Tutorial review outcome
Ensuring staff are paid correctly is a priority for Monash and all Australian universities and a significant matter across other sectors and industries. Today Monash staff were informed of the outcome of a voluntary review of sessional tutorial payments at Monash University between 1 January 2014 and 30 June 2020. While prompted by some inconsistencies raised in one faculty and rectified in 2019, this review was undertaken to ensure that any systemic issues affecting paying our sessional staff correctly were addressed.
The review, which is in the final stages of completion, found:
- timesheet submission errors representing approximately $0.9 million, or 0.3 per cent of all sessional payments made across the six-and-a-half year review period; and
- inconsistent descriptions of teaching activities representing approximately $7.7 million, or 2 per cent of all sessional payments made across the six-and-a-half year review period.
This was a very detailed review, which included:
- checking more than 1.8 million submitted timesheets; and
- a manual review of course handbook, unit and related documentation for more than 11,500 units (287,500 pages) taught across the University during the period under review.
The work of the review team was independently checked and verified by an external audit firm specialising in audit and accounting matters.
While these errors were unintentional and represent a very small percentage of the total payments made to sessional staff throughout this period, we acknowledge the inconvenience and concern this may have caused to those affected and sincerely apologise for these pay errors. The University is strongly committed to ensuring its staff are paid correctly in accordance with the University Enterprise Agreement and all relevant legislation.
We are writing to affected current and former staff (who worked at Monash within the last 12 months) on 20 October to confirm payments that are owed to these staff plus interest, and superannuation (if applicable). We hope to process these back payments before the end of October this year.
Affected staff who no longer work at Monash will be contacted, and payment will be processed at a later date once their details have been verified.
This review was not only about identifying and rectifying any past underpayments, but also ensuring that systems were changed and improved to prevent this occurring in future. We are in the process of building a new integrated scheduling and payment system for sessional staff, with initial implementation steps already in place.
Conducting this voluntary review has been a complex and vast task, and while the total figure of $8.6 million represents less than 1 per cent of the University’s total payroll during the six-and-a-half year period of the review, we hope that the actions we have taken provides our community with some confidence that we take our obligations to pay our staff properly very seriously.
We value the role our sessional staff play in the delivery of excellent education. Monash is working to increase sustainable forms of employment and is currently discussing a proposal with the NTEU which would provide greater security of employment for sessional staff who are also current PhD students. We have also endeavoured to maintain employment levels for our sessional workforce throughout the pandemic as best as demand has allowed.
How do staff know if they have been underpaid?
Affected staff will receive an email or a call from Monash University. We are writing to affected current staff, and past staff (who have ceased their engagement within the last 12 months) on 20 October to confirm the payments that are owed to these staff. We hope to process these back payments by the end of October this year. For past staff (more than 12 months since they ceased their engagement) we will commence an outreach process to verify their details first and then additional payments will be processed.
Why do I have to wait to be contacted?
The review is in the final quality assurance phase and as such we are unable to notify the affected individuals until 20 October.
Who can I talk to if I think I have been underpaid?
If you think you have been underpaid, the first steps are:
- check your payslip for the rate of pay, hours or type of work and the time period you have been paid for
- review your Employment Contract / Terms of Engagement
- review the relevant rates of pay in the Enterprise Agreement (see Schedule 1 for Professional and Academic rates of pay and Schedules 2 and 3 for Teaching Associate Sessional rates of pay
If you think that you have not been paid correctly, please contact Access HR on 990 20400.