Nearly 4000 Beaurepaires employees have been incorrectly paid since 2010 as a result of payroll system errors resulting in close to $2 million in underpayments.
Beaurepaires Australia has disclosed the weekly payroll errors resulted in about 3700 current and former employees not receiving their correct payments. The errors will cost the company close to $1.8 million in backpay for more than 1100 people who were underpaid.
The company said it was not expected that any of the remaining workers who were overpaid will be asked to repay that money.
Beaurepaires said it made the discovery after a routine review of its payroll system which found some weekly-paid staff had been either overpaid or underpaid. The amount of underpayments for each staff member varied widely.
The errors relate to overtime and annual leave loading for shift workers and resulted from a failure to update the company’s payroll system in response to changes to the industry award and a “misinterpretation of payment provisions”.
Beaurepaires said it apologises to all staff affected and is working to remedy the problem. It said it will ensure all outstanding payments are paid, with interest, “as quickly as possible”.
Scott Bennett, director of retail operations said the correct payment to staff was a fundamental responsibility of the business.
“We know it is of critical importance to our people and also to the integrity and trust that Beaurepaires stands for,” he said.
“We want to be very clear in stating that this failure is completely unacceptable.
“We take full responsibility for addressing the issue as quickly and transparently as possible.”
Mr Bennett said since the problem was identified, the company’s priority has been to understand how the errors occurred and how much staff are owed, so “that we correctly compensate our associates, now and in the future”.
“Given the size of our workforce and the sheer volume of data over a number of years, we have been working with external experts to ensure that everyone can have confidence in the outcome and that the analysis was completed as quickly and accurately as possible,” he said.
Former weekly-paid retail staff employed in any Beaurepaires store between 2010 and 2019 can contact Beaurepaires’ on 1300 47 33 78, or email firstname.lastname@example.org