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'Very sorry' Bunnings underpaid superannuation for almost 10 years

"A Lowest Prices are Just the Beginning" sign is seen at a Bunnings hardware store at Chatswood, in Sydney, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.
(AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Hardware giant Bunnings has revealed superannuation for some staff have been underpaid since 2011.

The mistake has been attributed to "an error in the payroll system code".

"We understand the importance of ensuring our team members are paid everything they are entitled to in full and on time – in this case, whilst inadvertent, we haven’t, and we are very sorry for that," said Bunnings HR director Jacqui Coombes.

The underpayment has been reported to the Fair Work Ombudsman and the industry fund Retail Employee Superannuation Trust (REST).

The company said it would contact all staff and former staff affected, and is currently running a reconciliation to calculate the total impact.

"Our focus now is on making sure we complete this reconciliation thoroughly and as quickly as possible, so we can ensure that the superannuation contributions and compensation owing are made to team members’ superannuation funds," Coombes said.

"We have also fixed the original error to ensure that this does not happen again."

The company did not estimate the total magnitude of the error in dollar terms or numbers of staff.

The hardware chain's disclosure comes in a year that's seen plenty of other Austraian retailers fall into trouble for short-changing staff. Celebrity chef George Calombaris paid a fine for underpaying his staff $7.8 million, jewellery retailer Michael Hill admitted to owing up to $25 million in back-pay, and just this week Sunglass Hut confessed to pocketing $2.3 million from 620 employees.

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