Only one more week remains for 7-Eleven employees to make their claims with the Wage Repayment Program, which will close on Jan 31.
The program will be replaced by 7-Eleven’s Internal Investigation Unit, which will request consent from claimants to be able to disclose information, including their identities, to third parties including the franchisee.
Franchisees found to have underpaid staff will be required to rectify underpayments within 30 days, and where they do not, 7-Eleven will make an ex-gratia payment.
However, the company stated it would not make ex-gratia payments for underpayments that arose from “cash-back” conduct unless the incident was reported within 90 days of the claimant becoming aware of or participating in the behaviour.
Last year the ABC revealed that a 7-Eleven franchise employee had been forced by her employer to pay back her underpayment repayments, however the national broadcaster refused to co-operate with 7-Eleven’s requests for information to assist their investigation, including confirmation of the identity of the employee.
A spokesperson for 7-Eleven said the new conditions were agreed with the Fair Work Ombudsman, and sought to encourage claimants to “come forward quickly and assist 7-Eleven’s investigation and potential action, and ensure that Franchisees bear full responsibility for any substantiated wage fraud”.
“7-Eleven’s voluntary wage repayment initiatives have to date approved almost $59 million to nearly 1,500 claimants,” he said.
“These initiatives have now been operating for a total of 17 months. In that time, more than 15,000 former and current 7-Eleven Franchisee Employees have been contacted a minimum of 16 times each via email and SMS. Several of these direct messages have encouraged recipients to share the information and encourage anyone they know who may have been underpaid at a 7-Eleven franchise to submit a claim.
“Our commitment to remediating past underpaid wages remains absolute. This evolution of our approach is designed to ensure prompt and thorough investigation of claims, and that any Franchisee found to be committing wage fraud bears the full responsibility of their actions.”
Employees who still wish to make a claim after closure of the program can still lodge their complaint with the 7-Eleven Employee Helpline (1800 711 243), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).