Chemist Warehouse forced to back-pay workers over $3.5 million

The Chemist Warehouse franchise group has been forced to back-pay almost 6000 workers more than $3.5 million.

The back-pay follows an extensive Fair Work Ombudsman audit. Following concerns raised over non-payment of wages for compulsory online training undertaken by staff outside of normal working hours. 

CW Retail Services Pty Ltd operates 350 retail pharmacy businesses under the Chemist Warehouse banner and employs more than 9000 staff nationally.

Following a review of all online training, 294 stores operating under the Chemist Warehouse brand initiated back payment to 5,976 employees totalling $3,569,212.10.

While CW Retail Services Pty Ltd issued instructions to individual business owners saying that workers should be paid for compulsory training and it should be conducted during working hours, it acknowledged that there was potential for non-payment of training time to have erroneously occurred within businesses across the network.

The Fair Work Ombudsman warned that this example was a reminder that 'set and forget' instructions could be an issue.

Under a Compliance Deed signed with the Fair Work Ombudsman, Chemist Warehouse will:

  • Engage an independent auditor to assess compliance with workplace laws over the three years of the Deed
  • Implement workplace relations training for managers and staff in all Chemist Warehouse stores
  • Nominate a dedicated person to deal with requests for assistance from staff at Chemist Warehouse franchises which are referred by the Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Establish and maintain a dedicated telephone hotline and email service to ensure all employees may make enquiries or report potential non-compliance at Chemist Warehouse franchises