Hospital pay debacle continues

CASUAL staff, across a range of work situations at Gympie Hospital are still waiting to be paid, after Queensland Health’s new pay system again failed to deliver this week.

The Gympie workers are among Queensland Health casual workers state-wide who have again been left out of pocket as a result of the new pay system.

Last week Minister for Health Deputy Premier Paul Lucas gave assurances that fixing the pay system was his top priority but it appears the system has again failed this week to pay workers for their last two weeks’ efforts.

Further complicating the problem is that the workers have still not received pay slips which means they cannot accurately check just how much money they are still owed.

Yesterday, workers contacted The Gympie Times to tell of their long wait for payment for hours worked on the condition of anonymity as a result of work agreements.

One worker said she was still owed at least two weeks pay but was unable to put an accurate figure on the hours owed as a result of not having received a pay slip.

“I got a bit over $90 on the first Wednesday’s pay day,” she said. “I’m owed in the vicinity of 70 hours ... then another pay last week I got about $800, so I’m still owed quite a bit. Today (yesterday) I get another pay which should have been for 64 hours and I got paid about $290.

“What I can work out is I’m still owed for the previous fortnight but I haven’t got any pay slips.”

The worker said she was one of a number who had not been paid but she did not blame her supervisor who gave her everything she submits to the pay office.

“Luckily I’ve got credit cards not maxed out ... normally I pay everything off at the end of each month but this month I’m not able to, I’ll be able to pay my rent on the card,” she said.

“There are other casuals at the hospital in the same boat but some are worse off than me. I’m not destitute, not as bad as some but I will owe money this month. If Queensland Health changes to a new computerised system to help you, you can bet you’re in deep do dos.

“State-wide pays have been centralised in Brisbane ... usually I’m calm and collected but someone has to wear this but you can’t even get through on the telephone help numbers they give, they are permanently engaged.”

The workers said the next two pay fortnights were also on short weeks so just when the problem would be rectified, remains a mystery.

“We have to work two weeks before we get paid and in this case it seems to be four weeks. They (Queensland Health) have said they will do adjustments. I just hope the money will be in the bank tomorrow (today).

“I love working for Queensland Health but I just want to get paid for it.

“From when I first started work I was always told to check my pay slips and did but it is a bit hard to do if you haven’t got a pay slip.”

Queensland Public Sector Union area organiser Ron Fossen yesterday said that casual workers state-wide were still waiting to be paid the correct rates.

“It’s still going on, Queensland Health implemented a new pay system that has disadvantaged some of their workers, some of these workers are also the ones who input into the payroll system,” he said.

“It is not the workers fault, it is Queensland Health’s problem.

“The Minister (Paul Lucas) said last week that they would work over the weekend to rectify the problem but it is still a problem.

“It was the QPSU that took Queensland Health to the Industrial Relations Court last week to get the problem fixed. Queensland Health has said anyone more than 10 per cent out of pocket they will do a manual payment run for but they need 24 hours notice. However, if they haven’t got a pay slip it is a bit hard to check.

“It is a total debacle ... any costs incurred by workers will have to be reimbursed. We thought it had been resolved last week but now we have another pay day and the problem is still not fixed.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas yesterday afternoon apologised to Queensland Health employees for any for shortfalls and problems in this week’s payroll.

“I’ve recently personally met with union representatives to discuss their concerns with the roll-out of this new payroll system,” he said.

“I’ve also made it clear to my Department that I want any of these issues sorted out as a priority. This is their pay, it is their property not Queensland Health’s and that is why we need it sorted out now.

“Queensland Health payroll staff worked throughout the Easter long weekend to make sure the glitches were fixed for this pay run. I’m told that the number of anomalies on this pay run have substantially reduced.

“This is a new system and it is designed to provide improved services to staff.

“We had no choice about moving to the new system, as the old one is no longer supported. Each fortnight Queensland Health processes $180 million in wages to more than 74,000 staff and with shift allowances, overtime, and other payments it is very complex.

“I apologise to anyone inconvenienced. We have publicised help phone numbers, offered to pay any bank charges as a result of missed payments as well as organising cash payments to those who have asked for them. I do ask people affected to make contact with their pay office to iron any further issues out quickly.”

Queensland Health’s Deputy Director-General Michael Kalimnios yesterday said the departments new payroll system is operating well following the second pay-run using new software and as already indicated it will take two to three pay cycles for all roster corrections to be fully resolved and processed.

Gympie Times

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