Retail company Cotton On Group is the latest to launch a full inquiry into the workplace practices of its staff following the Smiths City employment case.

The Australian retailer, which owns Cotton On, Cotton On Kids, Cotton On Body, Factorie, Rubi, Supre and Typo, is among firms named as not paying staff for work done outside regular work hours.

More than 1500 retail workers have laid complaints about their employers' pay practices with First Union, including Briscoe Group, Harvey Norman, Kmart, Noel Leeming, The Warehouse, Farmers, Whitcoulls, among others.

Cotton On Group is currently investigating whether it is paying its staff correctly.


"Upon being made aware of the concerns about workplace hours, a full inquiry has been launched to ensure our workplace policies are being adhered to," Kerry Ashford, Cotton On Group New Zealand country manager, said.

"The Cotton On Group prides itself on its people-first approach to business and ensuring our team is remunerated correctly is a critical part of this."

Briscoe Group yesterday said it would reimburse its staff who cashed up at the end of the day but didn't get paid for the time.

The Auckland-based retailer said it had failed to correctly roster some staff required to cash up at the end of a shift, revealed by an audit of its stores.

"This is our error and we are now in the process of rectifying it - staff who have been affected by this will be fully reimbursed," a Briscoe Group spokesman said.

"We believe this has affected a modest number of employees."

Briscoe Group, which operates the Briscoes and Living & Giving homeware chains and Rebel Sport stores, employs about 1800 staff.

Last week, the Employment Court ordered retailer Smiths City to pay staff for attending unpaid sales meetings over the past six years.

The retailer disputed the Labour Inspectorate notice which was filed two years ago, but has since accepted the court's finding and will reimburse staff.

Labour Inspectorate regional manager Loua Ward said employers should not pass the cost of doing business on to the people on the floor.

"Employees must be paid for all the work they do and this includes handover times, briefing and in some situations, the travel time to and from a work site.

"Too often we encounter employers attempting to avoid paying their employees by dressing up activities outside of business hours as something that is for the benefit of the employee or something that's not work.''

First Union on Monday released a survey asking retail workers if they were being correctly paid by their employer.

Supermarkets Countdown and Pak'nSave were also included in First Union's list of companies which had allegedly forced staff to work unpaid.

First Union retail, finance and commerce secretary Tali Williams said the response from retail workers working for unpaid time had moved beyond its initial survey.

"People are Facebooking us, people are emailing us, calling organisers direct, calling our call centre, calling me, texting, and so on and so fourth," Williams said.

"This has really tapped into this massive issue that has been kept quiet."

Williams said the union had so far received responses from Kmart, The Warehouse, Countdown and Farmers.

"It's the ones that are quiet or not responding that we're a bit more worried about."

She said some employers had now stopped holding unpaid meetings for staff.