Labour-hire firm Hudson signs Enforceable Undertaking
Recruitment and on-hire company Hudson Global Resources (Aust) Pty Limited will back-pay more than $4.5 million to underpaid workers and has signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Hudson employs thousands of casual employees, described as on-hire or labour-hire employees, that it engages to perform assignments of varying lengths for its clients. These employees work in primarily white-collar roles across an extensive range of industries and sectors.
The company self-reported underpayment issues impacting on-hire employees to the Fair Work Ombudsman in September 2020, after an internal review found that it had applied the wrong awards to some workers and incorrectly failed to apply any award to others.
A subsequent broader review covering the large majority of on-hire employees found these award classification issues had led to failures to pay the required minimum rates of pay, casual loading, overtime and public holiday penalty rates, shift work penalties, and certain allowances. There had also been a failure to provide required meal breaks and minimum shift engagements.
Hudson has admitted that 5325 current and former on-hire employees were underpaid $3,456,152.06, plus $345,617.12 in superannuation, between 2014 and 2020. The EU requires Hudson to back-pay all known underpayments and superannuation, plus total interest of $754,663.35, by January 2022.
Individual underpayments ranged from $1 to $19,445. Any underpayments identified by an upcoming review of the remaining minority of on-hire employees must be back-paid by June 2022.
Underpaid employees were based in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, WA, SA and the ACT. Job titles included receptionist, business analyst and customer service officer among many others.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that an EU was appropriate as Hudson Global Resources had demonstrated a firm commitment to rectifying all underpayments and changing its practices.
“Under the Enforceable Undertaking, Hudson has committed to implementing stringent measures to improve compliance and protect the rights of its workforce. These measures include engaging, at the company’s own cost, an independent auditing firm to check its compliance with workplace laws during the next two years,” Ms Parker said.
“This matter highlights how important it is for employers to classify all staff correctly from day one. Businesses who fail to invest the time and resources to ensure they are meeting all award entitlements quickly risk facing large-scale back-payment bills. Employers who need help meeting their legal obligations should contact the FWO for free advice and assistance.”
Under the EU, Hudson must make a $172,000 contrition payment to the Commonwealth’s Consolidated Revenue Fund. Relevant factors in determining the contrition payment included the company’s co-operation to rectify the breaches and its steps to ensure future compliance, which have included establishing a specialist on-hire support team to approve award coverage and pay-rates for each new placement of an on-hire employee.
The company is also required to display website notices and pay for a boosted Facebook notice that will promote the details of its workplace law breaches on the platform, apologise to workers, commission workplace relations training for managerial staff, and implement a central hotline for employees to raise any back payment queries.
Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.
Download the Hudson Global Resources Enforceable Undertaking