Lush underpaid 5000 staff for eight years
THE natural cosmetics brand Lush has apologised to more than 5000 staff it underpaid, who are now owed $2 million in backpay.
The company admitted its mistake in a statement on Tuesday. It says staff across retail and manufacturing businesses have been underpaid since 2010 due to incorrect interpretations of the retail award.
"We are sincerely sorry for letting our staff down so badly. They put their hearts and souls into LUSH and it's them, along with our customers, who drive our business, fuel our growth and make it the vibrant place it is," Lush Australia director Peta Granger said in a statement.
"We made mistakes on pay, we found those mistakes and now we are doing everything in our power to pay the money we owe as quickly and as transparently as possible. We know we're far from perfect, but we always strive to do the right thing," Ms Granger said.
External audits could take months to complete and will cost the company $1.5 million, on top of the $2 million they need to pay back to employees.
Ms Granger claims the company did not deliberately underpay workers and the error was due to a computer glitch.
"The problems are to do with intricate elements of the Retail and Manufacturing Awards, which our very manual payroll system was just not sophisticated enough to interpret correctly." she said.
"This resulted from a very serious failure on our part to upgrade our internal systems. 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," she said.
"We would never knowingly under pay. This was not deliberate. It goes against everything we value and believe in, and we are so sorry to have let our staff down in this way."
She says all employees will get ever cent of their money back
"Whether it's $1 or $1000, we are committed to connecting with every employee who's been affected by our mistake," she said.
Ms Granger urged any former staff members who had been employed by LUSH since 2010 to make contact and register for the back pay scheme via lushbackpay.com.au.