CHARLES Sturt University has emphasised there was no deliberate underpayment after a review found more than 2500 of its staff had not been paid correctly in the past seven years.
The university also says the review has identified instances of overpayments, which CSU will not be seeking to recover "from any past or present employee".
The NTEU, which represents university employees, said this week that it "welcomed the news that current and former Charles Sturt University casual staff will receive millions of dollars to remediate widespread underpayments".
The union said it had called for the independent audit in 2020, but CSU said it initiated the external review into its wage compliance "in response to widespread reports of underpayment in the higher education sector".
These payments have been budgeted for and will not impact current University initiatives and operations.- Charles Sturt University said in a statement
"The University initiated this review independently to ensure accurate financial management; not as a requirement from TEQSA [the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency], the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Australian Tax Office," CSU said in a statement.
"This review is now complete and has detected underpayment of staff in the last seven years.
"A total of $4.69 million, including underpaid wages and oncosts like superannuation, will be paid.
"These payments have been budgeted for and will not impact current University initiatives and operations."
CSU said the review found no deliberate underpayment of staff occurred.
"Instances of underpayment relate to misclassification of work and minimum engagement [minimum hours professional staff are entitled to be employed depending on their circumstances]," the university's statement said.
"Charles Sturt is contacting impacted past and present staff to complete back payments, 75 per cent of which are for $1000 or less.
"The review also identified instances of overpayments. Charles Sturt will not be seeking recovery of these from any past or present employee.
CSU says on its website that underpayments were identified for 2526 current and former staff during the review period from July 1, 2015 to June 9, 2022.
NTEU CSU Branch president Dr Helen Masterman-Smith described the outcome of the review as "a life-changing win for casual employees at CSU and elsewhere".
"Underpayment of staff is endemic in this heavily casualised sector because casual staff often fear recriminations if they make individual complaints," Dr Masterman-Smith said.
"Government reform and strong enterprise bargaining outcomes are needed to stamp out these practices."
The NTEU said its members "remain concerned that several types of underpayment may not have been detected by the audit".
"This whole debacle raises serious questions about the competence of CSU's leadership and the necessity of recent major job cuts at CSU," Dr Masterman-Smith said.
NTEU NSW division secretary Dr Damien Cahill said it was a "great win for current and former casual staff at CSU".
"Casualisation is out of control across the university sector. It is used as a cost-minimisation and risk mitigation strategy by university management," he said.
"But the recent victory at Western Sydney Uni, where the union has won a 25 per cent reduction in casual labour and its conversion into permanent jobs, shows what can be achieved.
"We will be seeking to achieve similar wins at every university."
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