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Industrial Relations Claims Investigates Hospital Underpayments

Industrial Relations Claims investigates hospital underpayments

Industrial Relations Claims is calling for all current and former non-medical staff at a Toowoomba hospital to come forward to find out if they are owed unpaid wages and entitlements.

IR Claims is investigating the underpayments at St Vincent’s Hospital which it says could affect hundreds of workers, and involve millions of dollars.

The industrial advocacy firm has already uncovered underpayments relating to a number of employees, and now wants to talk to other workers to see if they too have been victims of wage theft.

Information sessions

Two information sessions have been booked at the Quest Hotel in Toowoomba on the 6th and 7th of April, for current and former workers to receive free advice about making a claim for lost wages.

IR Claims Litigation Director, Miles Heffernan, said his team wants to talk to anyone who worked at the hospital since April 2012, including clerical staff, wardspersons, cleaning and kitchen staff.

“We want anyone who worked, or is working at St Vincent’s in a non-medical role, to come and see us when we are in town to have a chat, because chances are, they are owed money,” he said.

Underpayments been happening for 10 years

Investigators from IR Claims believe the underpayments have been happening at the hospital for the past 10 years, and are the result of the pay office incorrectly applying relevant Enterprise Agreements.

While the number of staff affected isn’t known, Mr Heffernan said the total of underpayments could be substantial.

“So far, we have uncovered around $60,000 that is owed to just a few of the workers, so you can imagine the amounts of money that might still be outstanding and owed to other staff,” he said.

Hospital has refused to resolve the matter

IR Claims said it has been investigating the underpayments for a year, but had not been able to resolve the matter with the hospital.

“We have been working really hard to get a satisfactory resolution to this problem for quite some time, without any success,” Mr Heffernan said.

“You would think that the Catholic Sisters of Charity, who run the hospital, would be an organisation that would be keen to do the right thing by their employees, and pay them what they are owed, but as yet, they have refused to do so.

“It has been an incredibly frustrating process just to get hold of our client’s wage records, which the hospital is legally obliged to provide.

“It has made us want to dig a little deeper to see just how widespread these underpayments really are.”

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