Nurses left short in pay bungle
PAYROLL woes associated with Queensland Health’s new system have moved across the Great Dividing Range, with at least two nurses at Warwick Hospital underpaid this week.
It is understood the nurses affected received a payment on Wednesday – the department’s normal pay day – less than half their normal wage which was described as an “adjustment”, apparently to make up for errors in previous pay periods.
A source close to the Warwick Hospital told the Daily News one of the major issues in the current pay fiasco was the format of payslips, which have been described as “unreadable”.
The source also claimed a senior Queensland Health liaison officer had told nurses at Warwick Hospital during a recent briefing that they were “so well paid they should have money set aside” if glitches occurred.
“Nurses here were also told that it was their award provisions that would have to change because there was no chance of changing the (payroll) system,” they claimed.
“Needless to say, nursing staff here were not impressed.”
The source said the payroll system was “hit and miss all along” and someone needed to take responsibility for its failures.
“You almost feel a bit sorry for the minister (Deputy Premier Paul Lucas) because the bureaucrats seem to be impossible to control.”
It is believed the nurses have been advised they will receive their full pay in cash today, but the source said this seemed “unlikely” given the short timeframe.
A Queensland Health spokesman told the Daily News late yesterday that “significant progress (had) been made towards stabilising the new payroll system”.
“However, the department realises there is still work to be done,” the spokesman said.
“We are aware of two Warwick nurses who were underpaid in this week’s pay run.
“Arrangements have been made to ensure they receive manual payments this week.”
The spokesman also said the payslips provided by the new payroll system were “more detailed” than the previous payslips.
“Queensland Health understands that some staff are finding them difficult to interpret and is continuing to develop materials to assist staff to understand them,” the spokesman said.
“These materials are being provided to staff and can be found on the Queensland Health intranet and website.”
News of a Warwick dimension to the payroll disaster follows revelations in metropolitan media this week Queensland Health had continued to pay two nurses who were in fact deceased.
Problems with the SAP/WorkBrain payroll and rostering system emerged in March when it was brought online.
Former Queensland Health workers have also received pays, with Queensland Nurses Union assistant secretary Beth Mohle describing the two cases of deceased nurses being paid as “totally unacceptable” and “distressing” for their families and work colleagues.
Backlogs in data processing have been blamed for the latest bungles.
As many as 75,000 workers were due to be paid on Wednesday, with reports emerging from around the state of anomalies similar to those experienced by the nurses in Warwick.
Have you been affected by the Queensland Health pay bungle? Call us on 4660 1310.