Council to back pay workers

Wellington Shire Council will pay back a total of about $30,000 to some of its outdoor workers.

Wellington Shire Council will pay back a total of about $30,000 to some of its outdoor workers, after it picked up an error in its payment system.
A spokesperson said council realised it had “unintentionally miscalculated an allowance for some of its outdoor workers”.
“As the first step, council wrote to each affected person advising of the miscalculation, and that it had been corrected for all future payments,” the spokesperson said.
“We then began the significant task of calculating the subsequent back payments for all affected staff.”
The Australian Services Union had claimed Wellington Shire initially refused back pay for up to six years, alleging council said it was only required to back pay for 18 months.
But a council spokesperson said the claim by the union that council was trying to avoid its legal obligation to repay workers for up to six years was simply “untrue”.
“We were the ones who identified the issue in the first place; we made sure everyone was back paid and our legal requirements were met,” the spokesperson said.
The ASU said the underpayment of staff was identified in 2020 by a council contractor, and was due to Wellington Shire’s error in paying eligible staff the industry allowance separately, rather than as an increase to their hourly rate.
It said this had the effect of the industry allowance not being applied in calculating overtime or leave loading.
Union secretary Lisa Darmanin said employers had a moral obligation to pay workers properly for the work they undertook, and when there was an error, to correct it with full back pay.
“Wellington Shire underpaid some workers for up to a decade,” she claimed.
“Unfortunately, they were only legally entitled to back pay for the last six years.”
The back pay will relate to errors which occurred between 2009 and 2020.
It is unclear how many workers were affected.