7-Eleven has approved 21 claims, totalling $686,000, in its first round of payments under the company’s new in-house Wage Repayment Program.
The total number of wage repayment claims submitted stands at 4008, with 305 new claims lodged since 7-Eleven’s decision to take over the repayment process. Over the same period, three claims have been withdrawn.
7-Eleven announced in May its plans to close the Fels Wage Fairness Panel, established after a Four Corner’s investigation uncovered systemic wage fraud throughout the convenience chain, and launch its own internal unit.
Professor Allan Fels, who was appointed in September 2015 to head the panel alongside Dr David Cousins, said at the time of the panel’s closure he believed 7-Eleven decided to axe the panel in order to “minimise the payouts”.
7-Eleven CEO Angus McKay, who was appointed to the head role earlier this year, said the company was focused on processing legitimate claims “as quickly as possible”.
“We have spent the past few weeks building a claims assessment process that places legitimate claimant interests at its centre and responds to feedback from all key stakeholders,” Mr McKay.
“We are confident that our wage repayment process delivers against these objectives, and are now absolutely focused on ensuring it meets our commitment to pay legitimate claims as quickly as possible.
“7-Eleven is happy to be judged on our actions, and will continue to publicly report our progress as we move forward,” Mr McKay said.
The announcement follows a $408,000 penalty issued to a 7-Eleven store operator in Brisbane by the Fair Work Ombudsman this week after the owner was found to have underpaid 12 employees more than $82,000.
The penalty is the largest ever court imposed penalty achieved by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Any former or current franchisee staff who believe they have not been paid their full can submit their claim to the secretariat on 1800 619 802 or www.wagerepaymentprogram.com.au.