheated its staff out of $10m

Original article by Tessa Akerman
The Australian – Page: 3 : 25-Oct-19

Maurice Blackburn’s principal lawyer Josh Bornstein has described allegations that Rockpool Dining Group underpaid its staff as one of the "most egregious cases of wage theft" in Australian history. The law firm has submitted a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman on behalf of the Hospo Voice union; amongst other things, it alleges that the restaurant group altered employees’ timesheets to show that they worked for just 38 hours a week, when some in fact are said to have worked for up to 100 hours a week. Bornstein says the FWO should seek the maximum penalty against Rockpool, given that it has acknowledged that the penalty against celebrity chef George Calombari for wage underpayment was too light.

CORPORATES
ROCKPOOL DINING GROUP, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, HOSPO VOICE, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, MADE ESTABLISHMENT PTY LTD

Telcos cop fewer complaints but take longer to solve them

Original article by Supratim Adhikari
The Australian – Page: 20 : 25-Sep-19

Data from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman shows that it received 132,387 complaints about telephone and internet services in 2018-19, which is 21.1 per cent lower than previously. The figures also show that just 47 per cent of escalated complaints were not resolved within 60 days, compared with 77 per cent in 2017-18. Meanwhile, 32.6 per cent of complaints received by the TIO were about fixed-line broadband services, while 30.3 per cent concerned mobile phone services.

CORPORATES
TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY OMBUDSMAN LIMITED, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS

Ombudsman warning over unfair clauses

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 6-Sep-19

Small business ombudsman Kate Cornell suggests that around 50 per cent of all ‘standard form contracts’ offered to small businesses by service providers outside the banking sector could contain clauses that deemed to be unfair. Carnell says that some of the worst offenders in this regard include companies in the advertising and rubbish removal sectors. She has called on companies that may have unfair terms in their contracts to remove them, as to avoid being sued. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and the Bank of Queensland are being sued by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

Unfair dismissal: retreat over pay

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 7-Aug-19

Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code is "ambiguous and open to interpretation". She adds that small businesses would be in a better position to comply with the code if ambiguous language were removed. Carnell has also argued the case for the Fair Work Commission to establish a small business division, although she now favours reviewing the maximum compensation for unfair dismissal after a revised code has been operating for at least 12 months.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS

Celebrity chef underpayments triple to $7.8m

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 19-Jul-19

The Made Establishment restaurant business of celebrity chef George Calombaris will pay staff more than $7.8 million in back pay under an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman. The amount is more than triple the $2.6 million that Made Establishment had estimated in 2017 that it might owe, while it will also pay a fine of $200,000. Unions have criticised the modest fine, while Hospo Voice union leader Orlaith Belfrage, who worked for Calombaris’s Hellenic Republic restaurant, says he should be taken off reality-TV program ‘Masterchef’.

CORPORATES
MADE ESTABLISHMENT PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, HOSPO VOICE

Watchdog to get tough over worker rip-offs

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 3-Jun-19

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says the agency will make greater use of enforcement tools as part of its crackdown on employers that underpay their staff. Parker adds that businesses which self-report non-compliance to the FWO should also expected to face penalties, noting that there has been an increase in self-reporting in recent times. Meanwhile, Parker has identified sectors such as fast-food restaurants, cafes, horticulture and franchising as priorities for the FWO in 2019-20.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN

Bad bankers to be named and shamed

Original article by Jeff Whalley
Herald Sun – Page: 26 : 1-Nov-18

Australian Financial Complaints Authority CEO David Locke says the new agency expects to handle 55,000 complaints from consumers and small businesses in its first year. The AFCA has been formed via the merger of the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal and the Credit & Investments Ombudsman. Locke says he will be more open to "naming and shaming" wrongdoers in the financial services industry than the FOS, noting that the latter was restricted to doing so in annual reports. The number of complaints received by the FOS rose by 10 per cent during its last year of operation.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY, FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN SERVICE LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. SUPERANNUATION COMPLAINTS TRIBUNAL, CREDIT AND INVESTMENTS OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY