Payroll | Firm admitted to underpaying hundreds of workers

Firm admitted to underpaying hundreds of workers

When a worker goes into the office, they expect to be paid for the work that they have done so that they can pay the bills and splurge on extra luxuries that they can afford.

Yet, Emirates Leisure Retail, a major hospitality company which forms the food and leisure arm of the Emirates Group and operates brands such as Costa Coffee, Pret, Heineken Giraffe and Hudsons Coffee in airports based in Australia, UAE, Singapore and New Zealand, has admitted to ‘unintentionally’ underpaying hundreds of its workers.

According to a report published by the Daily Mail, both current and former staff under the employment of Emirates Leisure Retail recently received an email stating that the company had noticed an error in its penalty rates.

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Whilst the average rate of underpay is currently unknown, one anonymous former staff member told the press that she was ‘fuming’ after she calculated that her compensation may total as much as (£11,659.05) $15,000 (Australian dollars).

“I have worked in hospitality a long time and in my other jobs they were paying us penalty rates. But at Hudsons we were not getting that,” she told Australia’s 9 News.

“They weren't paying us penalty rates for the weekends, they weren't paying us for starting before 6am in the morning, or working after 7pm at night.”

The email that the company sent out to staff admitting blame for the error read: “After conducting a proactive review of our payroll, we identified a potential issue relating to the application of overtime, weekend penalty rates, and night penalty rates for staff under the Emirates Leisure Retail enterprise agreement.”

The email went on to state that the current HR team would contact staff individually and offer repayment if payroll analysis evidenced a compensation miscalculation.

In addition, an Emirates Retail Spokesman stated that it is currently unknown how many former workers were affected by the issue. He did however state that the company had reported itself to the Fair Work Ombudsman as soon as it had realised the error, and that it was working with the body to resolve the issue.

Sadly, this isn’t the only instance that workers have claimed to be underpaid for the work that they have completed.

Earlier this year, HR Grapevine reported on Betfred who had reportedly underpaid staff for overtime work.

A whistleblower alleged that the bookmaker, which employs more than 7,000 people, didn’t let employees know that they may be owed money even after the payment problem had been identified.

The firm explained that it failed to make automatic payments to staff who were owed extra holiday pay because they had worked overtime and blamed the payment problems on its payroll systems.

To avoid payroll problems, HR should regularly monitor its systems to ensure that they are effective, and that staff aren’t left out of pocket at the end of the month.

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