Single complaint has now triggered $1m in back-pay for Rentokil workers

31 October 2012

A single complaint from a service technician in South Australia which originally led to almost 400 of the woman’s co-workers being back-paid $350,000 has since resulted in more than $1 million being returned to staff.

The underpaid employees worked for Pink Hygiene Solutions, owned by Sydney-based Rentokil Initial Pty Ltd, at locations in South Australia, NSW, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the NT.

With a workforce approaching 70,000 and operations in more than 50 countries, Rentokil Initial is one of the largest business services companies in the world.

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

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.

Rentokil co-operated fully with the Agency to back-pay the workers and the matter was dealt with by way of an Enforceable Undertaking as an alternative to litigation.

As part of its commitments under the Enforceable Undertaking, Rentokil has since identified - and rectified - underpayments totalling more than $1 million for over 560 current and former employees.

The significantly larger figure is primarily due to the application of incorrect pre-modern awards in NSW and the subsequent underpayments in relation to transitional rates.

As part of the Enforceable Undertaking, Rentokil made a $40,000 donation to the Working Women’s Centre in South Australia to assist it promote the need for employer compliance with national workplace laws.

Rentokil has told the Fair Work Ombudsman the experience of working with the Agency under the Enforceable Undertaking has resulted in positive cultural and organisational changes far beyond the requirements it imposes.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au external-icon.png or find us on Facebook external-icon.png. Employers can also sign up for a regular eNewsletter.

Information and advice is available from www.fairwork.gov.au or the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

Media inquiries:

Penny Rowe, Media & Stakeholder Relations
0457 924 146
Penelope.Rowe@fwo.gov.au

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