Business

Australian worker overpaid by A$500,000

Suitcase of Australian dollars Image copyright Getty Images

A worker in Australia has been paid more than 100 times their normal salary because of a decimal point in the wrong place.

The worker was meant to get a salary of A$4,921.76 but instead found A$492,176 ($360,700; £280,250) in their account.

The mistake was reported by the territory's auditor-general who put it down to human error.

But the worker, based in a remote area of the Northern Territory, resisted temptation and returned the money.

The auditor-general noted that the repayment was made four weeks later, but would have been made sooner if the worker had not been based in a remote area and had to travel to a bank.

The report blamed two human errors - the incorrect data entry in the first place and then the failure to deal with a system-generated alert.

It was one of 743 overpayments made by the Northern Territory's government departments between July 2017 and January 2018, said the report.

Of that, $767,000 has still not been returned by the end of January.

The Department of Corporate and Information Services said overpayments represented about 0.2% of the 1.2m payroll transactions it made in the NT each year.

It said it had put in place several system enhancements to prevent such large overpayments from happening again.

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