Zoo Workers Owed Millions: Payroll Audit Reveals Back Pay Issue

Payroll Audit - Back pay Taronga
Casual workers at two major zoos in New South Wales, Australia, are owed millions of dollars in back pay due to a payroll system error. Taronga Zoo discovered underpayments amounting to $2.6 million for 902 current and former casual staff members across its Sydney and Dubbo zoos. The issue arose from a new payroll system implemented in February 2021, and an investigation is also being conducted into the previous system used over the past six years. Taronga’s CEO, Cameron Kerr, expressed apologies to the affected staff and announced that back pay, including interest and superannuation, would commence in July.

The Australian Workers Union (AWU), which had demanded an audit following a strike in Dubbo, claimed credit for identifying the error. The union’s NSW branch secretary, Tony Callinan, stated that the concerns raised by members had led to improvements in the payroll system. Taronga Zoo responded by asserting that the issues raised by the union were unrelated to the underpayment error and were configuration problems with the new system. The resolution of this issue highlights the importance of accurate payroll systems and the significance of workers’ rights in the gig economy.

Making sure you are staying on top of the latest in payroll compliance is also important to the safety of your business. WageSafe automates real-time payroll auditing to avoid costly retrospective remediation.

Jun 13, 2023

Share this entry


  • In a recent development, Baker’s Delight, a well-known bakery franchise, is facing legal action initiated by the workplace watchdog for its alleged failure to prevent a franchisee from underpaying workers. The Fair Work Ombudsman has filed a case in the Federal Court, accusing Baker’s Delight of being aware of the franchisee’s underpayments but failing to […]

  • The Financial Review highlights the key issue of underpayments in a large retailer. Chemist Warehouse is facing a $10 million backpay bill after the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) took legal action against four of its South Australian franchisees for allegedly underpaying nine staff while working higher duties. The union identifies that the […]