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Opinion: Why Higher Education providers and other sectors must adopt new technology to avoid underpayment scandals

2 min read

Around half of all Australian universities have found themselves implicated in underpayment scandals involving casualised staff of University and Higher Education tutorial staff.

Recent headlines around these underpayments and the workplace watchdog placing 11 universities on its wage theft priority list should come as no surprise to a sector that has resisted adopting modern technology in recent years to help combat this issue.

Many Lecturers and Tutors are paid by ‘piece’ of work done e.g. Mark 50 papers get paid per piece or for a semester or year of teaching. Multiple contracts are listed and banding or classification of the Lecturer/Tutor is completed at the beginning based on the attributes and experience of the person. However, what we are seeing time and time again is that there are multiple places for errors to be made with these manual, people-based processes.

Over the past 2 years several large companies have reported underpaying workers due to various factors due to public holidays, banding and loadings. These companies had to pay out millions of dollars to their staff but also had to chase up staff who had already left and who were entitled to payment.

This has caused administration nightmares to HR and Payroll departments as well as Executive and Management teams. These audits which identified existing problems within Australia’s top ASX companies were the catalyst for reviews in other industries and sectors such as the Higher Education Sector.

That is why we have developed a digital solution to enable collection, storage, tracking and monitoring of banding between the Provider and the Lecturer.

The solution enables contracts to be held in a central repository with permission levels and reporting giving great visibility to those responsible for ensuring payments are correctly administered.

Higher Education providers, among other sectors, must look at adopting modern technology like this to ensure they don’t find themselves in the headlines.

It’s time the Higher Education Sector worked smarter, not harder and use technology to improve efficiency and accuracy.

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Michael Maher founded OnePassport to help aged care and community care providers to attract, engage and retain workers through education and other strategies. It quickly became clear that more than half the workers worked for multiple employers concurrently. However, each employer treated them as if they only worked for them and required original police check documents, 8-10 mandatory training subjects each year, as well as needing to track other important details such as the right to work and how many hours per work allowed under the different visas.

OnePassport is a smartphone app that allows individuals to collect all of their career-related information; have the items that require it to be independently verified, and then be able to share that record with multiple third parties concurrently. This information typically includes qualifications, employment history, right to work information, and ongoing professional development requirements. Frequently, this list now includes immunisation information.

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