NSW Pay / Reimbursement issue with work.

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Widget

Active Member
2 June 2018
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Hi guys,

I'm having a bit of an issue at work regarding money that I feel I should be reimbursed for, and was hoping to get some feedback from others.

Here's the story, I'll try to be brief, but will leave out the business name for now.

I work at X supermarket as a casual, started there just under a year ago. A couple of months later, I was approached by the Grocery Manager and told that X supermarket introduced Free safety work shoes (just the 1st pair, future pairs would be upto employee to purchase) that were to be compulsory and worn when working. She then took my measurements & my chosen style, then left.

A souple of weeks later, shoes arrived, picked them up, tried them on, didn't fit properly (sizing issue). As it turns out, probably 75% or more of the Employees had the same issue, and we returned them to the Grocery Manager/Store manager so they can send them back. until then, I went back to wearing my normal black dress/work shoes.

6months later (I know, long time), my normal work shoes started wearing out (holes etc..), and I pointed them out to Duty manager, who said I should get new 'safety shoes' as, if the Store Manager sees, I might get in trouble. I decided to try again with the Free Safety Shoes that were being offered.
I took my measurements myself, logged into the X Supermarket Employee Login (where we can see rosters, payslips, etc..), went to the section for ordering work-clothes (it redirects you to Bizwear), ordered the shoes, and received them in about a week.

Note: With the ordering of work clothes, when I first started, I was told we get 2x Free work shirts, and to get these, we login to the Employee Login > Work clothes section (redirects you to Bizwear), then select the shirts and go through checkout, which you then won't we charged (because they're free). This is why I did it this way with the shoes rather than going through the Manager again.

Few days after shoes arrived, I was checking my finances, and noticed I had actually been charged for the shoes. Spoke to Grocery Manager, who agreed they should have been free (they're my one and only pair). She called Bizwear and was told I was charged because they didn't receive the return from the 1st pair, which is why their system detected them being a 2nd pair, and therefor was charged.

As it turns out, they didn't actually didn't send back any of the shoes. Apparently the New store manager said 'free for all' and all the employees grabbed whatever fit (I wasn't aware of this at all, otherwise I would have just grabbed a pair that fit)

Now, here's where my main issue starts. After the Grocery Manager got off the phone to Bizwear, she grabbed a random pair of shoes from the office, told me to send these back to Bizwear (at my cost), bring back the receipt from AusPost, & she'll get Accounting to reimburse me, and she'll chase up the reimbursement for the shoes too. So I did.

After sending them off (with tracking), I waited till they arrived, then contacted Bizwear myself, who informed me that I would not be getting the refund for the shoes, as IIRC, the shoes had been purchased by X Supermarket, and therefor they would be getting the refund. If I send back the shoes I got charged for, they can refund (but I had already been wearing them for some time by then, so no returns accepted).
I'm guessing the Grocery Manager assumed I would get the refund.

I took the AusPost receipt back to her, told her they said no, and she said she'd look into it, and organise the reimbursement for the receipt.

Almost 2months later, and back & forward, with her saying she's still looking into it, I still have no refund for the shoes, or the receipt, I get annoyed, ask her if she had an update (via sms), she tells me it was at the Team members expense to send them back, and that I should talk to the boss. *facepalm*, so it looks like she/management's not interested in reimbursing for the AusPost...

(I know, I should have gone to Management higher up, but didn't think I needed to as the Grocery manager who organised the shoes to begin with said she'd look into it)

So so sorry, this was not a brief post at all... I wanted to include as much info as I can, but really hope someone can offer some feedback on the situation.

Regarding the 1st shoes. I honestly don't believe it should have been team members responsibility, as management made the order, so shouldn't it be up to the purchaser to make the return, especially since they're the one getting the refund anyways ?

I'm at a loss, never been in this situation before. i know they're just shoes, which cost around $60 + the AusPost costs.. but it's the principle of the thing.

I'm online now looking at info for,

NSW Department of Fair Trading to see who's responsible for returning the first pair. I know if I purchase from Bizwear directly (which I have), then it's upto me to return if there's an issue... but in this case, I was not the purchaser.

Fair Work Ombudsman. Under the awards for retail (somewhere there) I read the Employer must reimburse the cost of special workwear that the Employee must wear. not sure about other entitlements.

SDA – Under the EBA, they also say the Employer must reimburse. Not sure about other entitlements.
6.2 Special Clothing
Where 'supermarket' requires a team member to wear any protective or special clothing such as a uniform, dress or other
clothing then 'supermarket' will reimburse the team member for any cost of purchasing such clothing and the cost of
replacement items, when replacement is due to normal wear and tear.
This provision will not apply where the
special clothing is supplied and/or paid for by 'supermarket

Bizwear – Who really is responsible for the return of an item.?

Sorry again for the long post. If it's too long, let me know, I'll trim down what I can.

Please, no "build a bridge and get over it comments". I understand people will think this is stupid, but there should be no reason at all for an Employee to be out of pocket for something like this, regardless of the amount.

EDIT Just a note too, I've asking the other Employees if they had to pay for their shoes, or pay to have their original pair that didn't fit correctly, returned. So far, no one has had to pay anything, just me.

Thanks in advance :).
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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EBA is the document that outlines your rights. Looks like the supermarket should pay based on your post.

Question is whether you want to risk your job over the cost of shoes.
 

Widget

Active Member
2 June 2018
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31
Hi Rod, thanks for the reply. :)

I saw the part in the EBA about special clothing and printed that out, though still unsure about the reimbursement for the postage of the original shoes. It's my understanding that, as I was not the original purchaser of the shoes, and that they were provided to me by the supermarket, that the onus wasn't on me to return them to Bizwear, but rather to the supermarket themselves. Am I thinking correctly ?

I've sent of an email to both Bizwear, and Fair Trading, but will call them next business day.

As for loss of job, that is certainly something I've thought about:(. As a casual though, according to Fair Work, I still have rights regarding unfair dismissal assuming I meet the requirements. Looking at the requirements, I'm confident I meet them to be eligible to file a claim if it comes to that (which I hope it doesn't).

Thanks again :)
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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the onus wasn't on me to return them to Bizwear, but rather to the supermarket themselves. Am I thinking correctly ?

Yes

Your query has nothing to do with Bizwear. They appear to be doing the correct thing and wouldn't waste a call to Fair Trading. Your issue is with your employer.

Casuals do have some rights and there MAY be some relief if it comes down to it, but make sure you have your rosters and payslips, preferably at least 12 months worth.
 

Widget

Active Member
2 June 2018
5
0
31
Yes

Your query has nothing to do with Bizwear. They appear to be doing the correct thing and wouldn't waste a call to Fair Trading. Your issue is with your employer.

Thanks Rod :), I should mention though, something that only just came to me. When the supermarket ordered the Footwear, they seemed to put the receipt under my account (I'm assuming they did this for each Employee). I was not aware of this prior to, or after receiving either pair of shoe. It wasn't until I spoke to the Grocery Manager that she pointed out the original receipt for the shoes being under my Bizwear Employee account.

Not sure what bearing this has on the case, as I wasn't made aware that they were doing that, I was under the impression that the Supermarket were the ones providing them (which technically they did)... is this likely to be an issue?

Casuals do have some rights and there MAY be some relief if it comes down to it, but make sure you have your rosters and payslips, preferably at least 12 months worth

Unfortunately I've only been working there since July 2017 :/, though from what I've read, as I'm working at a large supermarket business, I only need to be there for minimum 6months to be eligible for Unfair Dismissal claim (12months for smaller businesses with less than 15 Employees).

I have all Payslips saved onto my PC, each one a PDF file. As for rosters, being a Casual, I never received a set roster like Part-time/Full time Employees, I received all my shifts via text messages, which I just backed up today (about 11months worth)

On another note, I've spoken to some others about the issue and though they say to contact SDA(union), which I'll do on Monday (for advice), they also suggested I contact head office accounting, as they might be able to sort it out, and/or the Regional Manager. I was hoping to resolve this without Union intervention, so do you think it's work contacting either head office about the issue, or even the Regional Manager ?

Thanks again Rod, very much appreciate the feedback :)
 

Clancy

Well-Known Member
6 April 2016
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By the time you add up all of the time the store has wasted not dealing with this issue - managers time, your time etc etc it becomes more expensive for the store, than the shoes!
But also, add up all the time the OP spends writing about this issue on their own time - and compare that to how much the OP would get paid working for that same amount of time, i bet that also adds up to more than what the shoes are worth! And even if you do pay for your own shoes, you can claim it back on tax
 

Widget

Active Member
2 June 2018
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Hi Clancy, thanks for the feedback :).

I understand what you're saying, but if the store just processed it when they said they would rather than waiting several weeks, it wouldn't have gotten this far. I know I could have just walked away and left it, but unfortunately I couldn't. For me, it would be harder to leave it, than to push for it. I felt confident that I was in the right, and that I had (some) proof to back it up, but if worse comes to worse, then I would contact the union.

Spoke to the manager on the weekend, who assured me I'd get it, and to give her the total amount so she can arrange for it to be left at cash office for collection. I'll post in this thread how it turns out.

Even though it was only $80 worth, it was my $80, that I worked for, and payed Tax on, that could go towards bills, etc.. rather than going back to a Billion dollar company. I'm sure I'm not the only one that would feel the way I do, and who would try their best to get it back. :)

Regards,
 

Clancy

Well-Known Member
6 April 2016
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68
2,289
Hi Clancy, thanks for the feedback :).

I understand what you're saying, but if the store just processed it when they said they would rather than waiting several weeks, it wouldn't have gotten this far. I know I could have just walked away and left it, but unfortunately I couldn't. For me, it would be harder to leave it, than to push for it. I felt confident that I was in the right, and that I had (some) proof to back it up, but if worse comes to worse, then I would contact the union.

Spoke to the manager on the weekend, who assured me I'd get it, and to give her the total amount so she can arrange for it to be left at cash office for collection. I'll post in this thread how it turns out.

Even though it was only $80 worth, it was my $80, that I worked for, and payed Tax on, that could go towards bills, etc.. rather than going back to a Billion dollar company. I'm sure I'm not the only one that would feel the way I do, and who would try their best to get it back. :)

Regards,

Understandable..... But most workers get their money back by going on facebook while at work!! lol :) :)
 

Widget

Active Member
2 June 2018
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But most workers get their money back by going on facebook while at work!! lol

lol, true, but, no facebook, or any internet for me, always stacking shelves and moving things around :(. Anyways, got my reimbursement back today, finally! Bit annoyed as the process only took 10minutes... this could have been done on the 1st day I inquired about it :/.
Guess all's well that ends well. :)
 

Rod

Lawyer
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Thanks for the update, pleased it worked out.