Allied Health Professionals across the state are baulking at the idea of working public holidays without some assurance that they will be paid the appropriate penalty rates. This, given the proximity of Easter, is bad news for many hospitals.
This unfortunate state of affairs flows directly from the recent Christmas and New Year experience which left many AHPs, especially those who worked on the 25 and/or 27 December or 1 and/or 2 January, feeling shortchanged, unrewarded and disrespected.
The union has managed to get VHIA to concede that people should get paid for a public holiday that falls on a day that they would normally work but in fact weren’t required to work. What this means is that most people who worked 25 December and were not required for duty on 27 December (even though they would normally work that day) were not paid or were forced to use an annual leave day for the 27th. While agreeing that this is wrong, VHIA has not yet addressed this with the hospitals and people have still not been paid properly.
Further, VHIA has stuck firm on its blanket rejection that if you worked both public holidays (i.e. 25 and 27 December or 1 and 2 January) that you would only get public holiday penalty rates for one of the days worked.
VAHPA continues to press the issue with both the VHIA and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It is our strong view, and in this we are supported by the DHHS, that if you work a declared public holiday then you should be paid the appropriate penalty rates for that work.
“We will do all we can to make sure that VAHPA members are properly paid for the work that they do,” declared Assistant Secretary Andrew Hewat.
“This sort of outcome raises all sorts of questions about the way employers view the issue of penalty rates. Members are right to be concerned, but we are confident that this government will do all it can to make sure that workers are properly and fairly paid,” concluded Hewat.
Meanwhile, the ongoing fight over the 2016 CPD allowance payment continues. VAHPA maintains that AHPs still have a definite entitlement to the 1 November 2016 CPD payment but VHIA insists otherwise. The Branch Committee of Management has issued a directive for staff to progress the matter to the Federal Court. However we are working to resolve the matter swiftly and in good faith to avoid an ugly and costly legal dispute.
We will keep you updated on both of these issues.