Seqwater admits underpayment
Queensland utility Seqwater has accepted an enforceable undertaking after it admitted to underpaying staff.
Seqwater has formally admitted to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) that it underpaid a number of its employees, following a review of its payroll systems and processes that determined it contravened the Fair Work Act 2009 in respect of certain provisions of the Seqwater Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019 and the Seqwater Enterprise Agreement 2019-2023.
Seqwater has now entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the FWO to ensure its ongoing compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws.
Seqwater has, as a result of the Enforceable Undertaking, committed to a range of activities that help ensure its future compliance, including independent audits and apologising to its employees.
Nearly 800 employees were underpaid by more than $7 million, but the final total is yet to be established.
To date, more than $7.75 million has been paid out, with individual payments ranging from less than $1 and and $380,000.
“I want to apologise to both our former and current employees who have been affected by this issue,” Seqwater chief Neil Brennan said in a statement.
“We have been working closely since this time with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), our people and their unions and we are nearing the end of repayments to both current and former employees.
“Our review has determined this issue was largely a result of complex and ambiguous enterprise agreements, and our payroll system.
“We are undertaking an extensive program of work to repay current and former staff and have implemented a comprehensive suite of controls to ensure compliance with obligations.
“Additional reviews are being undertaken following each pay run while we work towards implementing a new payroll system.”