Qantas will back-pay more than $7 million in wages to head office, corporate and administrative staff.
Additionally, the airline will pay each affected worker $1,000 compensation who were underpaid for eight years.
Qantas back-pays staff as part of Enforceable Undertaking
Qantas is rectifying the underpayments as part of an Enforceable Undertaking.
The underpayments happened as a result of the airline paying staff under individual contracts instead of relevant enterprise agreements.
That resulted in employees getting short-changed on wages, overtime, annual leave entitlements and superannuation.
The airline has agreed that all back-pay will be calculated using above market interest rates, in addition to the $1,000 “contrition” payment to each worker.
The Fair Work Ombudsman says Qantas has already paid $7.1 million to 638 underpaid employees.
Airline also overpaid staff
In addition to the underpayments, Qantas confirmed it also overpaid some workers a total of $22 million.
The airline said it would not recover overpaid monies.
Qantas group executive Rob Marcolina said in a statement:
“We sincerely apologise to all our employees caught up in this misclassification issue, especially to those who were underpaid as a result.
“We take our obligations as an employer very seriously and have worked with the Australian Services Union and Fair Work Ombudsman to fix this.”
No excuse for wage theft
The Qantas wage theft is the latest in a long line of underpayment cases involving large and small employers including:
- Commonwealth Bank,
- Rockpool Dining Group
- and the ABC.
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims said there is no excuse for wage theft.
“Qantas can get their logistics, timetables, catering and aircraft right, then it has no excuse for not getting its wages right,” he said.
“It’s time the government introduces tougher penalties for wage theft, because until we do, we are going to keep seeing thousands of workers ripped off.”
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