Payroll automation error behind NAB's AU$55m wage repayment

A payroll review has found the bank miscalculated staff benefits and as a result has paid AU$55 million to the 3,200 current and former employees impacted.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced having to repay current and former staff for wages it miscalculated.

The bank in December 2019 announced a payroll review. At the time, it said the review was part of its "obligation and commitment to paying our colleagues correctly". The review examined NAB's internal pay processes and its compliance with pay-related obligations under Australian employment laws.

"In the last 17 months we have investigated 148 matters, of which we have closed 61," NAB said in a statement on Wednesday. "22 of these issues has resulted in an underpayment."

To date, NAB has paid AU$55 million to former and current colleagues.

NAB said it has identified 3,200 current and former colleagues impacted.

"We pressed upon NAB to investigate the long-ongoing issue of 40-hour contracts for Group 3 and 4 staff. We sought legal advice that justifies our stance that these contracts should be 38-hours," the Finance Sector Union (FSU) explained. "As a result of our unrelenting collective pressure, NAB has now opened an investigation into its entire payroll system."

In addition to underpayment, the FSU said NAB may have miscalculated entitlements including overtime, annual leave, leave loading, and superannuation. 

"Recent media reporting has mentioned the FSU instigating legal action against NAB claiming that all full time colleagues, current and former are eligible for a remediation payment due to 40 hour work schedule in SAP," NAB said.

"The issue raised by the FSU does not impact full time colleagues."

The red and black bank said the issue of hours worked only impacted some current and former colleagues in group 3 and above that worked part time for all or part of the remediation period, where their annualised salary was calculated using a part time rate based on either their part time employment contract specifying the number of hours they are required to work each week, or their part time TEC was calculated by fractioning those specified hours over 40 hours per week instead of 38 hours.

"NAB determines the salary of our full time colleagues based on modelling against the Banking, Finance and Insurance Award (where relevant) and market analysis for equivalent full time roles," it said.

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


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