The National Library of Australia, based in Canberra, has self-reported underpaying casual workers for the past two decades. The National Library is a public Commonwealth entity and has entered an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The payroll mistake was identified during an internal audit the Library discovered they had not been paying casual library assistants penalty rates on weekends and public holidays, since 2000. In total 106, current and former employees had been underpaid, $245, 359 in wages and superannuation. Underpayments for individual employees ranged from $12 to nearly $20,000.

Since identifying the mistake, more than half of employees effected have been reimbursed, with additional interest on all back payments. The Library has cooperated with the Fair Work investigation and demonstrated a strong commitment to rectifying underpayments.

The enforceable undertaking requires the National Library to accept stringent new measures to comply with employment law at its own cost including external auditing, displaying a notice of breaches, and changing systems and processes to ensure future compliance. The National Library was not required to make a contrition payment due to its cooperation and swift back-payments.

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Written by Danielle McNamee

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