Glass understands that up to eight of the Guild’s Student Executives have not clocked any hours worked since August, despite each being paid fortnightly wages between $600 and $1600—money which is paid from QUT students’ SSAF fees.
Glass estimates that the eight Guild Execs have been paid almost $25,000 collectively over the past two months without clocking any hours. This is a conservative figure, which does not take into account that many Execs stopped clocking their hours much earlier in the year but continued to be paid.
Guild Execs, including Glass Editors, are paid for a set amount of hours each fortnight and required to log hours in software called TANDA. It is generally understood that hours worked can fluctuate to some degree week-to-week, but not to the extent where Execs can be paid for months without clocking any hours.
Several of the Executives in question have already been elected unopposed on the Reform ticket in the Guild election happening this week.
Jarrod Ward, a Director of the Board who has been appointed Chair of both the Audit and Risk Committee and Remuneration Committee confirmed to Glass the reports of possible misconduct.
“The Guild is taking seriously recent internal reports suggesting that certain elected student representatives may not be fulfilling their duties in exchange for their compensation. As a not-for-profit organisation, our commitment to responsible financial management of student funds is unwavering.
“We’ve initiated a thorough review and requested all relevant executives to promptly reconfirm their continued dedication to advancing our mission of improving the lives of students.”
Former Guild President Oscar Davison said he believes recording hours as an Exec is “important” for many reasons.
“Students have the right to know how their SSAF is being spent, and if that’s on wages, students should know how much work is going on. At the end of the day, you have been elected to represent students and almost everything you do is funded by student’s SSAF.
“…It doesn’t make sense for executives to fail to record their hours when this kind of record keeping is such a good marketing point to show students how much you actually care about making their university experience better.
“In a time where engagement with student unionism is waning, it is critical that SRC members can show students, not only the outcomes of their work, but the amount of work that has gone into something. One of the best ways to get someone to care about something, is by showing how much you care about it.”
Davison resigned as a Director earlier this year after graduating and no longer represents the Guild in any capacity.
Current Guild Exec and Welfare Officer, John Longwill, said he welcomed the action by the Board.
“While it is concerning that executives have not been logging hours correctly, I think that our internal Audit and Risk sub-committee has taken (and continues to take) reasonable steps to assess the work-product of these SRC members to ensure student money isn’t being misspent.
“I have no knowledge of similar actions being taken in the past with relation to poor record keeping by executives, so I welcome the change.
“I think that this is a great step forward for the Guild as a responsible charity.”
This comes after the SRC voted down a motion from Glass to include hours worked and hours paid in monthly reports to the Student Representative Council.
Guild Execs have had a troubled relationship with accountability mechanisms all year, with many failing to engage regularly with Glass Guild Catch Ups, a monthly accountability series we brought back this year, where we invited Execs to report to students about their work.
Since the introduction of Executive Reports to Council, only three Executives have submitted reports about their work despite this now being a requirement under the Guild Regulations.
In July, Execs voted to condemn the Guild Board at a Student Representative Council meeting for “failing to remunerate [them] properly” during a cost-of-living crisis. An extract from our reporting of this meeting is below.
A poll on Glass socials indicated that 90% of 62 respondents, at the time of publication, believed Guild Execs should have to record their hours in timesheets.
Students on our Instagram story yesterday commented:
“Makes sense for student reps to disclose if they’re putting in the time you think they are.”
“As long as they get the job done who cares – they shouldn’t get paid less because they can work faster.”
“Yes [they should track their hours], because then they’d get fair and accurate pay. This should already be a thing imo.”
Why were Executives able to get away without clocking their hours for so long? Monitoring and tracking hours clocked has traditionally been the job of the Guild Secretary, but in this instance the Board has stepped in as that has seemingly not been done.
It’s unclear at this stage whether any Execs were not working at all during this period, or if they were working but neglecting or refusing to clock their hours.
Following the allegations, a number of Executives have ignored the Board’s communication or insisted they didn’t need to log their hours for legal reasons, arguing that they are volunteers rather than employees.
Execs were given until Monday evening to explain themselves to the Board or risk not being paid in the next pay cycle.
Regardless of what their legal obligations are, shouldn’t our Execs’ focus be on what the right thing to do by students is? Whatever the answer is, it’s not this.
At the time of publication, neither President Aamna Asif, Secretary Deepika Sharma nor Postgrad Officer and President-elect Aaron Bui have responded to our request for comment.
Extract from July Council Meeting: The Guild Blows Up
Madison Shepherd (Clubs & Societies Officer) was emotional when she was recounting the effort she said the Executives have gone through to attempt to increase their paid hours, and she repeatedly made comments about the Board telling the SRC that they “cannot see any evidence of [their] hard work” and that they were refusing to increase their hours, even after the SRC submitted their timesheets as proof of their work.
“After sharing our timesheets with the Board, they determined that we just need to work more, log our hours, and so that in the future next years’ SRC can be paid what we are owed. To be clear, they flat out refused to pay us for the work we have done at the rate we were promised when we ran for election.”
Shepherd added, “It’s a shame to say that the Guild Board of Directors, especially the Remuneration Committee, doesn’t actually care about the rights of the students in their organisation. How can we preach fair work for fair pay when the Board doesn’t put the money where their mouth is?”
It’s important to note that the reduction of officer bearer’s hours was a decision made by the 2022 SSAF Committee (which included current President Aamna Asif) where only Guild Executives (students) hold votes. In 2022, most Executives were on between 14 and 21 hours per week. Glass has heard that the reason the Exec hours were reduced was because some said they felt overworked.
In the same meeting that the SSAF committee slashed their officer’s hours, they unilaterally made significant increases to their own remuneration for the coming year – which they continued to benefit from until the Board’s Remuneration Committee stepped in this year.
Glass has attempted to access anonymised timesheets of all members of the SRC, in order to confirm the claims made by Shepherd. Executives claim to have logged more than their allocated hours on a regular basis. However, Glass is aware that many Execs do not clock their hours regularly and some do not clock their hours at all. This means that there is no way to track how many hours the SRC are actually working, making their case for an increase in remuneration very shaky.