Uni Sydney staff owed $12.75m in unpaid wages

Management says it’s all due to people making mistakes

Vice Chancellor Mark Scott has announced 12,894, almost entirely professional staff, most casually employed, were underpaid $12.75m between January 20214 and last December.

Most of it was due to “incorrect gathering and reporting of information rather than automated system errors.”

“I apologise that these errors have occurred and want to assure you that immediate and swift action is being taken to amend our processes and repay monies owed, including superannuation and interest,” the VC said.

Underpayments mainly occurred when staff were not paid the three-hour minimum for work, for overtime on weekends and for work outside span of hours, all required under the university’s enterprise agreement.

Over half the people involved are owed under $500, 73 per cent less than $1000 but 5 per cent were short-changed $5000 plus.

Former VC Michael Spence announced underpayment was being investigated last August (CMM 14 2020) and his successor Stephen Garton reported what is now confirmed in April (CMM April 30).

This seems a stuff-up of an admin variety, perhaps along the lines of superannuation underpayments which multiple universities have made. If so, it is different to cases where staff, generally academic casuals, are paid a lower rate than enterprise agreements specify for all their work across a contract.