QHealth announces lifting moratorium

Posted December 10, 2011 by Julie Bignell

Members will be aware from newspaper reports that your employer has made two significant announcements regarding the Queensland Health Pay System. Firstly, there is a proposal to change the pay cycle, pushing back the actual pay day by seven days, this is designed to minimise the number of adjustments that have to be made and provide more certainty. While we welcome anything that simplifies the pay system and minimises errors in pay we are seeking significantly more detail on the proposal and will discuss it further with delegates in terms of our concerns.

The second announcement was that the Government has commenced a staged lifting of the moratorium on recovery of overpayments.  The first stage of this process will be to target the recovery of high value amounts - this is limited to a relatively small number of staff (one or two hundred) who will receive a letter outlining the process.  There is no detail about the timing of recovery of other overpayments and we recognise that this announcement by the government of their decision has caused unnecessary anxiety to a number of their employees.

While your union representatives were aware that Queensland Health intended to lift the moratorium in the near future, we were not consulted regarding the timing of this announcement and we have not agreed with Queensland Health how the rest of the overpayments should be best handled or the timing for that to occur.  At our last meeting with Queensland Health about this issue on 28 November, we were told that we would be consulted about the proposed staged recovery process before it was rolled out.

Whilst there is no dispute that staff will at some point be asked to pay back money which they have wrongly received, there is obviously an ongoing problem with the communication process which we are seeking to address.

For the moment, if you have been overpaid, you should not be receiving a fresh request from your employer about recovery of that amount unless you fall into the  category of owing a "high value" amount.  The vast majority of Together members will not be required to respond to QH about your overpayment in the lead-up to Christmas, and it is unfortunate that many members may be concerned now about the process unnecessarily.

If you are contacted by QH in relation to your overpayment and are concerned about it in any way, please do not hesitate to call the union office on 1800 177 244 for assistance. If you are disputing the amount to be recovered, ask Queensland Health to provide verification of their claim - it is their responsibility to get the amount right.  Of course, you may elect to repay any overpayment in advance of an employer request, subject always to the amount being proven to be correct.

Please be assured that the detail in relation to the lifting of the moratorium, including timing, is yet to be agreed and we will keep you informed of the process in this regard in the new year.


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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