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Plutus Payroll pledges to pay IT contractors' wages within 72 hours

But superannuation isn't flowing, dispute with Aus taxman unresolved

By Simon Sharwood, 10 May 2017

Embattled payroll company Plutus Payroll will soon start paying ~1,000 contractors again after an almost-two-weeks hiatus.

The company has written to those owed money, saying the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) “has agreed to allow the release of the wages owed to our contractors.”

“The ATO has written to the Commonwealth Bank today to ask that the funds be released,” the email to contractors says. “Given the unusual circumstances, it may be a day or two before the Commonwealth Bank processes these payments, but it is expected that you should see the money in your account within the next 72 hours.”

But contractors aren't out of the woods because the deal with the ATO covers wages, but not superannuation payments [Australian pension funds - Ed] . Here's what the letter says:

Our next priority is to ensure super contributions that have been collected on your behalf are paid to you within statutory deadlines. March 2017 contributions were due by 15 April 2017 and these were paid in accordance with the statutory timeframes.

Contributions for the more recent pay periods are presently held in the Plutus bank account and it is our intention to continue to discuss this issue with the ATO and have these amounts paid within the statutory deadlines 

Plutus' dispute with the ATO is ongoing. The company still has not discussed the nature of the dispute, but says its argument that “our contractors, as third parties, should not have been caused the stress and suffering that the decision to garnish the Plutus bank accounts has caused” found receptive ears at the tax office.

Plutus staff are also back on deck, but contractors have been told they can't comment on the dispute, just “new administrative issues relating to your pay.”

The Register understands that this situation is far from resolved. Plutus and the ATO have a new court date on Friday. And Plutus has to figure out how to deal with a substantially reduced client base, as contractors who have contacted The Register say they intend to find alternative providers as soon as possible. Many contractors have already left the company, sometimes of necessity, sometimes prompted by employers who were not comfortable with the company's troubles. Rivals have also aggressively marketed their services to the afflicted.

Affected contractors remain sceptical about Plutus' fortunes. As one said in a closed social media group, "Sound quite dodgy. If we get our pay some time next week, still be extremely lucky."

The Register will continue to track the incident. ®

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