Star Entertainment to Repay $13 Million to 2200 Underpaid Staff
- Star Entertainment admits to wage theft
- Operator to pay back $13 million to 22,000 staff
- CEO issues apology
Australian casino operator Star Entertainment recently admitted that it had underpaid its staff since 2016. The admission revealed that up to 2200 employees have been denied their dues totaling $13 million for the last six years. Star released a statement on 07 Feb confirming that regulators and unions have been alerted of the underpayment fiasco.
Retrospective Wage Review Blows Whistle
The casino giant is the latest to join the bandwagon of other employers in Australia that have been in the spotlight for underpaying a vast number of their employees. Famous names that have been featured in the list are Coles, Woolworths, Qantas, and the Commonwealth Bank. Star Entertainment currently runs casinos in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sydney.
A retrospective wage review of salaried team members blew the whistle on the discrepancy. As per the review, the salaries of some employees were not sufficient to cover penalty and overtime rates. The company noted in its statement that the underpayments formed a mere 0.4 percent of the $3.3 billion it had paid as staff dues from 2016 to 2022. Further, Star affirmed that it had informed the United Workers Union and the Fair Work Ombudsman about the underpayment.
Matt Bekier, the chief executive officer of Star Entertainment, tendered an apology to staff members affected by the payment shortfall. Bekier stated the company’s dedication to transparency and its commitment to remedy the faults so that they do not repeat in the future.
Given that Star has begun its process of repaying the dues along with interest; the group’s upcoming financial results will take a hit of $13 million that will elevate its first-half loss. The company had posted a net loss between $73 million and $75 million, attributed to a difficult trading period due to the Delta and Omicron waves. Star’s share price fell on Monday, recording a six-day low. But it has gained some momentum since then and was last seen at $3.56, about 0.3 percent higher than before.
Money Laundering Investigation Still On
Star Entertainment operates the Star Grand on the Gold Coast, Pyrmont in Sydney’s Darling Harbour and the Treasury in Brisbane. Currently, the group is building a new casino property for $3.6 billion at the Queen’s Wharf precinct. The casino will open this year along with an apartment tower and a fully-completed Dorsett hotel on the Gold Coast.
However, developments on the expansion front do not paint a rosy picture for the enterprise, as it is subject to an ongoing investigation by financial regulators over charges of money laundering.