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$250,000: Flight Centre accused of underpaying staff over YEARS

(AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

Travel giant Flight Centre is facing Federal Court proceedings over claims it underpaid workers by $250,000.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and union Together Queensland are taking action against Flight Centre on behalf of five current and former employees.

Maurice Blackburn employment law principal Giri Sivaraman told the ABC that it will be alleged that employees’ minimum wages, penalty and overtime rates were not paid, nor were annual leave or leave loading paid at the correct rate.

The employees also claim that the appropriate rest and meal breaks were also not provided.

According to Maurice Blackburn’s calculations, the “very brave but very upset” employees had been ripped off approximately $250,000 taken together, Sivaraman said.

“It's quite a significant sum," he told the ABC.

"The reality is, this is a pretty vulnerable workforce, they're often very young, they love travel and then they come into the job thinking it's going to be fun.

"Then it turns out that the pay is so low it can be a huge struggle to make ends meet."

At least one of the claimants has worked for Flight Centre for more than a decade – but the claim can only go back as far as six years.

"The law states that I can only legally go back six years and we're looking at a bit over $42,000,” claimant Sheri MacKenzie told ABC.

"That's a massive amount, so if I could go back my almost 13 years, we'd probably almost get to six figures."

Flight Centre ‘categorically denies’ allegations

However, a spokesperson for Flight Centre told Yahoo Finance that the company rejected the allegations and would defend their position.

“The company has categorically denied that some of its people were paid below the minimum award under the previous wage structure,” said a statement provided to Yahoo Finance.

“Like most sales companies, Flight Centre has an incentivised workforce and pays its people a base wage or retainer plus commissions.

“If the combination of retainer and commission fell below the minimum applicable award, the company paid its people an additional top-up to ensure earnings reached the appropriate level.”

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