NAB stands firm in underpayment scuffle

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    National Australia Bank has hit back at the Finance Sector Union’s claims that full-time workers are eligible for remediation due to underpayment.

    Responding to the FSU’s announcement that it would soon commence legal proceedings in Federal Court, NAB said the issue raised by the union did not affect full-time workers, according to a report by The Australian.

    NAB said the issue of hours worked only impacted some current and former employees at the level of group 3 and above, who had worked part-time during the remediation period dating back to 2012, where their annual salary was calculated using a part-time rate, The Australian reported.

    NAB said it determined the salary of its full-time employees based on market analysis for equivalent full-time roles and based on modelling against the banking, finance and insurance award where relevant.

    “Any periods during which a colleague has worked in a full-time capacity are unaffected by this issue as hours of work are not used to formulate their salary,” NAB said.

    The FSU rejects that interpretation. The union also said it urged the bank in February to investigate the “long-ongoing issue of 40-hour contracts for group 3 and 4 staff.”

    The FSU told The Australian that NAB has contracted senior staff to work 38 hours a week – but those employees were then rostered for 40 hours, and actually worked longer than that.

    “Most of our members are working 50-60 hours a week, not 40,” said Wendy Streets, FSU state secretary for Queensland.

    Read more: NAB headed to Federal Court over underpayment stoush

    A senior lawyer told The Australian that, while the specific nature of the FSU’s claim was unclear, the scale of the argument and the number of people with a direct interest in the outcome was unprecedented. Streets told the publication that a successful outcome in court could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.

    NAB said Wednesday that since it had announced its payroll review in 2019, it had investigated 148 matters and closed 61. Of those, 22 had resulted in underpayment. The bank has paid $55 million in compensation to current and former employees, The Australian reported.

    “The issues identified in the payroll review are not acceptable and we apologise to all current and former colleagues impacted,” NAB said in a statement. “We are moving as quickly as possible to fix these issues and we want to make sure we get this right.”

    Ryan SmithRyan Smith is currently an executive editor at Key Media, where he started as a journalist in 2013. He has since he worked his way up to managing editor and is now an executive editor. He edits content for several B2B publications across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He also writes feature content for trade publications for the insurance and mortgage industries.
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