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Bunnings coughs up over $3.8 million to underpaid team members

Homewares and DIY retailer Bunnings has completed its review and reconciliation of superannuation underpayments that affected almost 41,000 team members.

The underpayment affected part-time warehouse and small-format employees who worked above their contracted hours from 2011 onward, and totalled more than $3.8 million excluding compensation. 

An error in the payment system’s code resulted in these employees not receiving superannuation payments for extra hours worked. The average compensation for each team member landed at $95.33.

Bunnings’ HR director Jacqui Coombes has previously said the business is “very sorry” for the mistake.

“We understand the importance of ensuring our team members are paid everything they are entitled to in full and on time – in this case, whilst inadvertent, we haven’t, and we are very sorry for that,” Coombes said. 

Bunnings’ repayment was independently verified by PricewaterCoopers, and the business is confident the error has now been rectified to ensure it won’t happen again. 

Underpayments under the microscope

Following numerous businesses revealing wage theft scandals, parliamentary Labor senators referred the issue to the upper house’s economics committee, kicking off an inquiry that will look at the extent and effects of underpayments, as well as what can be done to tackle the issue. 

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that businesses that engage in wage theft should be held accountable and may face litigation where appropriate. 

“Each week, another large company is publicly admitting that they failed to ensure staff are receiving their lawful entitlements. This is simply not good enough,” Parker said. 

“Companies and their boards are on notice that we will consider the full range of enforcement options available under the Fair Work Act.”

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