These back-payments come about due to the Proactive Compliance Deed, which was negotiated between the FWO and Spotless. It involved the organisation conducting a self-audit on the pay provided to over 1,000 employees at both Spotless Services Limited and Berkeley Challenge Pty Ltd.
Employees were also invited to lodge complaints with the FWO last year regarding pay issues.
Spotless voluntarily rectified all underpayments, which extended across all states and territories.
The case is important, as it brings to light the fact that lack of compliance is not necessarily malicious in nature, and well-meaning organisations will make mistakes and falter. Such a deed demonstrates the ability for an organisation to step forward and rectify its problems without fear of backlash from the FWO.
“We congratulate Spotless for showing corporate responsibility and a commitment to operating fair workplaces to its thousands of young and casual employees,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said. “The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to work with Spotless to provide advice and assistance in relation to compliance with workplace laws.”
The self-audit discovered $42,544 in underpayments, with additional complaints lodged with the FWO resulting in a further $49,889.
Three systematic compliance issues were identified:
- Treatment of public holidays where employees worked across midnight.
- Calculation of the additional annual leave entitlement for shift workers.
- Payment of leave loading on unused annual leave paid on termination.
Other organisations have entered into Proactive Compliance Deeds to ensure compliance with workplace laws, as they provide results not possible through adversarial and cost-intensive measures such as litigation. These organisations include McDonalds, Dominos, Red Rooster and Asset Industries Australia.
Service company Spotless engaged in a collaborative initiative with the Fair Work Ombudsman, resulting in more than $90,000 in back-pay being secured for underpaid workers.