A staggering 44.3 per cent of Queensland pharmacies have breached employment laws with the underpayment of pharmacists the main breach according to a damning audit of 575 of the state’s pharmacies.
CEO of APESMA, Chris Walton, said given the Fair Work Ombudsman's report found 66 per cent of the breaches involved the underpayment of pharmacists the Guild should apologise to Australian pharmacists for continually denying the illegal and widespread underpayment of pharmacists was happening at all.
He said the findings backed up an APESMA survey which last year found more than half of Australia’s pharmacy interns were illegally being paid less than the award rates of pay.
“Australia’s hardworking professional pharmacists do not deserve to be ripped off by pharmacy owners,” Mr Walton said.
Mr Walton said given the findings APESMA would meet with the Fair Work Ombudsman to discuss investigating pharmacies in every state and territory of Australia.
He said the findings of the audit flew in the face continual denials from the Pharmacy Guild about the widespread underpayment of Australian pharmacists including this false claim in a media release from the Pharmacy Guild 22 July last year:
Mr Sclavos said the Guild would continue to rely on the results of a recent audit of 500 pharmacies in Queensland by the Fair Work Ombudsman, which did not support the claims of widespread underpayment.
“The Pharmacy Guild seemed to think this audit would prove them right but it has blown up in their face,” Mr Walton said.
“Given the Pharmacy Guild has falsely relied on this audit to claim the underpayment of pharmacists is not going on, they now need to explain what they are going to differently to make their members give pharmacists get their lawful rates of pay.
“Right now APESMA is helping several pharmacists find out whether they are being paid fairly.”
Mr Walton said the Fair Work Ombudsman was concerned that pharmacy owners were often not aware of their employees’ entitlements under the law but failed to do anything to make sure their pharmacists got their fair rates of pay:
Of concern is the number of non – compliant employers who advised that they were unaware of their workplace obligations but who did not seek further advice or assistance.
Mr Walton said any pharmacist concerned about whether they were getting their lawful entitlements should immediately call APESMA on 1300 273 762.
“APESMA is the only organisation that stands up for better wages and conditions on behalf of pharmacists before the industrial umpire,” Mr Walton said.
A copy of the Fair Work Ombudsman's audit report is available here.