- Underpaid casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants to receive back payment
- Underpayment the result of error in applying the hourly rate of pay
- Back payments will be made dating back to 1998, estimated at $4.9 million
The Department of Education will make back payments estimated at a total of $4.9 million to underpaid casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants.
The underpayment was identified after a human resources officer identified an hourly pay rate error dating back to 1983 when the standard working hours for these employees was reduced from 40 hours to 38 hours per week.
As the department's system was not updated to match this change, it resulted in underpayment of 24 minutes for each full day worked or a proportion of 24 minutes for each part day worked.
Approximately 27,000 casual staff will receive payment which will include salary, casual loading, and superannuation. Of these, 7,100 are current casual staff.
Forty-nine per cent of these employees have been underpaid by less than $100 and 91 per cent by less than $500.
The department will write to all affected staff during December to advise them of the process for payment of back pay.
Current casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants will receive payment on December 24 while former casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants will be paid on February 20, 2020, once personal and bank account information is confirmed.
All fixed term and permanent cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants have been paid correctly during this period.
If current or previous casual workers feel they might have been affected and want more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 9264 8383.
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
"This historic underpayment to casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants is highly regrettable.
"However, it's reassuring that when the problem was confirmed in October last year, the Department of Education launched a wide-ranging investigation and moved to fix the error so all affected employees could be paid as soon as possible.
"While the department is only required by law to back pay for the past six years, I have instructed that the back payment must extend to 21 years because that is the right thing to do for these staff who have worked in good faith.
"I want to reassure all former and current casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants that the issue is being addressed immediately so they are paid what they are entitled to."
Minister's office - 6552 5700