FAQs: Casual Pay Review

The following FAQs relate to the University’s Casual Pay Review.

1.1 What has happened?

  • The University initiated an independent review of our payment practices for casual staff in December 2020 because of concerns about underpayments in the higher education sector. At the time this internal review was established, the University had not received any reports of underpayments or claims by staff.
  • The review was extremely complex and diligent and has now been completed.

    The review assessed more than 1.2 million rows of timesheet data from more than 11,000 employees over the six years reviewed.

  • The review identified some issues with our current systems and processes which have led to underpayment of some casual staff members. These discrepancies relate to incorrect application of the Collective Agreement wage codes within timesheets between PHD rates, initial and repeat lectures/tutorials for our academic casual staff and minimum engagement periods for our professional casual staff. In addition, the University continues to review all payments made to casual staff for marking activities.
  • This review has been undertaken for a period of 6 years, currently to 30 June 2021, with those payments to be made this year. The additional period of 1 July to 31 December will be calculated following the end of that period.
  • We are contacting all impacted staff. Our highest priority throughout this process is to ensure our staff receive the payments they are entitled to.

1.2 What did the review find?

  • In total there have been underpayments of $3,540,000. This includes interest, superannuation and interest on superannuation
  • This figure excludes marking payments and payments between 1 July and 31 December 2021 which both will be paid in early 2022.
  • The review assessed more than1.2 million rows of timesheet data from more than 11,000 employees over the six years reviewed.

1.3 What casual payments have been impacted?

The main causes of these underpayments include:

  • Not enforcing the minimum engagement period for professional casual staff members
  • Payment for staff who have a PhD using the non-PhD rate rather than the PhD rate
  • Incorrect use of standard vs repeat lecture and tutorial rates
  • Incorrect use of “normal” preparation compared with “little” preparation for Clinical Nurse Education.
  • Payment for marking – both where the marking does or does not require a significant exercise of academic judgment and the appropriate amount of time allocated for marking – will be confirmed in 2022.

1.4 What has La Trobe University done to fix this?

We appointed professional services firm KPMG to independently advise the University based on its review of casual payments for the period 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2021. KPMG has further assisted the University to determine amounts owing, plus super and interest, to any impacted staff members.

The backdated payments, plus interest, for the period up to 30 June 2021 have been calculated for each impacted staff member and we are contacting all impacted current and former staff to advise them of their adjusted payment.

Some actions we are taking include simplifying confusing and complex processes and systems to make it easier for staff and their line managers to ensure accurate records; an improved induction and onboarding program for casual staff to ensure they are aware of the correct payment structures; and improved technology to remove the chances of human error. We continue to also review the time allocated for marking for each discipline to ensure fairness across disciplines so that staff are compensated for their time and effort appropriately.

Information for impacted staff

2.1 I’ve been advised I’m impacted – what does this mean for me?

Impacted current casual employees have been provided with information about any underpayment relevant to them. The information provided gives each item of underpayment along with interest and superannuation.

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