July 2018 | 'Deeply sorry': Cosmetics chain Lush admits to underpaying thousands of staff

Date: 17 July 2018

Source: The Age

Cosmetics giant Lush has underpaid more than 5000 retail and manufacturing workers across Australia, internal investigations have found, prompting the company to launch a national back-pay scheme valued at $2 million.

The large-scale underpayments, publicly revealed on Tuesday, were due to "serious payroll system errors" stretching back eight years, Lush Australia director Peta Granger said.

"We are deeply sorry to our valued staff and customers that we’ve failed to uphold the values that we have always believed in and the high standards that we’ve always sought to achieve," she said. "We would never knowingly underpay. This was not deliberate. It goes against everything we value and believe in."

In a statement, the company attributed the massive wages breach to inefficiencies in its payroll system during the 2010 transition to the Fair Work Act's system of "modern awards", the basic wages safety nets affecting most workers.

The underpayment was uncovered after a concern was raised with head office in August, leading to a "series of investigations", including a review of the company's retail contracts, policies, rostering and salaries, the company said.