Queensland Health is suing a retired nurse over long service leave it says she was not entitled to take.
The department ordered Kay Boisen, who worked at Bundaberg hospital, to pay back $40,000 shortly after taking the leave.
Even though Queensland Health had previously directed her to take the time off.
Queensland Health suing retired nurse
Boisen worked as a nurse for more than four decades, including 35 years with Queensland Health.
Shortly before retiring in 2017, her employer told to take her accrued long service leave.
However, soon after returning to work, Queensland Health ordered her to pay back $40,000.
“I had been offered six months of long service leave to finish as I left Queensland Health,” she said.
“Three or four weeks before I was due to finish, I was called in for a meeting and I was told there was a ‘glitch’ from 2010,which meant that all the long service leave that I’d used – and in fact all the other leave I had accrued – was all a big mistake and it wasn’t there anymore.”
NPAQ says hundreds wrongly paid
The Nurses’ Professional Association of Queensland, which is representing Boisen, says the administration error could affect hundreds of nurses.
Jack McGuire from the NPAQ said:
“There have been about 30 that we’re aware of and we represent about 10 per cent of nurses in Queensland – but there could be up to 300.
“We’re launching a full throated defense.
“I think the situation is particularly egregious with Kay though because it was just long service leave entitlements.
“It wasn’t money ending up in your bank account, it was taking a directive by your manager and saying, ‘yes okay I’ll take the leave’, you go and take the leave and then they say, ‘okay, now you owe us the cash’.”
‘This has had a huge impact on my life’
Boisen says the ordeal has taken its toll on her health and well-being.
“There is no doubt that this has had a huge impact on my life – it’s certainly not the carefree retirement I had envisaged for myself,” she said.
“I’d had some health issues, I haven’t travelled as I thought I would, I am restricted with what I am going to spend because this is a big whack of my savings that we’re wanting.
“I’m being taken to court so the next step is to plead my case.”
‘Minister should show some heart’
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims described the case as “outrageous”.
“Queensland Health is responsible for the stuff ups made by their defective payroll systems,” he said.
“Instead of moving on, and showing some compassion and contrition, they are using debt collectors to threaten and intimidate current and former workers into paying back money.
“They had their chance to fix this mess, and there is simply no excuse for them to still be hounding nurses nearly a decade later.
“In Ms Boisen’s case, the minister should show some heart and waive the alleged debt that she owes for leave she took in good faith after being told she was entitled to take it.”
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