Thousands to receive money after Christchurch City Council’s $ 5.7million pay slip
More than 3,600 former Christchurch City Council employees will receive payment after a $ 5.7 million salary miscalculation.
An error in the payment of leave means that people who worked on the board between April 1, 2011 and December 31, 2019 could be eligible for a cash payment.
Early estimates were that the amount owed to current and former staff during this period was $ 7.5 million, but completed calculations show it to be $ 5.7 million.
Most errors relate to employees whose hours of work and pay vary from week to week.
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These mistakes were made by many employers, in both the public and private sectors, after an amendment to the 2003 Vacation Act.
The Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Employment is demanding employers who miscalculate leave payments to remedy affected employees.
The council’s paid vacation remediation project sponsor Diane Brandish said 3,677 former employees are expected to receive a message on the matter in the coming weeks.
âIt’s still a really big number, but in the context of our total salaries for this period, it’s 0.4 percent,â she said.
Half of all payments to current and former employees would be less than $ 200. All current board employees who owed money from April 2011 to the end of 2019 received their payments in June 2021.
The board would attempt to contact former staff members using the latest contact information it had for them.
âWe also rely on word of mouth and advertising to help us let people know what’s going on,â Brandish said.
Anyone who thought they were eligible but had not received a registration number by the end of August could also use the online claims service to find out what, if any, was owed to them.
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âWe’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for people, although it’s not as easy as someone asking for money and we just paying,â Brandish said.
âWe have to verify that people are who they say they are. “
The board hired EY to help with data and technical aspects of the project, including calculating payment errors for more than 6,000 employees and reviewing payroll transactions over eight years.
The EY contract, project management and legal fees brought the total project cost to $ 1.8 million, although internal staff costs were not calculated.
Christchurch is not the only municipality having to pay backdated holiday pay.
In 2018, Auckland City Council said about 17,500 employees were underpaid by a total of $ 18 million and in 2020, Hamilton City Council said 2,000 underpaid employees would receive a share of $ 560,000.
Wellington City Council began investigating its compliance in early 2021 and was still working on those findings, a spokeswoman said.
âOnce the misinterpretations are resolved, we will begin to calculate corrective actions and initiate a process to contact past and current employees about their rights. “
Staff at a number of large companies have also been underpaid, but David Jenkins, managing director of the New Zealand Payroll Practitioners Association, said small and medium-sized businesses are being “pushed to the limit” as they go. were faced with the “nightmare” situation of reimbursing ill-calculated paid holidays. .
“The law is written like everyone else does eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, and that’s not the reality – as soon as you have a flexible employee, the law falls,” he said. declared.
âThere are several calculations. Software can’t do that.
The matter was under consideration, but that meant the law wouldn’t be updated until at least 2023, Jenkins said.
“These small business owners, they’re not payroll specialists, they have no idea what they’re supposed to do, but they’re told if they don’t (pay) they’ll end up in front of it. courts.”
Does Christchurch City Hall owe you money?
When you receive an email, text or letter from the municipality, follow the instructions to access the online complaints service.
If you don’t receive a message by the end of August, you can still access the council’s online complaints service.
Visit holidaypay.ccc.govt.nz to register your interest.
Employers can get more information from the following websites: