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Today it’s been revealed that G8, the largest for-profit provider of early childhood education in the country, has underpaid as many as 27,000 educators as much as $80 million.

Contraventions of the Award date back to 2014, and relate to basic entitlements including payment of overtime and allowances, minimum engagement periods, and record-keeping of hours worked.

G8 described this largescale breach of the Award as “potential inadvertent non-compliance with some requirements.”

Last year G8 posted a profit of $154.9 million. It now appears that this profit was built by depriving educators of their minimum legal entitlements.

United Workers Union Early Childhood Education and Care Director Helen Gibbons said: “United Workers Union has been raising issues like this for years. Finally, the extent of this issue has been exposed, and G8 should hang their heads in shame.

“There’s no excuse for this level of ongoing and systematic wage theft from low-paid essential workers.

“By calling this huge amount of wage theft a ‘mistake’, G8 are showing no accountability for their obligations as an employer in this country.

“This is a large company, mostly funded through government subsidies and making hundreds of millions of dollars in profit. G8 didn’t respect their educators enough to prioritise paying them properly.

“If this was genuinely a mistake, you would expect to see overpayments of wages as well as underpayments, and that is not the case. Instead, G8 have demonstrated an appalling callousness to educators employed on the minimum wage – by denying them even that level of financial security.

“The educators and centre directors who work for G8 have shown enormous commitment and professionalism throughout the pandemic. These are essential workers who hold our community together. G8 has betrayed them.

“This is a powerful demonstration of the lack of respect that G8 has for its workers.

“We are putting every provider on notice: if you behave in this way, you will be exposed.

“Any educators who were employed by G8 since July 1, 2014 are encouraged to contact United Workers Union to ensure you receive any back pay to which you are entitled.”