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Western Power finalising back payments

Western Power is finalising back payments to current and former employees who were unintentionally underpaid during their employment.

In 2019 we identified errors in the way we had applied the ‘better off overall’ test to the employment terms of individuals on Individual or Flexibility Agreements (IFAs) against the underpinning conditions of the Australian Services Union Enterprise Agreement (ASU EA).

Impacted employees and the ASU were advised of the errors and have been kept informed during the complex process. We also self-reported the underpayments to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

Since then, we’ve reviewed and amended processes where necessary to ensure employees are paid correctly, and engaged an independent third-party consultancy to assist with the back payment process.

We’ve entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the FWO to ensure our ongoing compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws.

As part of the Enforceable Undertaking, we will conduct three independent audits, place public notices and make a contrition payment to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Not all employees were under paid. Our review has identified just over 1,200 current and 1,000 former employees on an IFA have been impacted.

Initial back payments to current employees were made in April 2020 and final payments to relevant current employees, as well as first and final payments to former employees, are scheduled to be complete by 1 October 2020.

Each back payment comprises different elements and amounts depending on an individual’s circumstances and can involve rectifying pay point progression entitlements, superannuation, overtime entitlements, amendments to redundancy payments and associated interest.

We’ve held several briefings with the ASU since August 2019 and we appreciate their input throughout this process.

We express our regret and apologise to our employees impacted by the unintentional underpayment. We’re confident that we can meet the timelines and fulfil the actions required by the Enforceable Undertaking.

In further compliance of the Enforceable Undertaking, a dedicated telephone number (1800 450 066) and email address have been set up for current and former employees to make enquiries. Alternatively, anyone can contact the FWO via fairwork.gov.au or on 13 13 94, or the Australian Services Union WA Branch.