(21/11/2019) City of Fremantle advises of error affecting staff payments
The City of Fremantle has advised that at the time of the recent negotiations on the City of Fremantle Workforce Agreement (Inside EBA), the City discovered a number of employees had not been paid in line with shift penalty clauses of the EBA.
The error was a misinterpretation of the shift penalty clause in the EBA and the additional leave entitlements clause.
This affected 143 casual employees and shift workers, mostly employed at the Fremantle Leisure Centre, Fremantle Arts Centre, Library and Visitor Centre, as well as parking and community safety officers.
City of Fremantle Acting Chief Executive Officer Paul Garbett said the City was very sorry that this had happened and apologised to all affected staff.
Mr Garbett said while no staff were paid less than their award wage, as the City’s EBA rates are above the relevant award, the City had incorrectly calculated penalties and additional leave entitlements which meant these benefits were not fully passed on at the time they were accrued.
Mr Garbett said all affected employees have been back-paid, or are in the process of receiving the additional leave entitlements they accrued.
“We pride ourselves on ensuring our staff are well looked after and we have always worked with unions and our staff to provide the best working conditions possible,” Mr Garbett said.
“As soon as we became aware of this issue, the City’s focus has been on making sure we resolve it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
The error was the result of an unintentional incorrect interpretation within the EBA of certain clauses applying to casual and shift employees dating back several years in some instances. The EBA is renegotiated every three years and the error had not been identified by the City, its employees or union delegates previously.
The total amount of the back payments made, or in the process of being made, to staff is $564,949, with the average payment being around $3950.
“The City has also identified that up to 27 employees have been overpaid. These employees are not required to repay the overpayment.
“To ensure this situation does not occur again the City now has an agreed interpretation of the EBA which has been approved by our Industrial Relations consultant,” Mr Garbett said.
The City has also implemented rigorous payroll checking processes and is reviewing its auditing processes.
Any former employee who feels they may be affected can contact the City on 1300 MYFREO (1300 693 736).