Authorities unsure of Queensland health staff pay woes

Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

The payment woes of Queensland health staff continue and there is no clear indication from authorities as to when problems will stop. Since March this year tens of thousands of health care staff are being over, under or unpaid after the introduction of a new computerized pay system. After repeated assurances there are still  people who are facing problems with their pay.

Staff have expressed worries about incorrect tax payment summaries because of the pay bungle. Premier Anna Bligh has assured that Queensland Health staff will not be disadvantaged if their tax payment summaries are incorrect. She said in a statement, “Queensland Health is on track to have those group certificates out and is making arrangements with the tax office to ensure that if any of those group certificates are less than accurate, no one will be disadvantaged as a result.” Her remarks follow threats of strike action from Australian Services Union (ASU) members.

The matter has been extensively investigated and an auditor-general's report on the introduction of the problem software for payroll will come up in the Parliament this week.

Ms Bligh also said, “Ultimately the question of the rate at which the current problems can be fixed depend a lot on the technology and the rostering system and the way that those issues are managed in the process in Queensland Health…I hope that the auditor-general points to ways that we can speed up that process.”

The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) has also expressed concerns regarding incorrect tax summaries of their members. QNU Mackay branch vice-president Charmaine Wicking informed that nurses will receive two payment summaries after the end of the financial year as there have been two pay systems. She urged the members to keep accounts of their wages till the problems are fixed. She explained, “Keeping your own meticulous records and what you've worked and the allowances and then checking them against your pay slip…By the time the group certificates come out, which is about mid-July, check your own records against what Queensland Health have put on the group certificates.” “The nurses union believes this will be ongoing however, Queensland health have put in place payroll stabilization teams that are going to be placed in the hospitals so anyone with concerns are able to go to these pay hubs and try and fax track their concerns,” she added.

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