Australian Unity admits to underpaying aged care and home care staff by $4.25 million

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The mutual fund has apologised to employees after a payroll review found staff had been underpaid an estimated $4.25 million in wages and entitlements.

Australian Unity has told The Australian that a “significant proportion” of its 4,000 aged and home care employees had been impacted by the review which found examples of underpayment and overpayment of entitlements, including wages, shift loadings and allowances to current and past employees in the company’s Independent & Assisted Living business.

The amount – which represents 0.2% of $2.4 billion in wages paid out during the period that was reviewed – does not include superannuation or the interest on wages and entitlements, which are still being calculated.

A spokesperson for the company said the majority of the underpayments were under $100.

Australian Unity reported the underpayments to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and they are now being investigated by the regulator with employees concerned about their pay asked to contact the FWO for assistance.

In an email to staff, Australian Unity Group chief executive Rohan Mead said the company undertook the payroll review “in light of the many reports across Australian employers of errors in the administration of pay”.

A number of other aged care providers have been found to have underpaid staff in the past 12 months including BaptistCare NSW & ACT and Uniting.

Mr Mead says the company will now work to ensure the errors will not happen again.

“We will make good for everyone affected as quickly as possible, while at the same time putting investment and resources into making our payment processes efficient and effective for the future,” he said.