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Coles beefs up provision for historical underpayment of management

Coles says it has provisioned a further $25 million to cover possible underpayments to the salaried management staff of its retail businesses as it continues an internal probe into its payroll.

Back in February 2020, Coles said it had identified shortfalls in the remuneration of management and subsequently conducted a review into pay arrangements for all such team members covered by the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA). 

Subsequently, a class action and a separate proceeding by the Fair Work Ombudsman were commenced in the Federal Court in relation to the alleged underpayment and Coles’ interpretation of the GRIA and the Fair Work Act.

In late 2021, the Fair Work Ombudsman said it believed Coles had underpaid thousands of salaried employees by $115 million since 2017.

Coles now says in a stock-exchange filing that “following further consideration of the issues as they have evolved” the company intends to conduct further remediation relating to the reconciliation of available records of the days and hours of work of salaried supermarket managers. 

“Coles expressed its deep regret and apologised to affected team members.

“In relation to other matters, including the interpretation of the GRIA and Fair Work Act, Coles awaits the court’s decision on these complex issues,” the filing concluded.

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