HP Appeals update

Posted March 6, 2013 by Alex Scott

It has been some time since we updated you on the HP appeal matters before the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and the Industrial Court.

Many of you will recall that a number of test cases were planned to be heard by the Full Bench of the Commission to determine generic matters such as the process for conduct of the QIRC appeals and, in all likelihood, to resolve the question of the eligibility for back pay in the event of a successful appeal.

This process was interrupted by Queensland Health filing an Application in the Industrial Court seeking declarations from the Court to the effect that the Full Bench has no jurisdiction to order back pay.

This Application was originally set down for one day's hearing on 15th October 2012 but it extended out to six days prior to Christmas and it is clear that several more days are required to enable all parties to complete their submissions.

Unfortunately, the Court has not been able to obtain dates to resume the hearing until the week before Easter and one or two days may also be required after Easter.

We know that this delay is unwelcome news for HPs but it is a delay that we have no control over.

It will be no surprise to members to hear that QH is very strongly pressing an argument that minimizes their financial obligation. They are also challenging the admissibility of our evidence (line by line in many cases) and in fact they are also now arguing that there never was any entitlement to back pay for any successful appellant at the internal appeal level, let alone the external appeal level. This argument is being advanced despite the fact that successful appellants (at the internal appeals stage) have all been back paid and despite the fact that persons acting in positions that were subsequently upgraded were also back paid.

The fact that back payments of any kind occurred has been ruled inadmissible. It cannot be used as proof of an entitlement to back pay in the interpretation of HPEB1 because it occurred after HPEB1. Furthermore, as HPEB 2 does not specifically refer to back pay but only refers to HPEB 1 processes continuing to apply until finalised, proof of the interpretation of HPEB2 is tied to HPEB1.  This of course makes our task all the more difficult.

HPs who have indicated they wish to take their individual case through to arbitration will be contacted once a decision has been handed down in the matter currently being heard by the Industrial Court.

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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