Google says it is ‘looking into’ its artificial intelligence workforce

Google has been accused of not paying employees enough for their work, after claiming it was only paying engineers £4.65 an hour.

The search giant has said it is “looking into” the issue, but a source familiar with the matter told the ABC it has not yet decided whether to pay workers the amount they were owed.

The Australian Government’s National Institute for the Arts said it had contacted Google over its pay arrangements.

“Our inquiry into Google’s pay arrangements is ongoing and we have asked Google to provide more information on the matter,” a spokeswoman for the Australian Government said.

“We are continuing to support the Government’s call for Google to address the issue of its pay system and ensure that all employees receive the pay they are owed.”

The spokeswoman said Google has not been making a payment for employees to date.

“The Department of Employment has not received any payments from Google in excess of the pay entitlements we are providing, as we are unable to collect on them,” she said.

Google said it has been paying employees the amounts it is due for years.

“Google’s compensation system is designed to make sure our engineers get the pay and conditions they deserve, without a company taking advantage of employees,” a spokesperson said.

They are currently receiving $3.60 per hour, up from $3 an hour last year.

Google’s payment arrangements were first reported by the BBC’s The World Tonight program on Tuesday night.

Google previously said its pay structure was “fair, equitable and transparent”.

“We pay our engineers a salary that reflects their skills and performance and the conditions they work under,” a spokesman said.

It said in the past, employees had been paid $12 an hour to help “get Google where it needs to be”.

“That has been changing,” the spokesman said, adding Google had a pay structure for employees that had “more flexible” terms and conditions.

“It is a fair, equitable, transparent and competitive pay system for Google’s engineers.”

Google has been criticised by industry experts for failing to pay employees the minimum wage and the minimum benefits that they were entitled to under the Fair Work Act.