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Qld nurses’ payroll woes worsen

Payroll problems are causing a nursing black hole.

Queensland nurses are refusing to work certain shifts out of fear they won't be paid properly, in the latest twist in the payroll saga.

The nurses' union has anecdotal evidence of staff not taking on shifts on the last weekend of the pay-cycle fortnight because that's when pay problems tend to occur.

A Queensland Health nurse who spoke to AAP on condition of anonymity says staff are leaving the public system, leading to personnel shortages.

The claims are the latest in the payroll saga, in which thousands of Queensland Health employees were underpaid or overpaid when a new system went live in March 2010.

The system still can't cope with late shift changes, the Queensland Health nurse told AAP.

"The paperwork has to be in by the Thursday or Friday for the weekend before the pay comes out, but if the forms don't go in until that Monday they basically get missed," she said.

"The amount of forms payroll lose is amazing.

"So over that weekend with shift changes, basically if you change a shift you don't get paid."
Nurses are refusing to work extra shifts, she said.

"If it's not in their usual roster and they're changing, people are reluctant to do it because they don't get paid," she said.

"And it's such a convoluted ... process to get it back ... people are not bothering to rectify underpayments because it takes so much time and it ends up being more screwed up."
Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle has also heard the claims.

"Some people have had problems and they're constantly mucked around," Mohle said.

"If they're one of those people who has had problems (and they're asked to work on that weekend) well they're going to go, `If I'm not going to get paid for this, I'm not going to bother. I can go and work shifts elsewhere'."

The union was working with Queensland Health to fix the problem before it caused staff shortages, Mohle said.

"You don't want it to be that you can't get nurses and other health workers to work those shifts," she said.

But the Queensland Health nurse says staff shortages are already a reality.

"There's no staff," she said.

"I don't know anyone personally, but I know generally people have left Queensland Health to go work elsewhere even if they get a lower pay rate because at least they get paid.

"I've heard of people who have chosen to go to aged care at a lower pay rate because they're guaranteed to get paid.

"And aged care's known to have poorer working conditions and less pay."
Comment was being sought from Queensland Health.


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