Contractors go unpaid as Aussie payroll provider stops operating

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Contractors go unpaid as Aussie payroll provider stops operating

Update: ‘Effective immediately’.

Australian payroll software start-up Plutus Payroll has suspended its operations over a “commercial dispute”, leaving many of its business and individual contractor clients unpaid.

The company last week advised that pay may have been affected for contractors from last Thursday 27th April due to the operational halt.

It did not detail whether it expected to return to business in the future, only advising customers to contact the company via phone - which goes straight to a mailbox - or email to discuss affected payments.

Several of the company's clients have contacted iTnews complaining they have received payslips but no money.

“Please be assured that we are working diligently to resolve the dispute and will keep you informed of our progress. Our aim is to recover sums that may be owed to you," Plutus said in a notice to customers.

“We would encourage all of our contractors to contact their recruiters or employers to make alternate arrangements for their pay. Our recruitment partners have been informed and are standing by to assist you as well.”

The suspension of its operations was “effective immediately” last week. It did not detail the nature of its “commercial dispute”.

A spokesperson for the company declined to provide more detail. He said customers would receive daily updates on the situation.

The Double Bay, NSW-headquartered company was born in 2014 as a “free of charge” outsourced payroll services offering for businesses and individual contractors.

The payroll service - which was provided mostly through an online interface but also with account managers when needed - was free so long as a business paid their payroll fees by the due date on the invoice, or a contractor’s client paid their bill on the due date.

It also offered rebates that promised cash rewards for paying invoices on time, and free private health insurance to every customer.

“Our goal is to reward Australian companies for their fiscal responsibility by introducing a rebate system for those who pay their commitments on time,” it said on its website.

“Whether you are a business employing staff, or a contractor who is looking for someone to alleviate your admin and tax hassles, Plutus offers a rewards system to help you minimise the cost of your payroll.”

The company appears to have employed around nine staff and is owned by a private equity firm.

Update 8:40pm: Plutus has denied to its customers that is in either receivership or administration, claiming to have "responsibly decided to suspend business activities due to our commercial dispute which prevents us from making payments".

"We are actively and tirelessly working to resolve this issue and we apologise again for the inconvenience that it has caused," it said in a note sent on Wednesday evening, sighted by iTnews.

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