World Vision self-reports payroll error to Fair Work Ombudsman
As part of an organisation-wide review of remuneration arrangements, World Vision Australia regrets to announce that it self-reported an error in its payroll to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in December 2019.
The review confirmed that World Vision Australia employees should be covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award (SCHADS) and the terms and conditions contained therein.
At the same time as self-reporting to the FWO, World Vision Australia also notified the appropriate union with whom we have worked closely in getting the employees compliant, and included it in our most recent annual report (published February 28, 2020).
This error in appropriately determining the correct award for employees has resulted in instances of underpayment of around 200 casual and 45 permanent employees.
We also have around 400 staff being paid above award rates.
World Vision Australia has already corrected the award rates of all its casual staff and expects permanent staff rates to be compliant by the end of March.
World Vision Australia Acting Chief Executive Officer Graham Strong said the error was not deliberate, but an unfortunate error, and that paying employees incorrectly was wholly unacceptable.
“We apologise unreservedly for the error and have moved swiftly and decisively to rectify it,” Mr Strong said.
“I care deeply that this has happened, because I know how deeply our employees care about what they do. This is particularly devastating because I know our employees joined World Vision to make a difference in the world, and they don’t see their work here solely as a job, but as a calling.”
Mr Strong said World Vision Australia was working closely with the FWO to determine the level of back-pay owed to employees.
World Vision Australia has made a provision of $8.9 million, which was arrived at by using assumptions on the numbers of staff affected, and then applying contingencies to those figures.
“Given how conservative we have been in this exercise, I’d be very surprised if the final amount comes to more than that provision,” Mr Strong said.
“We cannot yet confirm the total figure of underpayment until the process with the FWO has been completed.”
World Vision Australia has undertaken a comprehensive review of remuneration and improved processes and governance to ensure such errors do not happen again.
“We are fully cooperating with FWO to ensure the application of the award is correct and our ongoing processes and systems are robust.”
World Vision Australia has kept staff informed every step of the way, and in December 2019 published a webpage for further information on the matter. This can be accessed at www.worldvision.com.au/peopleupdate
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