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IAG Settles Payroll Discrepancies with $37M Worker Reimbursement

IAG Settles Payroll Discrepancies with $37M Worker Reimbursement

In a significant move to rectify payroll irregularities, Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has compensated its workforce to the tune of over $37 million.
This restitution is in adherence to an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman, prompted by IAG's acknowledgment of past underpayments resulting from process deficiencies.

The comprehensive settlement package includes upwards of $21 million in wages, alongside additional sums for interest and superannuation. On this account, the entitlements cover the time span from 2013 to the previous year. Furthermore, about $16.2 million caters to long service leave under specific jurisdictional guidelines from 2013 to 2022.

Intertwined with the enforceable undertaking, and fostering a compliance-oriented culture, IAG will contribute $650,000 as a remorse payment to the Commonwealth Consolidated Revenue Fund. Notably, state and territory long service leave entitlements are delineated from the scope of the Fair Work Ombudsman, yet this sum entwines with IAG's wider redress blueprint.

Anna Booth, speaking on behalf of the Fair Work Ombudsman, highlighted that such an enforceable undertaking was befitting since IAG has launched a significant revamp of its systems, incorporating fixes for underpayments tracing back further than the six-year limitation threshold.

Two primary entities within IAG—Insurance Australia Group Services and Insurance Manufacturers of Australia—are a part of this enforceable agreement. Notably, the back-payments concerning federal laws average over $1000 per employee, while a handful received greater than $200,000, as reported by the ombudsman.

Geographically diverse, the underpaid group included IT professionals, support staff, front-line claim handlers, and call center employees as the common recipients of lesser payments. Likewise, roles such as admin workers, customer service providers, consultants and varying levels of management were also implicated.

Upon an internal analysis of its payroll procedure in December 2020, IAG self-declared non-compliance issues to the regulatory entity, a subsequent provision finding its way into the 2021 fiscal declarations. The insurer identified respective underpayments to both 6094 present staff and 14117 former employees across entitlements, including particular overtime allowances and contributions to superannuation.

The ombudsman conveyed that the underpayment spectrum spanned overtime, weekend, public holiday work, and varied allowances, such as minimum wage and leave rights. IAG, addressing the snags, attributed a primary cause to their earlier payroll system which hinged upon manual submissions for entitlement claims as opposed to automatic computations.

To steer clear of replicated issues, IAG has steered toward the adoption of enhanced controls and has devoted investments to a new time and attendance facility, promising automated entitlement computations, expected to be operational by September.

Commending IAG's dedication to improved board supervision—deemed amongst the most substantial commitments to any enforceable undertaking with the ombudsman—Anna Booth calls for a heightened focus on compliance at the corporate board level, urged by the onset of steeper penalties and criminal offense rules approaching the subsequent year.

Published:Monday, 8th Apr 2024
Source: Paige Estritori

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