NSWNA wins $350,000 backpay

The NSWNA has recovered $348,600 in unpaid wages and allowances for 56 members in the past financial year.

The figure represents an average reimbursement of $6,225 per claimant.

In one case, 20 members received a staggering $197,000, thanks to the expertise and persistence of the NSWNA staff.

Due to confidentiality agreements written into deeds of release during settlement negotiations, and the risk of jeopardising ongoing negotiations, The Lamp cannot identify individual cases.

Many of the award breaches involved complicated miscalculations that employers were reluctant to address until the union became involved. Other breaches involved payment of overtime shifts at ordinary rates of pay.

One notable case involved a nursing home that had multiple time-card payroll records. One time-card was used for ordinary rostered shifts and the other for any additional shifts (usually involving overtime). The employer had been paying hours on this card at casual rates, thus avoiding the overtime provisions of the award.

In another case a member told The Lamp their management had simply ignored an underpayment problem for years.

‘Once we formally alerted management they began paying the allowance but still would not look at the back pay situation,’ the member told The Lamp.

‘The payroll office told us it was too big, too hard, and they didn’t have the time to calculate the entitlement.

‘We’d been given the run-around since 2005 so last October we rang the union.’

By March the employer still had not resolved the issue so the NSWNA’s industrial team threatened to file a dispute with the IRC. The HR director then released the roster and payroll records. By April all members had been fully reimbursed.

As another delighted member told The Lamp, ‘I admit I often wondered why I paid my union dues – now I know why.’

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes advised members concerned about underpayment to contact the association’s Information Department for clarification.

‘If your claim is incorrect we recommend you first write to your employer advising them of the problem and requesting it be rectified within a specific period of time. If they fail to address the problem, then contact the association so we can intervene on your behalf and secure your correct entitlements.’