Problems with annual leave entitlements at public hospitals

Heath Professionals at several major public hospitals are experiencing problems with a lack of transparency and difficulty accessing their entitlement to an extra week of annual leave in exchange for working weekend shifts.

Under the Public Sector Health Agreement, Health Professionals are entitled to an extra week of annual leave after working ten or more weekend shifts of more than four hours.

However for many years this entitlement has been poorly managed by different hospitals.

This has meant Health Professionals have been unaware of how many shifts they need to perform in order to qualify for the extra leave. They have also found difficulty claiming the extra leave with management and/or payroll either keeping poor records or changing the accrual system unilaterally.

At some hospitals, such as the Royal Childrens Hospital, VHPA members and delegates have been working constructively with management to resolve the issue and bring greater accountability to the entitlement.

Amanda Dunstan-Potter from the RCH’s Medical Imaging Department described her experience as follows:

It was a long and protracted business but we got there. It is a great result: Six people have received a week of leave that they had earned but had not had credited to them from 2011.

Also the staff now know, when and how this extra week of annual leave for rostered weekend work is leave is calculated, and when to expect it to be credited to them. With the development of the spreadsheet for recording weekend work there is now a system for recording with transparency into the future.

However members at other hospitals have found management unwilling to fix the matter or, in some cases they have actively resisted efforts to improve the system.

“At one major hospital we found managers consciously manipulated weekend rosters to prevent Health Professionals from accruing the extra week of leave. This is not only contrary to the spirit of the Agreement, it is downright mean,” said John Ryan, VHPA Organiser.

>> If you are having difficulty accessing your extra annual leave please contact VHPA Member Assist