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World Vision Australia backpays $6 million it underpaid staff

World Vision Australia has back-paid more than $6 million to staff after the charity self-reported underpayments to the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2019.

The underpayments occurred due to compliance issues, the charity said, and were discovered after an internal review.

In total, 3000 current and former employees across the country were underpaid more than $4.6 million in wages and entitlements including minimum wages, penalty rates and overtime, leave entitlements and allowances, according to the Ombudsman.

The charity has now back-paid that amount as well as $1.4 million in superannuation and interest.

Individual back-payments ranged from less than $50 to $84,394, with the average around $1900.

World Vision Australia has also paid amounts it owed to more than 1000 former employees it was not able to locate to the Fair Work Ombudsman as unclaimed monies.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said an enforceable undertaking was appropriate as the charity had cooperated with the FWO’s investigation and demonstrated a commitment to rectifying underpayments and ensuring future compliance.

“Under the Enforceable Undertaking, World Vision Australia has committed to implementing stringent measures to ensure all its workers are paid correctly,” Booth said.

“These measures include implementing a new time and wages payroll system and commissioning, at its own cost, at least one annual audit to check it is meeting all employee entitlements.”

The enforceable undertaking also requires World Vision Australia to provide a report to the Fair Work Ombudsman on its progress in implementing improvements to its systems; run an independent employee hotline for three months; and publish and display notices about the enforceable undertaking and its contraventions on its website and in its offices in Melbourne and Sydney

Taken from Australian Payroll Association Media Release on June 30, 2024.

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