A south-west council's wage bill has jumped by nearly $2 million in just a year as the coronavirus pandemic gave staff additional leave and allowed council workforces to grow.
Moyne Shire Council's employees cost the council $20.84 million in 2020-21, a rise of $1.9 million on the financial year before.
As with most councils the wage bill is closing in on the $23.68 million Moyne receives in rates and charges, although other funding sources pay some council wages including money from the state government.
Kevin Leddin, the council's corporate and community services director, said the rise in staff costs were for a number of reasons that were "particularly influenced by the pandemic".
The council employed 12 new staff with $460,000 of state government money from the Working for Victoria package, designed to help people get back into work and stimulate the economy during the crisis.
Moyne's costs from staff taking leave reached $430,000 more than last year, mostly because of a special allowance for coronavirus leave where staff could take up to 10 days off for reasons such as isolation or home schooling.
The council's caravan parks also shifted from contract-based work to employee arrangements that increased wages by $360,000.
Overall, Moyne's EBA allowed for a 2 per cent annual rise in salaries and for workers to receive an increase in pay levels.
Meanwhile, wage costs climbed in much smaller amounts at Warrnambool City Council; rising from $33.12 million to $33.34 million.
The city council's wage bill would usually increase more but it stood down more than 100 recreation and culture staff during lockdowns when Aquazone, Flagstaff Hill and the Lighthouse Threatre closed.
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