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Big W Owner Faces $390 Million Backpay Bill

The Fair Work Ombudsman has officially began legal proceedings against Woolworths for underpaying management, an error which could see the Big W owners face backpay bills of over $400m.

FWO is seeking $713,395 of outstanding backpay from 2018 and 2019, but has demanded the company calculate similar backpay for the past decade.

In 2019, Woolworths disclosed the fact it had underpaid many thousands of employees for a decade – by its own calculations it owes $390 million.

The FWO reckon the figure is much higher, and that Woolworths are still underreporting.

“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,” FWO’s Sandra Parker said.

“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.”


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