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3 min read

Case Win: Underpayments in Nursing? Nurse Union NPAA Will Fix It

Payroll Beware

Errors can occasionally occur, particularly in areas like payroll and employee classification. These errors can result in underpayments for employees if not addressed promptly. Identifying and resolving these issues can mean a lot for individual nurses - thousands of dollars!

This was recently case for one member of the Queensland Branch, NPAQ. Together with her Red Union Support Hub case manager they resolved the suspected underpayment, and even uncovered something else. 

The case involved two primary concerns: 

  1. Unfulfilled Agreement: The member had an agreement with her employer to receive a higher increment at a later date, which was not honoured.
  2. Miscalculated Statement of Service: A review revealed that the member's statement of service was inaccurately calculated at the beginning of her employment, in violation of the Enterprise Agreement.

As a result, we calculated that she could expected backpay, estimated to be between $4000 to $5500, based on calculations for a casual employee. This estimate served as a temporary figure until the final payslip was issued.

Now, let's examine how these issues arose and the steps taken to address them:

Unfulfilled Agreement

At the start of her employment, our member and her employer reached an agreement. This agreement stated that any remaining hours from her statement of service would be assessed for determining the appropriate increment level at a future date. Regrettably, this agreement was not honoured, prompting the member to seek our assistance.

Miscalculated Statement of Service

After a thorough review of her statement of service and communication with her employer, it became clear that the member had been incorrectly classified at the beginning of her employment. Instead of being categorised as a QRN 1.3 employee, as specified in the Enterprise Agreement, she was initially classified as a QRN 1.2 due to an error made by the payroll officer.

To address these issues effectively, the following steps were taken:

  1. Initiating communication with the HR Partner and Payroll to highlight the calculation error, referencing both the Enterprise Agreement and the member's statement of service.
  2. Correcting the member's classification to QRN 1.3 at the start of her employment, as per the correct agreement, instead of QRN 1.2. Additionally, she was correctly incremented to QRN 1.4 at the agreed date, rectifying the previous oversight.
  3. Sincere apologies were extended to the NPAQ member, and the necessary back pay adjustments were processed.

This case emphasises the importance of vigilance in employment matters. Had the member not brought this matter to our attention, she could have potentially missed out on an additional sum ranging from $2500 to $3500. This additional calculation error was only identified with our intervention, underlining the crucial role RUSH plays in safeguarding the rights and entitlements of employees.

In conclusion, it is imperative for employees to thoroughly understand their employment agreements and carefully monitor their pay and classification. Even seemingly minor errors can lead to significant discrepancies in payments. In this specific case, the member faced mainly these issues:

  • An agreement to receive a higher increment at a later date was not honoured by her employer.
  • Upon review, her statement of service was found to have been miscalculated at the start of her employment, in contrast to the terms outlined in the Enterprise Agreement.

The resolution of this case ensured that the member received the rightful back pay owed to her, which, while not received immediately, was estimated to be approximately $5500 for a casual employee, based on accurate calculations.

How is the NPAA so effective in defending members during workplace issues and disputes? Our experienced and professional case managers use our unique RED™ case resolution system.

Why is the NPAA different? We believe that real change in healthcare STARTS with empowering frontline nurses, not bureaucrats. 

If you are a member of NPAA and need assistance with a workplace issue, please submit a member support ticket on your dashboard, or contact us at 1300 263 374 - hotline@npaa.asn.au

To find out more about NPAA and become protected today visit: npaa.redunion.com.au/join