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Red Cross Australia accidentally underpaid 800 staff

The Australian Red Cross apologises for accidentally underpaying around 800 staff over several years

An internal investigation into Red Cross Australia found the aid organisation has been accidentally underpaying hundreds of staff for several years.

The Charity is now required to repay wages worth an average of $1,800 per year to around 800 staff working in the humanitarian sector. The costly mistake was discovered during a remuneration review, the organisation said in a statement.

Red Cross CEO, Judy Slatyer, said: “I am very sorry mistakes have been made in paying staff and we are taking urgent steps to fix this and pay everyone their entitlements.”

The company claims it made incorrect assumption about how to allocate specific roles to awards, which led to staff being paid the incorrect amount.

The organisation approached the Fair Work Ombudsman after discovering the issue to brief them on the mistake and seek advice so that it can be rectified. Both current and former staff are affected by the issue, with total costs still being calculated.

Red Cross Australia is currently putting together a detailed analysis and reviewing old data with the help of auditors Ernst & Young. Slatyer said the group was still analysing the total impact of the mistake on past employees.

“We sincerely apologise for mistakes made and the uncertainty that this causes staff, who are at the heart of our humanitarian work,” Slatyer said. “We should not make mistakes like this and we are fixing them urgently.”

Red Cross Australia said they will ensure that current staff are paid correctly from mid-August and will be receiving back pay soon after. The organisation will then move to provide pay entitlements to previous employees by the end of the year.

“This will have no impact on our humanitarian work and services,” Slatyer said.

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