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NSW Wages - Incentives - Major Pay Changes?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Damon, 8 June 2015.

  1. Damon

    Damon Member

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    I work in a major furniture sales organisation with over 40 stores Australia wide (under an enterprise agreement) and my employer is changing the way our incentives are paid. I, and a lot of others are wondering how legal their plans are..

    The current system consists of our normal base wages, then we receive 3% of gross profit over 6g, 4% of g.p over 7.5g and 5% of g.p over 9G... our current system also includes an incentive for selling certain items (ie, sell this desk and receive an extra $50 when the customer picks the item up.)

    The new system is doing away with the incentives and changing the commission to 5% of any g.p over 5g.

    Their plan is to change the structure as of the 1/7, I can see how changing the pay structure is perfectly fine with enough notice, however they have told us that all orders which haven't been picked up by the customer before this time will no longer have the incentive attached to it, even if the items were sold well in the time period when there were incentives attached and before we knew there would be a change.

    Many of us have thousands of dollars in incentives which will be absorbed by the company after this date..

    I'm wondering if there are any laws stating they need to fulfill their prior promises?
    Any advice, help or links will be much appreciated.
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Damon,

    I'd say the first place to look is your employment contract, or the instrument that specifies what your old commissions/incentive payments were, when they were triggered and when they should be paid by the company. If the new changes kick in on 1 July then it may be that the commissions/payments earned prior to this date but not yet paid to employees are outstanding benefits that should be paid. However, this would largely depend on the actual calculations/terms of the commission/payments.

    Are you able to have a read of this document?

    Another place to look to would be the Fair Work Ombudsman. They offer free advice and possible dispute resolution assistance for employees.
     
  3. Damon

    Damon Member

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    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the advice,

    We are on the general retail award , and as such the fairwork ombudsman have stated that the company is not under any award based obligations to fulfil outstanding orders - however they have given me the number of a local community law specialist to help find out exactly what you said about having to pay outstanding benefits.

    The biggest problem is I cant seem to get anything from the business in writing about how the incentives are paid. I have lists of products and criteria we had to hit to be paid the incentives, but nothing about having to wait for the order to be delivered - so I don't think I have a leg to stand on...
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, if the company has not made a representation to you in writing, then they can argue there was no representation made at all, merely a "bonus" which they can withdraw at their discretion. However, best to speak with a lawyer, who can do a bit of investigating and discovery into the area.
     

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