One complaint finds hundreds more underpaid

Workers in Western Australia were among almost 400 across the country found to have been underpaid by a hygiene services company.

A single complaint from a service technician in South Australia resulted in the discovery that hundreds of her co-workers had also been underpaid more than $354,000.

The employees worked for Pink Hygiene Solutions, owned by Sydney-based Rentokil Initial Pty Ltd.

In March 2010, the Fair Work Ombudsman received a complaint in Adelaide from a former employee about under-payment and non-payment of overtime.

Deficiencies with Rentokil’s record-keeping practices prevented Fair Work inspectors from accurately calculating outstanding entitlements for the worker.

While the complaint was subsequently settled between the parties, the Fair Work Ombudsman issued a contravention letter to the company requiring it to ensure its compliance with workplace laws.

In response, a self-audit by Rentokil revealed inadvertent errors in applying overtime provisions had resulted in 396 current and former employees being underpaid a total of $354,494 between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009.

The underpayments ranged from as little as $8 to as much as $5200.

More than $75,000 is still owing to 139 former staff who are yet to provide the company with their bank details to allow the outstanding entitlements to be paid.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully said Rentokil had co-operated fully with the agency.

Rentokil will also make a $40,000 donation to the Working Women’s Centre in South Australia to assist it to promote the need for employer compliance with national workplace laws.Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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