Australia's CBA to pay $17 million to underpaid workers

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(Reuters) – Commonwealth Bank of Australia (AX:) on Friday said it would pay an additional A$25 million ($16.97 million) to current and former employees who were found in a review to have been underpaid, and its chief executive apologized for “past errors.”

“To date, CBA has notified or repaid approximately 41,000 current and former employees with A$13.2 million of back-pay plus interest. CBA will commence payments of a further A$14.9 million plus interest next week,” CBA said in an exchange filing.

The remaining money will be paid at the completion of the review this fiscal year.

“It is unacceptable that some of our people were not paid the correct entitlements. This should never have happened

and I apologize to anyone impacted by these past errors,” said Chief Executive Officer Matt Comyn in a statement.

The admission further soured the bank’s standing with Australians after the powerful Royal Commission, which submitted its report earlier this year, exposed wrongdoings in the finance sector.

The CBA becomes the latest company to admit it underpaid workers, after the country’s biggest grocery chain Woolworths Group (AX:) in October said it underpaid thousands of supermarket workers for years and would need to repay as much as A$300 million.

Other cases of staff underpayment have included retail conglomerate Wesfarmers (AX:), Super Retail Group (AX:), and jeweller Michael Hill International Ltd (AX:) among others.

In the review that started in early 2018, CBA examined pay and a broad range of entitlements for current and former full-time, part-time and casual employees.

In February, CBA self-reported the review to the Fair Work Ombudsman, who is conducting an investigation into the matter.

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