The Fair Work Ombudsman is taking Super Retail Group Limited (SRG) to court over more than $1 million in underpayments.
The regulator is also taking action against four of the company’s subsidiaries – Super Cheap Auto, Rebel Sport, BCF and Ray’s Outdoors.
Fair Work takes Super Cheap Auto, Rebel Sport & BCF to court
Fair Work commenced an investigation after SRG previously admitted it underpaid thousands of staff.
Investigators looked at a sample of 146 employees allegedly underpaid across the group between January 2017 and March 2019.
SRG and the four subsidiaries allegedly failed to pay overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, in addition to other allowances and entitlements.
The alleged underpayments ranged from small amounts to $34,500.
The wage theft totalled $1.14 million for the period.
Most of the alleged underpayments happened as a result of the SRG subsidiaries paying salaried employees annual salaries.
The annual salaries failed to cover minimum lawful entitlements because the workers performed significant amounts of overtime.
Fair Work also alleges that some of the failures by the group to pay overtime to workers preparing new stores or refurbishing existing stores involved ‘serious contraventions’.
It is alleged that SRG Limited, Super Cheap Auto, SRG Leisure and Rebel knew the overtime contraventions were occurring, but failed to take action to address it.
Annual salaries must meet minimums lawful entitlements
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said annual salaries must meet minimum lawful entitlements.
“Employers cannot put staff on a fixed annual salary and then expect them to work endless hours of overtime,” he said.
“Salaries must meet lawful minimum entitlements as set out in the relevant award.
“Employers who fail to do so are engaging in wage theft and can expect to pay substantial back-payment bills in addition to court-ordered penalties.”
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Fair Work is seeking penalties against Super Retail Group Limited and each of the four subsidiaries.
The maximum penalty for the alleged serious contraventions is $630,000 per breach – 10-times the penalties which would normally apply.
For the other alleged contraventions, SRG Limited and the four subsidiaries face penalties of up to $63,000 per breach.
Holding company liability-related penalties are also up to $63,000 per breach.
Fair Work is also seeking court orders for the four subsidiaries to rectify outstanding entitlements allegedly owed to the 146 sample employees.
The Federal Court in Sydney is yet to schedule a hearing date.
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