‘A single complaint from a service technician in South Australia which originally led to almost 400 co-workers being back-paid $350,000 has since resulted in more than $1 million being returned to staff’ stated a 31 October press release from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The underpaid employees worked for Pink Hygiene Solutions, owned by Sydney-based Rentokil Initial Pty Ltd, which has a workforce approaching 70,000 and operations in more than 50 countries making it one of the largest business services companies in the world.
‘In March, 2010, the FWO received a complaint in Adelaide from a former employee about under-payment and non-payment of overtime. While the complaint was subsequently settled, the FWO issued a contravention letter to the company requiring it to ensure its compliance with workplace laws.’
‘In response, a self-audit by Rentokil revealed inadvertent errors in applying overtime provisions had resulted in 396 current and former employees being underpaid a total of $354,494 between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009.’
‘Rentokil cooperated fully with the Agency to back-pay the workers and the matter was dealt with by way of an Enforceable Undertaking as an alternative to litigation’, states the release.
As part of its commitments under the Enforceable Undertaking, Rentokil has since identified – and rectified – underpayments totalling more than $1 million for over 560 current and former employees.
‘As part of the Enforceable Undertaking, Rentokil made a $40,000 donation to the Working Women’s Centre in South Australia to assist it promote the need for employer compliance with national workplace laws.’
Rentokil has told the FWO the experience of working with the Agency under the Enforceable Undertaking has resulted in ‘positive cultural and organisational changes far beyond the requirements it imposes’.