Suncorp’s recent undertaking to pay a penalty of $520,000 for underpaying thousands of employees over eight years, culminating in a $32 million back pay bill, underscores the paramount importance of rigorous payroll compliance and auditing.
The Australian financial conglomerate, which miscalculated the basic entitlements of 15,800 employees from 2014 to 2022 due to misinterpretation of enterprise agreements, first detected this discrepancy during an internal review in 2019. The underpayments, including overtime and penalty rates, highlight the risks of non-compliance with employment contracts and regulatory frameworks.
This revelation comes in the wake of similar wage shortfalls acknowledged by BHP, Commonwealth Bank, and the NSW zoo operator, reaffirming the pressing need for vigilant payroll audits in the business sector.
Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, stressed the necessity for companies to prioritize compliance and uphold their obligations under enterprise agreements. The commitment to rectifying underpayments, demonstrated by Suncorp’s substantial back payment and the consequent ‘contrition payment’, should serve as a wake-up call for businesses.
Finance Sector Union national secretary Julia Angrisano said “it’s up to companies, not staff to make sure workers are being paid properly”.
Making sure you are staying on top of the latest in payroll compliance is also important to the safety of your business, and the WageSafe can assist you with that. WageSafe continuously analyses your payroll in real time to identify where underpayments are happening.