Lush Australia may owe as much as $2 million to current and former employees

The lapse was due to outdated payroll systems that were unable to keep up with business growth.

The Australian arm of UK cosmetic company Lush has admitted to payroll lapses where up to 5,000 current and former staff might have been underpaid.

Some staff might be owed up to S$10,000 in backpay each, with the total possibly reaching up to S$2 million.

The companyhas said that the lapses stretch all the way back to 2010.

Part-time workers seemed to have been impacted most – for instance, they were not paid overtime for working extra days, or for working shifts without a 12-hour break.

The company chose to “self-report” the situation upon discovering and investigating the issue, involving both Australia’s Fair Work Ombusdman and the National Retailers Association, along with external payroll experts.

Lush is currently working to put a new payroll system in place, into which timesheets data from 2010 to present will be manually keyed in. This will then enable to company to calculate what is owed to current and former emplyoees.

The company promises that the affected employees will receive the missing backpay, with interest, by the end of this year.

“What has become alarmingly clear to us at Lush Australia is that our internal payroll systems have not kept pace with our growth,” said Peta Granger, director for Lush Australia.

“We should have had far more respect for our people's pay and upgraded our payroll infrastructure to keep up with the growth of our business.

“Knowing what we know now, it was irresponsible to imagine that such a manual and outdated system could possibly work on a business our size,” she added.


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