The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has joined the list of Australian universities caught up in massive underpayment scandals.
UTS will back-pay staff more than $4.4 million, plus superannuation and interest.
In one case, UTS said an individual staffer was underpaid $209,000.
After an internal review found casual employees had been underpaid since 2014, UTS has agreed to compensate 2,777 current and former casual professional employees and has entered into an enforceable undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The underpayments occurred because UTS failed to review and update its employment contracts and payroll systems to reflect an increase in the minimum engagement pay for casual professional employees.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said UTS demonstrated a strong commitment to rectifying all identified underpayments.
"Under the EU, UTS has committed to implement stringent measures across multiple years to rectify its non-compliance issues and ensure workers are paid correctly," Ms Parker said.
"The underpayments by the UTS are the latest warning to all universities, and employers generally, that if you don't prioritise workplace compliance and apply all entitlements, you risk underpaying staff on a large scale and facing enforcement action."
In a statement, UTS said they apologise unreservedly to the affected staff and had taken steps to make things right.
They said more than 80 per cent of the back-pay costs, over $4 million, have now been paid, with the remainder to be paid in coming months.
It comes as university sector workers across Australia are taking part in industrial action against wage theft and casualisation.
In early May thousands of workers from Monash University, Melbourne University, Deakin and other campuses walked off the job in protest of working conditions and pay.
National Tertiary Education Union President Dr Alison Barnes said underpayments at UTS were preventable.
"This $4.4 million case of wage theft should never have happened. But shocking as it is, at least seven Australian universities have committed more serious acts of theft against their own employees," she said.
"The best protection against wage theft is to end the rampant job insecurity that plagues our universities."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Universities across the nation have been required to pay back more than $80 million in wages owed to mostly casual workers, according to a wage theft report released by the NTEU in February.
According to the report, Melbourne University had the most underpayment incidents and has back-paid staff almost $32 million.
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