School network caught underpaying

The hugely popular Paul Sadler Swimland, which provides 30,000 swimming lessons a week to children across Australia, has been caught underpaying hundreds of young instructors over six years.

A Fairfax Media investigation can reveal that the franchise network, which operates more than 15 swimming schools in Australia and overseas, underpaid staff hundreds of thousands of dollars by breaching conditions and entitlements in the company’s enterprise agreement.

Staff say the original enterprise agreement – which includes no penalty rates for weekend work and has staff classified as seasonal part-time instead of casual – has left some workers worse off than they would have been under the award.

The underpayments, which date back to 2010, are the result of some employees not having their rates increased as their age went up and the incorrect application of grades for more experienced teachers.

Many also did not receive pay for long-service leave despite working at the company for more than seven years.

As well as underpaying staff, the enterprise agreement required them to renew their contracts every 10 to 12 weeks and included a flexibility agreement which reduced the minimum shift rate to 1½hours from three hours under the award.