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‘We apologise unreservedly’: World Vision admits underpaying nearly 250 employees

Fiona Willan

March 11, 2020

The Age

One of Australia’s most high profile charities has admitted to underpaying nearly 250 staff members.

World Vision Australia reported itself to the Fair Work Ombudsman in December after discovering an error in its payroll resulting in about 200 casuals and 45 permanent employees being underpaid.

The charity’s acting chief executive Graham Strong told Nine News, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age $8.9 million dollars had been set aside to pay staff back who were shortchanged after the incorrect award rates were applied to their roles.

“We apologise unreservedly for the error and have moved swiftly and decisively to rectify it,” he said.

A Fair Work spokesperson said the Ombudsman “is aware of alleged underpayments and is conducting inquiries in relation to World Vision”.

“Any workers with concerns about their pay should contact us directly.”

The charity is now working with the Fair Work Ombudsman to determine how much it owes.

It joins a list of high-profile organisations caught up in underpayment controversies.

In 2018, it was revealed the Australian Red Cross underpaid staff around $20 million.

Woolworths is believed to be the largest case of wage underpayments – admitting it failed to pay around 5700 workers up to $300 million.

Last year, celebrity chef George Calombaris’ company MAdE Establishment paid back $7.8 million in wages and superannuation to more than 500 employees and former staff members.

Coles and the ABC have also admitted to underpaying employees.

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