Out of hours work sees Aldi face multi-million dollar fine

A federal court judge has ruled that Aldi supermarket breached employment laws by getting its workers to start early

Out of hours work sees Aldi face multi-million dollar fine

Supermarket chain Aldi could face millions of dollars in compensation payments to workers who it underpaid after a federal court ruling. Aldi was also found to have breached employment laws by insisting employees start work before they were due to clock on.

Workers at a Sydney distribution centre are owed up to $10m in unpaid wages for working an extra 10 minutes per shift. The SDA retail and warehouse union claims the workers were required to complete safety checks on forklifts, check communication devices and undertake a group warm-up activity prior to starting their rostered shifts.

Aldi refuted that it was underpaying its workers and that employees were only expected to be ready to commence work at the start of their rostered shifts.

Nevertheless, the judge Douglas Humphreys said he was satisfied there was a “clear implied direction” that employees had to arrive early and undertake stipulated tasks, and that a consistent failure to comply would lead to disciplinary action.

“There was no personal benefit to the employee in the activities carried out. Each was to the benefit of the employer,” said Humphreys.

“In these circumstances, the court is satisfied that the activities carried out constitute work.”

The company said it respected the court’s decision and was determining the payment owed to four employees directly affected by the proceedings.

“We are reviewing the implication of the court’s decision on other employees across our business and will seek to apply the principles of the court’s decision fairly to any other affected employees,” an Aldi spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Recent articles & video

First employer charged under wage theft law

Which sectors have the most sexual harassment?

Should tribunal's 'embarrassing' decision be confidential?

Refusal to cover coworker's shift taken as resignation by employer

Most Read Articles

Is calling your husband's ex-mistress while at work a firing offence?

Health worker terminated for refusing vaccination loses unfair dismissal case

Is it fair to dismiss an employee who’s suffering from PTSD?