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ABC Back-pays $11.9 Million To 1800 Current And Former Staff

ABC back-pays $11.9 million to 1800 current and former staff

The ABC has back-paid $11.9 million to 1800 current and former staff.

It has signed an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman as a result.

It has also committed to improving its payroll systems and processes.

Finally, the public broadcaster will pay a $600,000 contrition payment to the Commonwealth in recognition of the seriousness of the underpayments.

ABC back-pays $11.9 million

The ABC reported to Fair Work after finding casual employees had not received entitlements under its enterprise agreements.

An investigation subsequently found some casual staff received flat rates of pay insufficient to cover entitlements.

For example:

  • overtime;
  • penalty rates;
  • and some allowances; and in some instances,
  • employees were paid less than the minimum hourly rate.

As a result, the ABC underpaid 1,907 staff a total of $12,029,038 between October 2012 and February 2019.

Affected employees worked across the country in various roles.

For example:

  • camera operators,
  • make-up artists,
  • graphic designers,
  • production managers,
  • directors,
  • producers,
  • reporters and
  • presenters.

Underpayments ranged from $7 to $180,000, with full remediation to occur by 31 July 2020.

As at 27 May 2020, the ABC has back-paid $11,983,950 to 1828 employees.  

Additionally, the broadcaster has paid affected workers:

  • 5.25 percent interest on back-payments;
  • superannuation; and also
  • 5.25 percent interest on superannuation.

ABC back-pays $11.9 million to 1800 current and former staffNEXT READ  Enforceable Undertakings

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Enforceable Undertaking

Meanwhile, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker defended the offer of an Enforceable Undertaking instead of commencing legal action.

“Under the Enforceable Undertaking, the ABC has committed to improving workplace practices across its whole workforce and will invest significantly in improved systems and processes, which will benefit its current and future employees.

“The ABC will also engage and pay for an independent expert, approved by the FWO, to conduct annual audits of its workplace compliance for the next three years.

“Meanwhile, the ABC must implement an electronic record-keeping and rostering system, and train payroll and HR staff.”

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