A COMMERCIAL cleaning company based in Perth must send letters of apologies to 1174 cleaners after an external audit revealed they were collectively underpaid nearly $500,000.
One cleaner in Perth was underpaid $12,100 by Delron Cleaning Pty Ltd, which provides cleaning services at sites in Perth, regional WA and Sydney.
The company commissioned an external audit of its employees’ entitlements after identifying errors in its payroll system.
The audit by PwC found Delron had underpaid 1174 cleaners a total of $447,717, with a majority of workers being both underpaid and overpaid at various times.
Underpayments related to failures to pay correct overtime and shift work penalties, and part time and broken shift allowances, as required under the Cleaning Services Award 2010.
The company has signed up to ongoing scrutiny of its workplace arrangements under an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
FWO Sandra Parker said the matter highlighted the importance of employers regularly checking their payroll systems to ensure they were compliant.
“While Delron have taken proactive steps to improve their workplace practices, this undertaking contains strong measures aimed at ensuring sustained compliance across the business,” she said.
“We know that cleaners can be some of the most vulnerable workers in Australia and the sector remains an ongoing focus for the agency.”
The FWO said Delron had made significant workplace improvements including educating managers and staff on new payroll processes, conducting quarterly audits and integrity checks of its new payroll system and setting up an employee hotline.
The company must send letters of apology to affected workers and place a public notice acknowledging and apologising for its breaches in the Australian Financial Review.
Delron must also make a ‘substantial donation to the Cleaning Accountability Framework – an initiative put in place to help promote workplace compliance in the sector.