QH to begin recovering overpayments

OVERPAID Queensland Health workers must begin paying back $91 million as the new government lifts the recovery freeze in what it calls a key move to fix the bungled payroll system.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told parliament on Wednesday lifting the moratorium would allow Queensland Health to start recovering the $91 million from almost 62,000 staff.

He said the issue affected about 70% of Queensland Health staff and the debt owed by staff was increasing an average $1.7 million each fortnight.

But Mr Springborg said the government would waive overpayments less than $200 and work with larger repayments through payment plans, targeting the highest value amounts first and work back from there.

"The ongoing payroll saga has plagued Queensland Health and inconvenienced thousands of staff since March, 2010, and I am keen to resolve it," he said.

"The moratorium on overpayments has created a mountain of debt for employees that was allowed to grow.

"To start moving forward, the first thing we have to do is lift the overpayments moratorium, so we can get on with the job of fixing Queensland Health.

"While some large overpayments are outstanding, most affected staff accept the need to pay the funds back.

"We will work with staff to ensure they understand why overpayments are being recovered and to support them through the process.

"I understand staff are frustrated, so I want to reassure them I am committed to ending the payroll saga."

Mr Springborg, who said debt collectors would not get involved, said the government would also stop accepting retrospective pay claims up to six years old.

"From September, a three-month cut-off will apply, a provision that mirrors current practice elsewhere in the public and private sectors," he said.

APN regional areas breakdown

  • Darling Downs 7701 overpaid, $8.7m still owed.
  • Sunshine Coast 4287, $6m
  • Central Queensland 3344, $4.1m
  • Wide Bay 2932, $3.4m
  • Mackay 2178, $3.2m
  • South-west 938, $1m

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