The Commonwealth Bank will reimburse millions of dollars to about 8000 staff after underpaying wages and other entitlements due to errors in its systems.
The bank on Tuesday confirmed it had started reimbursing staff for the botched payments, which also included superannuation. The Finance Sector Union (FSU) estimated the bank could end up paying as much as $15 million to current and former staff.
CBA apologised for the errors, pledged to pay all amounts owing plus interest, and said that its first tranche of payments to workers would be worth $4.8 million. The bank did not confirm or deny the union’s cost estimate, and was unable to say how many tranches of payments there would be.
The payments cover a range of problems going back as far as 10 years within parts of the CBA and its fully owned BankWest.
In one case, the entire staff of BankWest missed out on a day’s pay. In another case, CBA failed to check the relevant industrial award, which led to underpayment of some staff.
The underpayment of wages also created problems in calculating leave, superannuation and redundancy entitlements of some staff.
“Bank workers at CBA have been underpaid for several years and once full restitution is made, plus interest and additional superannuation payments, the CBA and its BankWest subsidiary will be up for more than $10 million dollars in backpay with the possibility the total amount could top $15 million,” FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said.
CBA has been conducting an ongoing review of employee entitlements since 2017, looking at leave, pay and allowances, superannuation, and other obligations under enterprise agreements and legislation.
CBA’s executive general manager for group people services, Andrew Culleton, said the bank regretted the errors and apologised to staff.
It is understood individual payments vary widely between affected staff.
“Our people have worked, and continue to work hard to support our customers, and I want to assure them that we’re fixing our systems and processes so this doesn’t happen again,” Mr Culleton said.
“All impacted current and former employees with entitlements owing will receive backpay with interest and their leave balances adjusted where applicable.”
The underpayments were caused by errors in the banks’ systems, including those relating to its payroll and other human resources systems.
It comes as the FSU is seeking to pressure CBA over reports last week it was planning to shed 10,000 jobs over the coming years, which the bank described as “misleading and unnecessarily alarming”, without commenting directly on potential job cuts. Ms Angrisano criticised CBA’s response last week as “HR double-speak”.
Meanwhile, The Australian reported on Tuesday that ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott had in 2017 discussed with the board a reduction in the bank’s total staff numbers to between 25,000 and 30,000. ANZ, which at September had more than 37,000 in its continuing operations, said it did not have a target or program to cut jobs.
This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald. Read the original here.
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