As we’ve said in previous E-news editions, alongside the collective work of Branch runs a skilled Member Assist Team of John Ryan, Luke Smeaton & Martin Schoo who advise and act on behalf of individual Members.  Lots of VHPA Members have never needed to access the Branch for individual assistance however, we think it’s good that all Members know of this work in case you – or a colleague – need us in the future!

VHPA recently supported a member working in Public Health to recover more than $10,000 of unpaid Higher Duties Allowance.

Health Professional employees in the Public Sector who ‘act up’ in higher duties for more than five consecutive working days are entitled to be paid at the minimum rate for the employee whose duties they have assumed.

In this case, the employer had paid the member, a Social Worker, a percentage-based ‘acting manager’ allowance, which fell far short of her actual entitlement. This happened over a number of ‘acting up’ periods dating back to 2010. The employer was aware that employees who assumed higher duties were entitled to the Higher Duties Allowance, having paid it to other employees in the same department over the same period.

The member raised the matter with her employer on a number of occasions and was finally able to resolve the matter in her favour with the support of VHPA Member Assist Organiser, Luke Smeaton.

“It’s important for Health Professionals to be aware of their minimum entitlements and to ensure that their employers comply with the Agreement,” said Smeaton. “Some employers and managers may try to pay Health Professionals less than their full entitlement, whether due to ignorance or to budget pressure. If you have been underpaid or are not sure of your entitlements in relation to acting up, it’s vital that you contact your Union for advice and support.”