Embattled pharmacy chain join forces with the Fair Work Ombudsman

Sarah Stowe

A pharmacy business has teamed up with the fair work watchdog after backpaying 6000 workers more than $3.5m.

Chemist Warehouse has joined the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) by entering a compliance partnership after back-paying almost 6000 workers more than $3.5m.

CW Retail Services Pty Ltd, which owns Chemist Warehouse, has signed a Proactive Compliance Deed on behalf of its franchise network of 350 retail pharmacy businesses employing more than 9000 staff nationally under the Chemist Warehouse banner.

The execution of the three-year deed follows an extensive Fair Work Ombudsman audit of Chemist Warehouse stores in response to concerns raised over non-payment of wages for compulsory online training undertaken by staff outside of normal working hours.

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.

“As part of its Deed with the Fair Work Ombudsman, Chemist Warehouse will establish systems and processes to ensure compliance, particularly relating to compulsory training and how it is conducted and recorded by all franchises,” said Natalie James, FWO.

Under the Compliance Deed, Chemist Warehouse will also:

  • 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

CW Retail Pty Ltd Director Damien Gance said: “Chemist Warehouse welcomes the opportunity to enter into this partnership with the FWO.

“Chemist Warehouse as a group knows how important our people are to our success, and we are committed to ensuring our people are paid properly for the great work they do.

“We are grateful that the FWO alerted us to the inadvertent underpayments within the individual businesses operating Chemist Warehouse stores and are proud of the swift action taken by them to rectify the issue.”

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