Around 20,000 current and former salaried employees at supermarket giant Woolworths will receive payments of $2500 plus superannuation before Christmas for historical underpayments.
The $50 billion retailer confirmed on Friday morning the total payout is expected to hit $50 million and goes beyond its legal obligations to cover staff employed between 2010 and 2013 as part of an underpayments case for its workers covered by the General Retail Industry Award.
Chief executive Brad Banducci said the supermarket chain had been committed to rectifying the underpayments since they were uncovered in 2019.
Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the company had worked through records as quickly as possible.
“We’ve worked through hundreds of millions of records as quickly as we can to ensure former and current team members have been paid what they were entitled to, plus interest and superannuation,” he said.
When the company first revealed it had discovered historical underpayments in 2019, it promised to go through its records back to 2010 to see which staff were affected, even though it said this went beyond its legal responsibilities.
Woolworths has been facing two court actions relating to the underpayments and whether its salaried workers have received the correct back pay – a class action of salaried workers and a lawsuit from the Fair Work Ombudsman.
On Friday, the retailer confirmed it has provisionally settled the employee class action on the basis that if the decision in the Fair Work court case decides these workers are entitled to a larger payout, they will receive it when that decision is made.
Woolworths plans to defend the Fair Work action and says it has paid out the correct amount in remediation.
The $50 million in payments announced today push the total bill for its underpayments to $420 million.