Sunwater has forked out more than $2.3m in backpay to 73 workers.
Sunwater has forked out more than $2.3m in backpay to 73 workers.

Staff underpaid $2.3m by govt-owned organisation

There are a few red faces at Sunwater, headed by new CEO Glenn Stockton.

It emerged on Friday that the state-owned water services provider has joined the growing ranks of companies dudding workers on their pay packets.

Sunwater has now forked out more than $2.3m to 73 staff who were underpaid between 2006 and 2020.

The errors, which ranged from less than $60 to more than $224,000 for some staff, were picked up by an in-house audit.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also required Sunwater to fork out more than $100,000 in a "contrition payment'' to the federal government and enter into an enforceable undertaking over the bungle.

The affected employees were mainly technical specialists and managers.

The underpayments were the result of Sunwater failing to ensure its employees on individual contracts received all entitlements payable under the enterprise agreements covering its workforce, having incorrectly assumed these employees were excluded from coverage.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that an enforceable undertaking was appropriate as Sunwater had co-operated with the investigation.

She said Sunwater engaged an expert auditing firm to conduct an independent assessment of the outcomes of its rectification program and to audit its compliance over the next two years.

"This matter serves as a warning to all organisations that they must prioritise workplace compliance. Any employers who need help meeting their lawful workplace obligations should contact us," Ms Parker said.