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Union says NAB underpayments ‘long-running’ amid investigation

 — 1 minute read

NAB has undertaken a remuneration review after it found a payroll issue that resulted in staff being underpaid, with the bank currently coughing up $1.3 million in backpay.

The Finance Sector Union on Monday reported workers at the big four bank are concerned they haven’t received their full pay in “years”. 

According to a note sent to staff last week from Susan Ferrier, NAB group executive, people and culture, the bank alerted its employees in December that it had identified an issue in payroll. 


Following the finding, Ms Ferrier had established an end-to-end payroll review, noting in her new update that the bank had found issues in its payroll and it was working to improve the area. 

Since December, NAB has rolled out a program that included the commissioning of independent adviser King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) with the support of PwC for an analysis of all aspects of the bank’s remuneration, including allowances and obligations to former and current staff. 

NAB also has established a program advisory board with representatives across the organisation to have oversight of the investigation and execution of the program.   

Ms Ferrier told staff the review is likely to take until the end of 2020 to fully investigate. 

The bank last week was in the process of finalising payments to around 1,500 current and former staff, with payments including superannuation and interest to compensate for the lateness totalling at $1.3 million. 

NAB has reported the issues to both the Finance Sector Union (FSU) and the Fair Work Ombudsman. 

The FSU has told its members working at NAB to take part in an “urgent audit” of their pay, and to pass on concerns to investigators to fully determine the extent of the underpayments. 

Further, the union has said that it has learned that staff were underpaid in a process going back for more than a decade. 

FSU Queensland executive secretary Wendy Streets said earlier this year, the union had asked NAB to investigate the issue of 40-hour contracts for certain groups of staff, where it believed the contracts should be 38 hours. 

“This has been a long-running issue with workers at NAB concerned they had not been properly paid for several years,” Ms Streets said. 

“The FSU previously sought a legal opinion which justified our concerns about underpayment problems at the bank and payment of contracted workers is now one of several significant issues which will be investigated by consultants PWC and KWM. 

“We have secured a commitment from NAB that no stone will be left unturned in this process, which is expected to take until at least the end of the year.”

NAB has also established a dedicated phoneline and email address for staff’s concerns around pay governance, saying they are welcome to log any other issues. 

“We take paying our colleagues their full entitlements extremely seriously and it is unacceptable and simply not good enough that we have not always delivered on that promise,” Ms Ferrier wrote in her note to staff.

“I regret these errors and apologise.”

Union says NAB underpayments ‘long-running’ amid investigation

NAB has undertaken a remuneration review after it found a payroll issue that resulted in staff being underpaid, with the bank currently coughing up $1.3 million in backpay.

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Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth. 

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio. 

You can contact her on [email protected].

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