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Retailers David Jones, Politix to backpay 7,000 employees after underpayment

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The luxury retail stores must also pay superannuation

Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that Australian retailers David Jones and men’s fashion company Cicero Clothing, trading as Politix, have been ordered to pay back AUD 1.9 million (1.28 million USD) and AUD 2.1 million (1.41 million USD), respectively to 7,000 underpaid employees.

In addition to back pay, the luxury retail stores must also pay superannuation and have each signed an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

According to the regulator, Politix underpaid about 850 employees a total of AUD 2.06 million (1.38 million USD) in wages and AUD 45,000 (30,332 USD) in superannuation between November 2016 to September 2020. David Jones underpaid about 2,800 employees a total of AUD 480,000 (323,548 USD) and AUD 1.4 million (943,663 USD) in superannuation to approximately 6,100 employees between April 2014 to September 2020.

The Fair Work Ombudsman said the underpayment were caused by failures in manual payroll processes, payroll system set-up errors, annual salaries that were insufficient to cover all entitlements, and failure to compensate training and classification secondments.

These failures resulted in employees being underpaid their minimum wages, evening, weekend and public holiday penalties, overtime rates and entitlements where they did not receive a 12-hour break between shifts as owed.

Both companies are part of South African-based Woolworths Holdings Limited’s Australian operations. Politix is part of the Country Road Group.