Education Department to back pay millions

Education Department to back pay millions

THE Department of Education will back pay millions of dollars to underpaid casual staff after an error from more than 30 years ago was identified.

Underpaid casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants will receive an estimated total of $4.9 million.

The underpayment of casual allied professionals was made known after a human resources officer identified an hourly pay rate error dating back to 1983.

Standard working hours for these employees were reduced from 40 hours to 38 hours per week.

The department’s system was not updated to match this change and resulted in underpayment of 24 minutes for each full day worked or a proportion of 24 minutes for each part day worked.

Approximately 27,000 casual staff, 7100 being current casual staff, will receive payment including salary, casual loading, and superannuation.

Education minister Sue Ellery. Photo: The West Australian

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said the underpayment was highly regrettable.

“While the department is only required by law to back pay for the past six years, I have instructed that the back payment must extend to 21 years because that is the right thing to do for these staff who have worked in good faith,” she said.

“I want to reassure all former and current casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants that the issue is being addressed immediately so they are paid what they are entitled to.”

Forty-nine per cent of these employees have been underpaid by less than $100 and 91 per cent by less than $500.

The department will write to all affected staff during December to advise them of the process for payment of back pay.

Current casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants will receive payment on December 24 while former casual cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants will be paid on February 20 next year, once personal and bank account information is confirmed.

All fixed term and permanent cleaners, gardeners and home economics assistants have been paid correctly during this period.

If current or previous casual workers feel they might have been affected and want more information, please contact contactcentrepp@education.wa.edu.au or phone 9264 8383.

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