Creche & Kindergarten signs Enforceable Undertaking
8 November 2021
The Creche and Kindergarten Association Limited (C&K) has back-paid staff around $200,000 and entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
C&K is a not-for-profit company operating 180 C&K childcare centres and kindergartens across Queensland. C&K employs more than 2,000 teachers, educators and support employees.
The company self-reported underpayments to the Fair Work Ombudsman in October 2020.
C&K conducted a self-initiated review of its payroll systems in preparation for implementing new systems and discovered it had applied an incorrect interpretation of the terms of the C&K Children’s Services Enterprise Agreement 2019, which is its current Enterprise Agreement, and similar agreements before it.
The company identified that some part-time and casual employees were being paid at ordinary or penalty rates for certain hours which should have correctly been paid at overtime rates. The underpayments impacted multiple classifications of employees. Underpaid employees were in locations across Queensland including Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Gladstone, Townsville and Central Queensland.
C&K’s internal review into its underpayments found that 1,336 current and former employees were underpaid a total of $209,168 between July 2013 and September 2020, with individual underpayments up to $5,632.
As of March 2021, the company has calculated and rectified underpayments to 1,260 current and former workers of around $200,000 and paid five per cent compound interest. C&K has taken steps to rectify the rest of the underpayments totalling $8,659.60 to 76 former employees.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the company had updated payroll rules to apply the correct interpretations of the current Enterprise Agreement to avoid underpayments happening again.
“Under the Enforceable Undertaking, C&K has committed to implementing stringent measures to protect the rights of its workforce. These measures include providing the FWO with information about its new systems and processes for ensuring compliance in future and engaging an independent auditor to conduct three audits of its compliance with workplace laws,” Ms Parker said.
“This matter demonstrates how important it is for employers to perform regular payroll checks and be aware of every lawful entitlement they must pay their employees under their own enterprise agreement. Any employer who needs assistance meeting their lawful obligations should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.”
Under the EU, C&K is required to display an online notice detailing its workplace law breaches, apologise to workers, provide workplace relations training to relevant payroll and workplace relations staff, and inform the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment and the Queensland Department of Education – Queensland Kindergarten Funding of its contraventions.
Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free workplace advice. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.