DHBs owe health workers up to $650 million for Holidays Act errors

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DHBs owe health workers up to $650 million for Holidays Act errors

RNZ

RNZ

David Clark GPCME
Health Minister David Clark
More than 100,000 health workers are owed about half a billion dollars for payroll breaches, but they may have to wait up to two years to get paid.

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When the Whanganui  Accident and Medical  Clinic was set up  by  the Whanganui  PHO  in  2006 it was  pointed out to  the   management and  directors  that  all  GPs  working there   should be  employed as  Casual  employees   and  not  contractors and  to  suggest they  wrote their own contracts and  invoiced the  clinic for  their after hours  duties  was   incorrect . They  were  provided  with  a  fixed  rate per hour  actually  in the  clinic  which  was  not  negotiated and  had  no  expenses   for   night calls  or   house visits  or  public holiday  rates or mileage , travel time,  study  holiday pay , etc.  . The  directors and  management   who  set it up   were well  aware that  the  contractor    description   was  to  avoid  paying  holiday  pay   after hours and penal  rates . Several   edicts from the  NZMA , the   Labour department, Medical   Assurance  Society  and  some often  acrimonious stakeholders  meetings   in  the  intervening  years   have  all  been  in agreement  that  the  GPs  working  after hours and on  call  at the  clinic  are working as  EMPLOYEES  and  not   contractors .  Some  of those  directors  are  , were  or have  been GPs  and  need to  be  held accountable  for    the   years of   back pay  and   penal  rates and    holiday   pay  that  have accumulated  and  been denied  to  their  colleagues .

 One  local  health   trust  set up  to act as a tax  free trust owner  of a local  clinic has claimed   $33,000 annually  for  the last three years   of   work in kind  done  by  two  of the trustees . This   has  enabled  them  to  claim back  $11,000  for tax refunds annually  .The  claimed   hourly  rate charged for  the  work and the actual  work   provided    by  the  two   is  not  specified in the   trusts annual  accounts . At a nominal  $100 / hour   that  is   330  hours  of gifted " work. "per year  or  a full day  per week  less 8 weeks holidays and leave .  While  this potential way of   transferring  money  to  the   GPS on  call    was  explored at the  A&M clinic  when set up at the   time  as a way  of  funding  GPs for  their  time  on  call and  other  expenses , and   had  no specific  cost to  the   PHO  and the  clinics  cash  flow,   the  directors and  management who  set up  the   Accident  and Medical  Clinic  and   the   Parent  trusts  never implemented  it .

 13years  x 365 days  on  call at a nominal  $100.00 on  call    is   back  pay  of  $474,500 owed to  the GPs  who have  done the  call  as"contractors" . At  $200.00 per  day  on call  it is a deficit of   $949,000 in   back  pay . At the rats  paid  in  the  ASMS  awards for   clinics , hospices and   demanded by   locums  doing  prime  call in some areas of $1,000/ day  on  call  the amount  owing  could  be  quite substantial . Holiday   pay  and  penal  rates  for   Weekends and  public holidays   and  time off in  lieu  would add another  several  hundred thousand dollars in  back  pay  owed .