Woolworths faces legal action over underpayments

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has commenced legal against Woolworths in relation to major underpayments of salaried managers.

The legal action follows an investigation and assessment conducted by FWO that was prompted by the retailer disclosing in 2019 that it had underpaid thousands of salaried employees in its supermarkets and Metro stores.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says that addressing allegations of non-compliance in the corporate sector and ensuring remediation programs were being undertaken correctly was a priority.

“We allege that Woolworths failed to ensure that annual salaries were sufficient when compared to the actual hours worked, leaving their salaried managers significantly underpaid, she says.

“We also allege that significant underpayments have not been fully back-paid, and we will seek court orders for Woolworths to recalculate and rectify all underpayments for all affected employees.

“This court action highlights that large employers face serious consequences if they do not prioritise workplace law compliance among other aspects of their business. All employers can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman if they need assistance complying with Australia’s workplace laws,” Ms Parker says.

The FWO is seeking court orders for Woolworths to rectify the total outstanding underpayments in relation to 70 managers whose records were assessed and for both companies to then apply those calculation methods to rectify any underpayments owed to all other affected salaried managers, plus interest and superannuation.

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