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Chemist Warehouse’s bumper back-pay to staff

Chemist Warehouse AustraliaChemist Warehouse has been ordered to back-pay over $3.5 million for compulsory online training its workers did in their own time.

Approximately 5976 employees, making up almost two-thirds of the retailer’s workforce, have been paid back for the training following an extensive Fair Work Ombusdman audit.

CW Retail Services Pty Ltd has signed a compliance deed on behalf of its franchise network of 350 retail pharmacy businesses employing more than 9000 staff nationally under the Chemist Warehouse banner.

The execution of the three-year deed follows an extensive Fair Work Ombudsman audit of Chemist Warehouse stores in response to concerns raised over non-payment of wages for compulsory online training undertaken by staff outside of normal working hours.

Fair Work said although CW Retail issued instructions to individual business owners saying that workers should be paid for compulsory training and it should be conducted during working hours, it acknowledged that there was potential for non-payment of training time to have occurred within businesses across the network.

“It’s important that employers pay workers for all the hours they dedicate to their work,” ombudsman Natalie James said in a statement on Thursday.

“Young workers in particular are vulnerable to not realising this and giving their time for free.”

“As part of its deed with the Fair Work Ombudsman, Chemist Warehouse will establish systems and processes to ensure compliance, particularly relating to compulsory training and how it is conducted and recorded by all franchises.”

James welcomed the undertaking by Chemist Warehouse and said such commitments by large and established brands helped build a culture of compliance with workplace laws in Australia.

“Compliance partnerships are an initiative we have introduced for Australian companies who want to engage with us to demonstrate to their employees and the wider community that they take their workplace responsibilities seriously,” she said.

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