MEAA claims ABC underpaid redundancy entitlements
The ABC may have underpaid redundancy entitlements, with the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) taking the broadcasters to the Fair Work Commission.
The MEAA has lodged a notice of dispute in the Commission over voluntary redundancy payments.
Over 200 people lost their jobs at the ABC at the end of June, with many offered voluntary redundancy in a bid to meet the public broadcaster’s $41 million annual shortfall.
The ABC’s enterprise agreement says that workers who are made redundant are entitled to the equivalent of four weeks’ salary for each of their first five years of completed service, then three weeks’ salary for each subsequent year – capped at of 24 years.
The MEAA says 81 redundancies were from the news division and 55 were voluntary, and believes the several people were underpaid.
“We are lodging a dispute with the ABC at the Fair Work Commission as we believe that a number of members were not paid their redundancy entitlements in full,” wrote the MEAA on Twitter.
We are lodging a dispute with the ABC at the Fair Work Commission as we believe that a number of members were not paid their redundancy entitlements in full.#MEAAMediahttps://t.co/xcgC9zRjDf
— MEAA (@withMEAA) September 1, 2020
The Age reports that over a dozen ABC employees claim the dispute concerns an attempt by management to limit severance payouts for staff who have previously worked part-time.
But the ABC, which calculated the payments on a pro rata basis, defended its calculations in a statement.
“The ABC’s method of calculating severance pay for employees who have periods of part-time service has been in place for over two decades, and is consistent with the SBS and public service entities,” said the statement.
“Under the relevant enterprise agreement, the maximum severance entitlement an employee can receive is 77 weeks’ pay for 24 years of service.”
“The ABC recently (in late 2019) renegotiated its enterprise agreement with employees, the CPSU [Community and Public Sector Union] and the MEAA, with a key focus on the redundancy clause, and no issue was raised during that negotiation about the ABC’s methodology.
“The ABC has applied this methodology in previous redundancy rounds and is confident that it is both fair and legally sound. The ABC does not intend to depart from the above position.”
It’s not clear how many ABC employees may have received reduced payments as part of their severance payments.
Earlier this year, the ABC back-paid over $12 million to over 1,900 current and former casual workers and entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.