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Wesfarmers Workers Awarded $4.8M Backpay

Wesfarmers are paying $4.8 million to more than 3,400 current and ex-employees after underpayments that stretched over a decade.

The underpayments occurred between 2010 and 2020, and amount to $4,836,036 — including penalty rates, annual leave and overtime — plus $246,779 in superannuation.

Under an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman, the back payments will be made to former and current employees from Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety group, who noticed the discrepancy in 2019 after installing a new payroll system.

Wesfarmers self-reported the underpayments, which FWO confirmed was due to “payroll system ­errors adopted by WIS in the course of its acquisition of various employing entities in 2013 and 2014, which it failed to correct”.

“This matter demonstrates how important it is for employers to identify and fix non-compliance in their processes, including the continued use of out-of-date and unsupported software systems and the incorrect interpretation and creation of pay rules,” Fair Work Ombudsman ­Sandra Parker said.

“Businesses who fail to invest the time and resources to ensure they are meeting all lawful entitlements risk facing large-scale back-payment bills.”

The average underpayment was $1,392, with the highest individual underpayment $38,362.

Wesfarmers must pay all back pay, plus interest of $1,476,827, by the end of the month.

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