Changes to pay date and overpayment recovery

Posted July 20, 2012 by Alex Scott

In this update:
Change of pay day
Changes to future overpayment recovery
Historical overpayment recovery

Change of pay day

Queensland Health is planning on changing the pay day in the department by one week in an attempt to achieve better pay outcomes for staff.  The proposed change will mean staff are paid ten days after the end of a roster period rather than three days.

The transition will occur in October 2012 and the department is providing a transition loan to assist staff in meeting your financial obligations.  The features of the loan process are as follows:

  • The loan amount will be based on two weeks net pay
  • You will be provided a loan unless you elect not to receive one.  You can opt out via a form that will be made available
  • Loans are recoverable when you leave your employment with Queensland Health (not if you change your Hospital and Health Services)
  • You may repay your loan earlier if desired through flexible repayment options
  • The amount received is the amount to be repaid.  No interest will be changed on the loan
  • The department will meet fringe benefits tax incurred for the transition loan
  • You may need to make changes to your personal banking arrangements if you have fortnightly repayments set up in line with current pay periods

A project is being initiated to manage the transition.  We will continue to advise as more information becomes available.

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Changes to future overpayment recovery

The Minister has introduced legislation to amend the Industrial Relations Act to create the capacity to recover overpayments automatically though the payroll system.  The proposed legislation makes changes that mean that Queensland Health workers are treated differently to any other worker in Queensland.  The current legislation allows an employer to recover wages automatically in the overpayment that are absence related.  The changes will extend overpayment recovery to any kind of overpayment.  Together has lodged as submission to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee: Penalties and Sentences and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 outlining our concerns with what is being proposed. 

Given the majority government has in the Parliament it is more than likely the bill will go through in its current form.  The department is developing a  proposal for implementation involving  the following steps;

  1. Staff will be notified that an overpayment has been identified in the current pay period.
  2. Staff will then have a two week "grace period" from the pay date to contact Queensland Health to clarify concerns relating to the overpayment and to discuss alternative repayment options.
  3. The first repayment will commence two pay periods (four weeks) after the overpayment was originally created.

These proposed changes are concerning for members and we have received a lot of feedback already.  Given the overall lack of confidence in the payroll system the proposal to use the system for recovery from wages is clearly problematic.

We will continue to have ongoing discussion with the department regarding the implementation of these changes.

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Historical overpayment recovery

For those members with an historical overpayment you should have received your letter about your overpayment position.  This letter incorporates identified overpayments up until 13 May 2012.  The letter does not require you to take any action, a case officer will contact you to discuss arrangements.  If you want to resolve your overpayment urgently you can contact the Statewide hotline and they will log the call for case management.

Queensland Health have devised standard repayment terms that case officer will use a basis for discussions with staff. These terms specify a mimium repayment of 5% of gross wage and full repayment within two years.  Staff do not have to agree to these terms if their individual circumstances mean this would be difficult.  Staff may negotiate extended repayment terms on a case by case basis.

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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