Just Group’s JobKeeper compliance under investigation

Solomon Lew and Mark McInnes
Premier Investments’ chairman Solomon Lew and Mark McInnes. Image: Supplied.

Solomon Lew’s Just Group is reportedly under investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman over compliance issues relating to the $70 million in JobKeeper it received during the peak of the pandemic, according to a report in SMH.

According to the report, Just Group said it had “fully complied with all its legal obligations throughout the entire JobKeeper period”, but there have been questions raised about how the business paid its staff during public holidays while they were stood down.

On such holidays, staff are entitled to the higher amount per fortnight out of either the JobKeeper wage supplement or their regular pay including public holiday loadings.

Premier Investments finds itself alongside Harvey Norman and a number of businesses that enjoyed strong profits, paid management bonuses and dividends following the pandemic-caused shift in customer behavior, and have since been under intense pressure to return the taxpayer-funded JobKeeper payments they received.

Lew has previously defended these decisions, though Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been warm toward businesses, such as Super Retail Group, that have paid back what it took in JobKeeper once it was out of the frying pan.

“What that says is that people know when they need it and they appreciate it when they need it, but they don’t want to take advantage of it,” Morrison told 2GB earlier this year.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also said eligible businesses are under no obligation to repay money gained from the support package, but that if they did it would be appreciated.

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