Charles Sturt University (CSU) has admitted to underpaying thousands of current and former casual staff members almost $4.7 million over a seven year period.
An independent audit launched by the university into its wage compliance has revealed 2526 casual staff missed out on pay and superannuation since July 2015.
According to a statement from vice-chancellor Renee Leon, the underpayments were unintentional and the result of misinterpretations of enterprise agreements.
"The review found no deliberate underpayment of staff occurred," she said. "Instances of underpayment relate to misclassification of work and minimum engagement."
Impacted casual staff will be contacted by the university and receive back payments for the wages they missed out on.
Some people will receive thousands of dollars, however Ms Leon said 75 per cent of the payments owed are for $1000 or less.
In other news
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), who protect the rights of university employees, has hit out at the institution following the announcement.
Dr Emma Rush, a member of the NTEU's Wagga branch, said she was glad people would finally be getting paid what they deserve but stressed the significance of the error.
"It's a grave concern that this was able to happen ... seven years is a long time to wait to get properly paid," she said.
"The job of management is to pay people properly and that hasn't been happening. We look forward to seeing a better performance on that matter in future."
CSU said it is currently implementing improvements to systems and policies to reduce the risk of similar future incidents.
The NTEU has linked the underpayments with an over-reliance on casual staff across tertiary education.
"The view of NTEU members is that the ultimate fix for these issues is more job security in higher education which is now very heavily casualised," Dr Rush said.
"Very few casual workers will query their pay because the worry is they won't get their next contract."
The university said the review also identified instances of overpayments, but would not be seeking that money back.
Widespread wage compliance issues have been identified across Australia's tertiary education sector, with Melbourne University recently committing to dramatically reducing its reliance on casual staff following a similar scandal.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.