Queensland nurses have condemned a government plan to allow for the unlimited recovery of health workers’ overpaid wages.
Queensland's health minister has faced angry howls from nurses for sticking to a plan to dock their wages to recover overpayments.
Nurses erupted in anger as Lawrence Springborg addressed the Queensland Nurses’ Union (QNU) annual conference about the plan on Friday.
The government has introduced a bill to give it power to dock the pay packets of Queensland Health staff who are overpaid in the future.
It's the latest tool aimed at fixing ongoing problems with the health department's flawed payroll system.
Springborg told union delegates the government was justified in recovering any overpayments, but said it would be done with compassion and in consultation with affected staff.
"I don't approach this issue with a great degree of relish at all," he told the conference, but said it had to be done.
There were howls of protest when the minister told delegates pay packets would not be docked at more than 25 per cent.
He said Queensland Health staff would be notified about the new recovery plan in coming months.
Under the plan, staff will be notified of errors on their payslips. Those who don't want overpayments automatically deducted must contact the department to discuss other options.
Springborg said financial hardship would be considered, and there would be grievance and dispute procedures in place.
QNU secretary Beth Mohle has acknowledged the previous Labor government created the problem.
But she says the new government is compounding the pain with proposed "anti-worker" legislation rushed before parliament this week.
Springborg was questioned by one delegate who told him nurses felt betrayed by the government's plan, acted on "in the dead of night".
The minister said he left a voicemail message about the plan on Mohle's phone the day before it was introduced.
He said the changes were necessary, because a provision to make automatic deductions for overpayments disappeared when the new payroll system came online.
Mohle said the union wanted the proposed new powers withdrawn, and overpayments recovered on an individual basis.
"Our members will certainly be making their views very strongly known," she told reporters on Friday.
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