Backflip on pay debacle

QUEENSLAND Health Minister Paul Lucas may have saved his hide with the announcement of local payroll hubs on Wednesday, but some Gladstone nurses are still working for next to nothing.

The continuing payroll saga between nurses, Queensland Health and IBM has at times resembled a political football match with the nurses being kicked from one end of the ground to the other.

The blame game has shifted and finally an end may be in sight with Queensland Health announcing it will return to a local payroll model by September.

Gladstone nurse Alicia Cross is one of thousands of nurses around the state who have been affected by the Queensland Health payroll debacle.

Ms Cross said it all started when they changed the system.

“Every pay I didn’t receive a pay slip or any pay in my bank account,” Ms Cross said.

“For six weeks I was told that my situation wasn’t urgent enough and other people are facing more hardship.

“It is really pathetic and Queensland Health really needs to lift their game. It’s our money and we have worked hard for it and they can’t treat people this way.”

While no changes will be made to the SAP software involved in the failed implementation, payroll data will go back to being processed at individual hubs that are directly linked to local hospitals.

The State Government said it had doubled the size of its call centre and was rolling out local payroll support arrangements at major hospitals right across the state.

“We are pulling out all stops to provide more support and more information for staff,” Deputy Premier and Health Minister Paul Lucas said.

Central Queensland Nurses Union representative David Abraham said localised pay hubs in Rockhampton Hospital would now become the pay hub for the local area, rather than Brisbane.

“That will mean upskilling staff at the local pay office to get them up to speed with the system and that is why it will take till September,” Mr Abraham said.

“The system has been faulty right from the word go and for Queensland Health to finally acknowledge it is a step forward.

“They have gone through two processes. They have had KMPG and the auditor general audit a review of the payroll system and now that those reports have been tabled, Queensland Health have finally taken some action.”

Mr Abraham said the whole situation had been very stressful for some nurses to the point of where banks refused to approve home loans if you worked for Queensland Health.

“The financial stress that this has caused to our members is just horrendous in some instances,” he said.

“The impacts are far greater than ‘come payday I didn’t get my pay’. It impacts on families and relationships. It impacts on bills and dishonour fees for transactions that can’t occur because there is no money in their accounts.

“Lost pay was horrendous when this payroll stuff-up first started and it’s not looking like it will get any better in the short term.”

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