Department underpays workers $400,000 for after-hours work

By Jackson Graham

Wednesday December 22, 2021

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Fake websites are offering tax file numbers and ABNs for a fee. (TPG/Adobe)

The Department of Social Services underpaid dozens of employees for after-hours media monitoring, internal documents show.  

The documents released under Freedom of Information show 67 staff, including both former and serving employees, were owed overtime and meal allowances agreed to in their EBA totalling about $400,000. 

The underpayments dated back to October 2015 and occurred until February 2020, the department acknowledged in the documents. 

In a letter to the Australian Public Service Commission, the department said staff were now being correctly paid and an external accounting firm had undertaken an independent review to find the total amount of underpayments. 

The former and current employees were due to receive the underpayments as a lump sum by the end of April 2021, the letter said. 

The underpayment led to the Fair Work Ombudsman issuing the department with a compliance order after it self-disclosed the underpayments. 

CPSU deputy national secretary Beth Vincent-Oietsh acknowledged that union members were pleased the issue had now been rectified but said the department was aware of it since 2017 and did not take action until this year. 

“The CPSU is aware of underpayments of well over $10,000,” Vincent-Oietsh said. 

The Department overtime forms were knowingly in direct conflict with the Enterprise Agreement. Even after issues were raised and acknowledged by HR and management, the form was never changed, which has led to this issue.”


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