University self-reports payroll errors in casual staff entitlements

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday
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A statement from James Cook University (JCU) today – revealing that it “has identified evidence of historical compliance concerns in relation to the payment of casual employee entitlements due to issues with its payroll systems and processes” – sees the tertiary institution added to the list of many Australian universities facing payroll issues.

JCU has self-reported the matter to the Fair Work Ombudsman and a project team has been formed to conduct a comprehensive review of payroll records. JCU is now undertaking a detailed review to determine the full extent of the matter.

This detailed review follows an initial assessment of JCU’s payroll systems and processes in relation to casual employee entitlements to ensure systems were compliant with entitlements set out in the University’s Enterprise Agreement. 

Initial results indicate potential non-compliance for minimum hours worked and other entitlements, meaning some employees may not have been paid correctly. 

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JCU says it is committed to resolving issues

Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs says the review has commenced and that the university is committed to addressing – and resolving – the issues.  

“Our focus is firmly on ensuring our casual staff members are being paid correctly and the rectification of any past issues,” Professor Biggs says.

“As the review is in its initial stages, further details including the number of staff members affected are still to be determined.

“I can confirm that unfortunately, some historical issues have been identified and we deeply regret these. I’d like to assure impacted staff that any required remediation is considered a matter of urgency by the University.

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“A newly formed project team will conduct a thorough review of our payroll records. We have also informed the Fair Work Ombudsman of our decision to undertake a comprehensive review and will be in regular communication with them.

“We will also take this opportunity to review our processes and systems more broadly to ensure that they are more robust against such issues going forward.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]