More than 2000 aged-care and community services workers employed by BaptistCare NSW & ACT in frontline roles were underpaid almost $1.3m over six years.
BaptistCare, which operates 17 residential aged-care facilities and receives annual revenue of $295m, will not be prosecuted, after entering into an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
It will make a $40,000 contrition payment to the commonwealth; set up a hotline for four months for employees to inquire about underpayments; apologise to workers and display a notice detailing the workplace law breaches.
BaptistCare NSW & ACT, which self-reported the underpayments, has back paid more than $1m and has been given six months to pay any amounts owed to former employees.
As shift workers covered by two enterprise agreements struck in 2011 and 2014, they were entitled to an extra week of annual leave each year. The underpayments were identified after the organisation discovered it had failed to provide all of the workers with the required additional annual leave, and the corresponding annual leave loading.
BaptistCare NSW & ACT admitted to underpaying 2146 workers a total of $1.279m, including superannuation, between February 2012 and July 2018. Individual underpayments ranged from less than $5 to more than $4000. A BaptistCare spokesman said the leave audit also found overpayments totalling $1.37m that workers were not required to repay.
“BaptistCare sincerely apologises for this unintentional oversight and remains committed to ensuring our people receive their correct entitlements at all times,” the spokesman said.
“Since identifying and investigating the miscalculation of leave loading for shift workers last year we have taken responsibility and done the right thing by our people to ensure no one is left out of pocket. We have also invested in our systems and processes to ensure ongoing compliance with Fair Work regulations.”
The underpayment revelation follows a Uniting Church aged-care provider admitting 9651 workers were underpaid more than $3.3m over six years.