National childcare company Camp Australia Services Pty Ltd (Camp Australia) is back-paying employees more than $1.7 million after entering into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The company, which provides outside school hours and holiday-camp childcare at more than 590 locations nationally, self-reported underpayments to the regulator in December 2019.
After a manager at one of its holiday camps raised underpayment concerns, the company conducted an internal review and discovered it had underpaid employees’ entitlements under the Children’s Services Award 2010.
Employees were underpaid entitlements including overtime, annual and personal leave entitlements, and first aid, fare, meal and vehicle allowances. Affected workers were located in metropolitan and regional areas across every state and territory.
In total, Camp Australia is back-paying 7420 current and former employees a total of $1.74 million (not including interest and superannuation) after underpaying them between 2013 and 2019. Individual back-payments range from $0.40 to over $12,250.
The company has back-paid more than 99 per cent of the underpayments, with a small amount owing to former employees the company is still trying to locate.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the EU committed the company to stringent measures to improve workplace compliance.
“Under the Enforceable Undertaking Camp Australia will engage, at the company’s own cost, an independent auditor to check its compliance with workplace laws for the next two years. The company must also provide us with information about systems and processes it has developed for ensuring compliance in the future.”
“Our investigation found underpayments were the result of deficiencies in the company’s payroll system, policies and governance processes. This matter demonstrates how important it is for employers to place a high priority on having adequate governance systems in place,” Ms Parker said.
Under the Enforceable Undertaking, Camp Australia is required to display notices on its website, and on social media detailing its breaches.
It is also required to publish a notice in The Weekend Australian Financial Review, apologise to workers, commission training on workplace relations laws for managers and commission an independent organisation to operate a Hotline for employees for six months.
Camp Australia must also make a $122,167.56 contrition payment to the Commonwealth’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.