Fashion retailer gets record fine for long-service leave underpayments

'Largest ever number of offences prosecuted simultaneously' in NSW

Fashion retailer gets record fine for long-service leave underpayments

Australia's largest specialty fashion retailer has been handed a record fine of $29,000 in New South Wales for underpaying the long-service leave entitlements of 223 workers.

Mosaic Brands Limited, which has 1,100 stores across Australia, and its two subsidiaries Noni B Holdings Pty Limited and Pretty Girl Fashion Group Pty Ltd, pled guilty to 324 offences.

"This is the largest ever number of offences prosecuted simultaneously in NSW for long-service leave underpayments," the NSW said.

The underpayments were a result of "payroll system errors," according to the release, but the Downing Centre Local Criminal Court the Magistrate concluded that the offences were too serious and too widespread to not have any penalty imposed even if they were not deliberate.

In addition to paying fine, Mosaic Brands also committed to engaging with an independent third party that will audit their compliance with long service leave legislation. 

"I would like to acknowledge Mosaic Brands Limited and its subsidiaries commitment to ensuring they pay long service leave correctly," said Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis in a statement.

Reminder to employers

The case of Mosaic Brands is a "reminder to employers" regardless of size that they should provide employees with their full entitlements, according to Cotsis.

In the case of long service leave, the minister said it is up to employers to conduct their own regular internal compliance reviews to make sure that employees are paid correctly.

"The NSW Government is committed to standing up for workers and investigating businesses who're short-changing their staff, particularly at a time when so many individuals and family are doing it tough," she said.

The court ruling comes as the NSW government seeks to expand long service leave through a portable leave scheme for gig, disability, home care, and other precarious workers.

Currently, portable long service payments are available for workers in the building and construction industry and employees of cleaning contractors in NSW.

Portable Long Service Benefits

Meanwhile in other parts of the country, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in March expanded its Portable Long Service Leave to more industries, such as the hairdressing and beauty services industry, as well as the accommodation and food services industry.

"Workers in these industries are often highly mobile, with insecure working arrangements such as short-term contracts and casualised workforces and we are helping protect these workers," said Work Health and Safety Minister Mick Gentleman in a media release.

The scheme will allow these workers to take their long service entitlements with them when they move jobs in the same industry, according to the ACT government.

In Victoria, its portable long service leave scheme was also expanded early this year to cover community workers, contract cleaners and security guards.

The expansion increases the overall number of employees with access to portable long service benefits to 270,000, according to the government.

"It's a win for the workers and for fairness," said Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas.

Recent articles & video

Steel fabricator enters EU after workplace safety breaches in crane incident

HR leaders told to boost support for overworked managers

Four-day work week in demand among Australian employees: survey

How judicial bullying can impact the mental health of lawyers

Most Read Articles

Vague feedback: Manager slams employer's insufficient dismissal notice

'Chronically underutilised': Highly skilled nurses taking on non-clinical tasks

Unions want to abolish junior, apprentice pay rates