Underpayment of staff wages

ACU has identified underpayments to some casual sessional academic staff who were employed across the university from 2016 to 2023.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis emailed staff on Wednesday 17 January to advise them that inaccuracies in how entitlements were calculated had resulted in underpayment of some staff wages over a period of seven years.

An extensive audit has identified potential underpayments of approximately $3.6 million affecting approximately 1,100 sessional staff across the university from 2016 to 2023. These primarily relate to unpaid or underpaid entitlements for higher rates of payment where sessional staff have PhD qualifications or are undertaking subject/unit coordination duties or lecturer-in-charge duties.

ACU is contacting all former and current staff who have been affected by this error in order to apologise to them, advise them of the amount owed to them and reassure them that the underpayment will be paid in full, with interest, as soon as possible.

The university has disclosed this matter to the Fair Work Ombudsman and has advised the National Tertiary Education Union and Community and Public Sector Union, as the unions party to the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement. It has also notified the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, the Australian Taxation Office and UniSuper.

Professor Skrbis apologised to staff, saying “You deserve to be paid correctly for your work and it is our responsibility to ensure you are being paid correctly. 

“On behalf of the university, I would like to sincerely and unequivocally apologise on behalf of the university and the Senate to every employee – past and present.

“ACU is committed to wage integrity, in accordance not only with our legal obligations but also with our dedication to upholding the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.  Our mission as a Catholic university commits us to treat every human person with dignity and respect.”

An ACU steering committee continues to thoroughly investigate and address the issue that led to this problem and ensure that additional measures are implemented to avoid future underpayments.

Further information can be found on the ACU website, including comprehensive FAQs and contact details.

For media enquiries please contactJen Rosenberg, 0407 845 634, jen.rosenberg@acu.edu.au

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