World Vision back-pays staff $6 million

World Vision staff
World Vision Australia has back-paid staff more than $6 million in unpaid wage entitlements. | Photo: Supplied

World Vision Australia has back-paid staff more than $6 million after an internal review uncovered compliance issues.

The Fair Work Commission (FWO) said the charity had signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) after self-reporting underpayments.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said an EU was appropriate as World Vision Australia had cooperated with the FWO’s investigation and demonstrated a strong commitment to rectifying underpayments and making changes to ensure future compliance.

Ms Booth said the charity, which has offices in Melbourne and Sydney, self-reported underpayments to the FWO in December 2019 after an internal review identified compliance issues.

She said these compliance issues resulted in the underpayment of employees’ lawful minimum entitlements including minimum wages, penalty rates and overtime, leave entitlements and allowances.

“In total, World Vision Australia underpaid over 3000 current and former employees more than $4.6 million in wages and entitlements.

“It has back-paid this amount, plus more than $1.4 million in superannuation and interest.”

Ms Booth said underpaid employees worked in every state and territory in Australia, except for the Northern Territory, with the majority based in Victoria and New South Wales.

“Individual back-payments ranged from less than $50 to $84,394, with the average back-payment about $1,900, including superannuation and interest.”

She said for more than 1000 former employees that were not able to located, World Vision Australia paid the amounts owed to the Fair Work Ombudsman as unclaimed monies.

Ms Booth said workers can search for unpaid wages on the FWO website to check if amounts were owed to them.

“Under the Enforceable Undertaking, World Vision Australia has committed to implementing stringent measures to ensure all its workers are paid correctly. These measures include implementing a new time and wages payroll system and commissioning, at its own cost, at least one annual audit to check it is meeting all employee entitlements,” Ms Booth said.