Prominent business underpaid staff $380k over eight years
National parcel delivery service Couriers Please failed to give shift workers a paid meal break for eight years in a breach that cost 245 employees as much as $19,000 each.
The Fair Work Ombudsman said Couriers Please admitted to underpaying current and former freight and depot workers a total $382,065 between the installation of an electronic payroll system in 2010 and when an employee raised concerns last year.
After being prompted by a query from a staff member, Couriers Please conducted an internal audit and found that it had not provided a 20-minute paid meal break to hundreds of current and former employees performing shift work.
The Singapore Post-owned entity said it self-reported the "oversight" to Fair Work and has since back-paid more than $360,000 in individual amounts to 95 per cent of affected staff, ranging from less than $10 to more than $19,000.
The outstanding amounts relate to employees yet to be located.
"Couriers Please prides itself on being a positive and rewarding workplace that complies with all of its obligations ... This was an unintentional oversight which we deeply regret," the company said in a statement.
Couriers Please has also made a $50,000 gesture of contrition to the Federal Government's Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The company said the underpayment came as it expanded its operations in Australia.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said a court-enforceable undertaking was appropriate as Couriers Please had shown a strong commitment to backpay.
"This matter serves as a warning to all employers that if you don't prioritise workplace compliance, you risk failing to meet your lawful obligations to your employees every shift they work over many years, and facing a hefty back-payment bill," Ms Parker said.
As part of the Court-Enforceable Undertaking, Couriers Please must display public, workplace and online notices detailing its breaches and information about employee entitlements.
Employees responsible for management, recruitment, payroll and human resources will also receive training and the company will undergo Fair Work-approved audits of its compliance.