Most people are concerned about the coronavirus activity going on right now, however, businesses should also be worried about the possible underpayment of professionals and other staff.

In this article, we will examine the recent underpayment crisis and who has been affected by it.

The news of underpayment allegations began predominant in the second half of 2019. One of the culprits, was the grocery giant, Woolworths. The company admitted they had underpaid over 5,000 workers as governed by the General Retail Industry Award. (As we explained in last week’s article, an employment award outlines pay entitlements for a specific type of industry or occupation). As for how the underpayment came to the surface, inconsistencies in pay were discovered when Woolworths began implementing a new enterprise agreement. Woolworths then reported this to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and sought a review of internal processes. The staff affected were promised full payment of their entitlements.

In December, news broke that the burger chain, ‘Grill’d’ had been accused of using traineeships to keep young employees on wages that fell below the minimum award rate. Workers unions and organisations alleged that some workers had been pressured into signing traineeships that cut their rate of pay by over $3 an hour. While this undue pressure was deemed wrong, the traineeship scheme itself was completely legal and used in numerous industries.


Need help?

If you feel that you could be underpaying staff and you require further assistance, please contact one of our accounts or lawyers by clicking here to submit an online enquiry form or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange a teleconference or appointment.