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Failure to comply with part-time Award provisions results in back payment for more than 600 workers


Sunglass Hut has been required to backpay $2.3 million to its employees after failing to comply with the General Retail Industry Award 2010, thereby breaching Australia’s workplace laws and underpaying more than 600 staff at stores across the country.

Luxottica Retail Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Sunglass Hut, self-disclosed that it had underpaid 620 current and former employees, and has entered into a court-enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The underpayments occurred at 253 Sunglass Hut stores across every state and territory and impacted only part-time in-store retail employees. The underpayments occurred between 2010 and 2016, due to Sunglass Hut having failed to agree on a regular pattern of working hours and days in writing with its part-time employees. The was in breach of the General Retail Industry Award 2010 and resulted in the company having failed to pay overtime rates for work performed outside what were deemed to be regular hours.

The failure to comply with the provisions of  the applicable award resulted in Sunglass Hut having underpaid their workers a total of $2,294,496 in overtime wages. The individual underpayments varied from being approximately $4 up to approximately $42,900.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has said that a court-enforceable undertaking was appropriate as the company had committed to overhauling workplace practices and rectifying all underpayments.

Sunglass Hut are in the process of back paying the outstanding wages to the affected employees, and they will be required to fund external auditors to review and check pay and conditions for workers every year until 2022 when the enforceable undertaking expires.

In addition, the employing entity, Luxottica Retail Australia Pty Ltd, are required to issue a letter of apology to each of the affected workers, and they will be making a gesture of contrition through providing a $50,000 payment to the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors such as government legislation changes, may not be up-to-date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

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