Bunnings underpays staff superannuation for almost 10 years

Published September 27, 2019 (last updated July 19, 2020)

DIY giant Bunnings Warehouse has discovered an error in superannuation payments for some of their part-time workers that date back almost ten years.

The hardware retailer has blamed a coding error in its payroll system for failing to calculate superannuation contributions for some of their part-time employees who worked beyond their annual contracted hours.

The human resources director of the Westfarmers-owned business, Jacqui Coombs, has apologised in a statement on behalf of the company for the underpayment of workers.

“We understand the importance of ensuring our team members are paid everything they are entitled to in full and on time – in this case, whilst inadvertent, we haven’t, and we are very sorry for that,” she said.

“Our focus now is on making sure we complete this reconciliation thoroughly and as quickly as possible, so we can ensure that the superannuation contributions and compensation owing are made to team members’ superannuation funds.

“We have also fixed the original error to ensure that this does not happen again,” Ms Coombes said.

Bunnings has more than 40,000 employees and is the biggest money maker for Perth conglomerate Westfarmers, ranking in 57 per cent of their profits. In the last financial year, the hardware store reported revenue of $13.1 billion.

Employers are obligated to pay all their workers superannuation regardless of whether they’re full-time, part-time or casual as long as they’re 18 or older and earn more than $450 or more in a month before tax. For those employees who are under 18 they must work more than 30 hours per week.

Superannuation contributions need to be made at least four times a year, and this must be within 28 days of the end of each quarter.

The simple payroll error is a reminder around the importance of correct record keeping, no matter how big or small your business may be, and how a tiny mistake can result in big consequences for employers.

The records that employees must keep include, however are not limited to, full details of superannuation contributions, leave taken, any overtime paid, employee start and end date, leave cashed out and details of any arrangements made to average hours.

It is also a reminder that it is essential for employers to maintain accurate employee records, and keep them for a period of seven years.

Taking proactive measures to compliance is another way to make sure your business is protected. This includes staying up to date with; all documentation, employee entitlements and Modern Award updates.

The latest news by Bunnings is one of a series of major Australian retailers to be found underpaying their workers. Those that have been caught in the scandal include Michael Hill, Domino’s, 7-Eleven, Caltex and earlier this week Sunglass Hut.

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