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From the horse’s mouth: Animal charity fesses up to staff underpayment

17 October 2019 at 8:31 am
Maggie Coggan
RSPCA NSW has revealed the exact amount it underpaid staff 

Maggie Coggan | 17 October 2019 at 8:31 am


From the horse’s mouth: Animal charity fesses up to staff underpayment
17 October 2019 at 8:31 am

RSPCA NSW has revealed the exact amount it underpaid staff 

Animal welfare charity RSPCA NSW is blaming a payroll error for hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing wages. 

It follows reports on Tuesday that 1,600 past and present members of RSPCA NSW were underpaid around $1 million over the past decade. 

Releasing a public statement hours later, a spokesperson for the charity said the underpayment totalled $121,000 and affected 22 out of the 531 current staff members and 19 past members.  

The charity launched an internal investigation in 2017 after being made aware by a staff member that there were errors relating to benefits and allowances paid to certain categories of staff. 

It hired global consulting firm, Herbert Smith Freehills to rectify any errors. As of July this year, staff began to be paid back, and the charity reviewed all staff files to make sure pay rates and benefits were correct. 

We appreciate and value our hardworking, experienced and passionate staff and ensuring that they are fairly compensated remains a priority for us,” the statement said. 

Sky News reported that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission had warned the RSPCA that any charity that failed to manage its finances responsibly could have its charity status revoked. 

A spokesperson for the ACNC told Pro Bono News while the commission is unable to comment on the specific circumstances of individual charities, it takes all concerns seriously and would investigate if there was evidence of failure to comply. 

The charity watchdog said there were a range of powers it could exercise if a charity mismanaged funds.  

“These range from warnings and directions through to financial penalties and revocation of a charity’s registration. Loss of charity registration would have consequences for the tax concessions a charity has with the ATO,” they said.  

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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