The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is deeply concerned by revelations that listed childcare company G8 Education has underpaid as many as 27,000 current and former workers as much as $60 million ($80 million with interest) over six years.
This episode marks a growing and disturbing trend in the series of companies to declare underpayments to the Ombudsman.
Katie Hepworth, Director of Workers’ Rights at the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility said:
“If child-care companies can’t function effectively enough to pay their workers, how are they trusted to look after children?
“Parents will not leave their children at G8 centres if they cannot trust that they will be safe. If G8 Education is failing to properly record staff working hours, how can the company possibly assure parents that it is meeting the legislated educator-to-child ratios required to keep their children safe?
“This raises serious questions about the Company’s internal governance and its delivery mechanisms for the safe and quality care for children and families.
“Any loss of confidence by families in the Company will have a ripple effect that will damage return to shareholders now and into the future. Investors must ensure that the company addresses these governance failures before they undermine the long-term value of their shareholdings in G8.
“This is just the latest company to claim accidental underpayment. There is nothing “inadvertent” about wage theft. G8 Education’s failure to properly document staff hours points to serious deficiencies in G8’s internal governance procedures.”