ABC pays over $12 million in backpay to staff

The ABC has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman, and has paid back $11.9 million to more than 1,800 current and former casual staff.
The payment follows an investigation that was launched after the ABC reported to the FWO that it had found instances where casual employees had not received entitlements under its enterprise agreements.
Fair Work Inspectors identified that some casual staff were receiving flat rates of pay insufficient to cover entitlements including overtime, penalty rates and some allowances, and in some cases employees were paid less than the minimum hourly rate.
In total, 1,907 ABC employees were underpaid $12,029,038, most between October 2012 and February 2019.
As well as paying back $11,983,950 to 1828 employees, the ABC has paid affected workers 5.25 per cent interest on back-payments, superannuation, and 5.25 per cent interest on superannuation.
Underpayments ranged from $7 to $180,000, with full remediation to occur by 31 July 2020. The broadcaster will also calculate and back-pay entitlements owed to a small number of breakfast shift producers due to time sheet errors, and some misclassified technology staff.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that an EU was considered appropriate after the ABC took immediate steps to rectify the error and improve its systems to ensure future compliance.
“Enforceable Undertakings are provided for under the Fair Work Act and can be utilised for employers who self-disclose non-deliberate, though still serious, breaches to the Fair Work Ombudsman. We expect employers who self-disclose non-compliance to fully cooperate with our investigations, fast track all back-payments and take remediation action,” Ms Parker said.
The terms of the EU are enforceable by a court.
On its website today, the ABC stated

As previously stated, the ABC has consulted with the Fair Work Ombudsman to reach an agreement on the pay issue and has signed an Enforceable Undertaking.  The ABC has apologised to staff for this unintentional error.  A contrition payment will be made as a result of the negotiations with the Fair Work Ombudsman.  This payment has been budgeted in the current financial year and will have no impact on the requirement to find ongoing savings.

The contrition payment of $600,000 is consistent with FWO’s approach to other similar self-reported breaches of the Fair Work Act and takes account of what a court might have imposed by way of civil penalties.
The contrition payment, like a penalty ordered by a court, will be paid into the Commonwealth’s Consolidated Revenue Fund for the benefit of the broader Australian community.






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