UTS underpaid people for years and owed them millions

The university did not act on its own enterprise agreements and owed 2777 staff $4.4m

The Fair Work Ombudsman reports the university failed to pay casual professional staff for the minimum three hours per engagement, as EAs require. The three-hours requirement was introduced in the 2014 agreement.

The problem occurred because UTS did not update systems.

With interest and superannuation the university owed staff $7.7m of which $4.5m is now paid with the FWO requiring the balance be provided by July 31.

The average underpayment was $1509 – although somebody was owed $209 000.

The Ombudsman reports UTS reported its failure, cooperated with the resulting investigation and “demonstrated a strong commitment” to paying people and ensuring no repeat. The FWO has imposed an “enforceable undertaking” to ensure it happens. This includes a university-wide pay review, “with FWO oversight.”

“The underpayments by the UTS are the latest warning to all universities, and employers generally, that if you don’t prioritise workplace compliance and apply all entitlements, you risk underpaying staff on a large scale and facing enforcement action,” Ombudsman Sandra Parker states.

Charles Sturt U and Uni Newcastle are under enforceable undertakings and the FWO has two court cases against Uni Melbourne.