Unchecked wage rates results in underpayment of half a million dollars

An Australian health business has inadvertently underpaid almost 200 employees half a million dollars.

187 clerical, home care and disability support workers were underpaid weekend, public holiday and shift penalty rates, which was brought to the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) during one of its education and compliance campaigns.

The employees, most of which were based in Darwin and Brisbane, were underpaid a total of $502,000 between 2010 and 2014.

The business paid back all of the underpaid employees in full, without enforcement action taken by the FWO.

“It seems the HR manager was unaware how to calculate correct wages under the relevant Award and did not seek advice or clarification,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said.

“Small errors can result in very large underpayments if they’re left unchecked for an extended period of time, particularly for companies with a big workforce.”

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