Today’s confirmation by the Fair Work Ombudsman of a significant underpayment of staff by Chemist Warehouse pharmacies highlights the need for employers to be scrupulous in their adherence to workplace laws and employment arrangements.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced today that Chemist Warehouse has entered a compliance partnership after back-paying almost 6000 workers more than $3.5 million.
The three-year compliance arrangement follows a Fair Work Ombudsman audit of Chemist Warehouse stores in response to concerns raised over non-payment of wages for compulsory online training undertaken by staff outside of normal working hours.
The Ombudsman says CW Retail Services Pty Ltd signed a Proactive Compliance Deed on behalf of its franchise network of 350 retail pharmacy businesses employing more than 9000 staff nationally under the Chemist Warehouse banner.
This means that around two-thirds of Chemist Warehouse staff nationally were underpaid for training.
The scale of this alleged underpayment and the number of staff affected is disturbing. It has the potential to undermine the trusted reputation of other complying pharmacies. Chemist Warehouse pharmacies are not currently Members of the Pharmacy Guild, and were not Members at the time of the underpayments.
The exposure of the Chemist Warehouse underpayments is a timely reminder to all in the pharmacy sector of the need to comply with workplace legal requirements.
The Executive Director of the Pharmacy Guild, David Quilty, said: “Workplace relations advice and assistance is a core benefit of Guild Membership. The Guild stands ready to work with the Fair Work Ombudsman in assisting Members in self audits to ensure compliance with statutory and legal obligations. It is imperative that the pharmacy sector complies with the Pharmacy Industry Award and related workplace legal requirements.”
Media enquiries: Greg Turnbull 0412 910 261