More than 40,000 current and former Bunnings employees are set to receive their unpaid superannuation entitlements after the hardware giant on Friday revealed the quantum of its underpayment case.
In late September, the retailer admitted it had failed to pay a number of its workers superannuation since 2011, blaming the issue on an error in its payroll system.
Today the company revealed the total amount of underpaid super came in at $3.89 million and affected a total of 40,890 workers. With compensation included, the figure increased to $6.1 million.
The average underpayment per team member, compensation excluded, equated to $95.33, with the majority of workers set to receive a back payment of under $70. Bunnings has already issued the funds to the Australian Taxation Office.
A spokesperson for the company said the figures had been verified, and the company was “confident the error had now been rectified to ensure this never happens again”.
The $2.2 million in compensation largely consists of interest payments to workers, which Bunnings chose to calculate on a compound basis despite the ATO requiring only simple interest.
“This results in a higher payment and is more consistent with how superannuation earnings are accrued,” the spokesperson said.
In September, Bunnings human resources director Jacqui Coombes said the retailer was “very sorry” for the underpayment.
“We understand the importance of ensuring our team members are paid everything they are entitled to in full and on time – in this case, whilst inadvertent, we haven’t, and we are very sorry for that,” she said.
The 2019 underpayment bill for parent company Wesfarmers has now topped $20 million, with the company uncovering $15 million in work expense underpayments in its industrial and safety division in October.
At the time, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker put corporate Australia on notice and said it would be holding Wesfarmers and others to account for the ongoing wage scandals.
“Each week, another large company is publicly admitting that they failed to ensure staff are receiving their lawful entitlements. This simply is not good enough,” Ms Parker said.
“Companies and their boards are on notice that we will consider the full range of enforcement options available under the Fair Work Act, including litigation where appropriate.”
Bunnings case is one of many prominent underpayment cases this year, the largest of which being Woolworths admission it underpaid salaried workers as much as $300 over the last 10 years.
On Wednesday, the grocery retailer announced its chief executive and chairman would receive pay and bonus cuts due to the issue.