It was recently revealed that Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, both owned by Southbank-based Crown Resorts Limited, must compensate their workers more than $1.2 million, involving pension and interest. In addition, the Crown has also signed an enforceable undertaking with the Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The order to compensate their workers came as Crown Resorts reported to the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman in March 2020 that Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth had failed to compensate 200 chefs, concierges, receptionists, administrative assistants, hairdressers, beauty and massage therapists in line with the minimum rates of awards, overtime, absence and penalty. In addition, the self-reporting comes after Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker sent a letter to all of Australia’s largest 100 companies on the ASK list inviting them to pay more attention to payroll compliance.
However, the FWO found that the underpayments were due to Crown misidentifying some of its workers as non-awarded, causing it to fail to meet obligations under four different awards, as well as failing to maintain all employee records. As a result, Crown underpaid 200 current and former workers about $1.025 million, not involving pension, interest and gratuity, between July 2014 and June 2020.
The company has already paid off more than half of its employees:
“The firm had back paid over $1.2 million, including superannuation and an additional 10 per cent of interest and gratuity, to 192 of the current and former employees,” according to the FWO. However, the enforceable undertaking requires it to settle the arrears owed to the remaining employees within 180 days.
On an individual basis, Crown Melbourne corrected $567,000 in back payments to 102 of its 110 underpaid employees, with individual payouts ranging from $22 to $66.714. On the other had, Crown Perth compensated all 90 employees over $659.000 with individual payouts ranging from five dollars to $55.192.
However, the company must also pay AU$350,000 ($235.000) to the Commonwealth Consolidated Revenue Fund after signing an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
In this regard, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said: “The enforceable undertaking was the appropriate action to take due to Crown’s cooperation with its investigation and commitment to rectifying underpayments. Under the enforceable undertaking, Crown has committed to implementing stringent measures to ensure all its current and future workers are paid correctly. These measures include commissioning, at its own cost, two independent annual audits to check its compliance with workplace laws. As I called out to the ASX top 100 in early 2020 and have said consistently ever since – employers need to place a high priority on their workplace obligations. Crown’s failures to apply relevant awards to some of its employees and to ensure annual salaries met all minimum entitlements for hours worked led to long-running underpayments of its staff, and a larger remediation bill.”
FWO added: “The enforceable undertaking will also require Crown to write to all underpaid employees to notify them of the commencement of it, as well as publish notices in newspapers, its website, and its Facebook page regarding the firm’s contraventions.”