Deadline to claim almost $7m in aged care back pay

Time is running out for a group of nurses and other aged care workers to claim almost $7 million in back pay.

Some 1708 people working for Southern Cross Care Tasmania in Hobart, Launceston, Somerset and Low Head were underpaid from 2015 to 2022.

It was revealed on Friday the company signed an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman and all money must be paid out by the end of September.

The highest amount owed to one person was more than $220,000, while five others were entitled to more than $100,000.

The average amount owed was more than $4,000 and most of the money had already been paid out.

The not-for-profit self-reported the issue in 2021 after an internal review into payroll and human resources systems.

The Fair Work Ombudsman says the issues included unpaid overtime for part-time staff, incorrect payment for working double shifts and penalty rates.

Most workers impacted were part-time aged care workers, community care workers and nurses.

It also affected some full-time and casual employees, as well as cleaners laundry and maintenance staff.

The full amount owed totalled $6.87 million in wages, entitlements, superannuation and interest.

Southern Cross Care acting chair Judith Fishlock said all current staff had been paid in addition to as many former staff members as they could track down.

“On behalf of Southern Cross Care, I would like apologise to staff, both current and former for this underpayment,” Ms Fishlock said.

It has been a tumultuous few years for the company, which was previously criticised for providing inadequate care to residents at two facilities.

A royal commission heard the aged care provider received sanctions for not meeting national care standards, including around pain management.

Chief executive Robyn Boyd stepped down in August.

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