Crown Resorts inks EU as employees receive over A$1.2m in backpay

Crown Resorts Melbourne, Victoria
Image: TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock

Crown Resorts is to implement a range of “stringent measures” after back paying A$1.2m to approximately 200 employees at the group’s Melbourne and Perth venues

This includes superannuation, interest and an additional gratuity payment, with an enforceable undertaking signed alongside the Fair Work Ombudsman after the casino operator self-reported underpayments in March 2020.

This related to an audit undertaken by the group at the aforementioned facilities prior to a communication being received by Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker that urged Australia’s top 100 ASX-listed companies to prioritise payroll compliance.

The cause of the underpayments, said the FWO, were caused by Crown incorrectly identifying some of its employees as award-free, thereby underpaying them by failing to meet obligations.

These entitlements included penalty rates, minimum hourly rates, overtime and paid leave rates, with the EU mandating that the group undertake a series of rectifying procedures.

In addition to writing to all underpaid employees regarding the EU, Crown must also publish notices in two newspapers, as well as on its website, Facebook page and workplaces about its contraventions.

Furthermore, the group is also mandated to establish a telephone hotline and dedicated email account for all employees who worked during the relevant period to make enquiries.

Due to the cooperation throughout the investigation, as well as “strong commitment” to correct the wrongdoings, Parker suggested that an EU was the correct course of action.

“Under the EU, Crown has committed to implementing stringent measures to ensure all its current and future workers are paid correctly,” she said.

“These measures include commissioning, at its own cost, two independent annual audits to check its compliance with workplace laws.

“As I called out to the ASX top 100 in early 2020 and have said consistently ever since – employers need to place a high priority on their workplace obligations. 

“Crown’s failures to apply relevant awards to some of its employees and to ensure annual salaries met all minimum entitlements for hours worked led to long-running underpayments of its staff, and a larger remediation bill.

“All employers need to invest the time and resources to ensure they are meeting all lawful entitlements.”

Between July 2014 and June 2020, Crown underpaid around 200 current and former employees in the region of A$1.025m, excluding superannuation, interest and gratuity.

Crown has remediated the aforementioned A$1.2m, including superannuation plus an additional 10 per cent made up of interest and gratuity payment, to the 192 current and former employees that could be located.

However, the EU requires that back-payments be made to the other eight former employees within a 180 day timeframe.

Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth must also make a combined $350,000 contrition payment to the Commonwealth Consolidated Revenue Fund.

In Melbourne, more than $567,000 in back-payments have been made to 102 workers, with these figures ranging from $22 to $66,714. Efforts are still being made to locate the remaining eight. 

Elsewhere, in Perth, all workers have been back-paid, with payments of more than $659,000 made to 90 workers, which range from $5 to $55,192.