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Late restoration of overtime payment ‘frustrating’ – IMO

The IMO has said it is “incredibly frustrated” by the late restoration of overtime payments to healthcare workers from July, which means they will now receive some payments in arrears.

On 1 July 2021, overtime and rates impacted by the Haddington Road Agreement were due to revert to prior arrangements under the new public service pay agreement.

According to IMO Industrial Relations Officer Mr Paul Maier, the Department of Health delayed in its instruction to the HSE to implement the restored overtime rates. It is understood this communication occurred on 2 July and the HSE issued a circular instructing sites to implement the measure on 20 July.

“Now it is officially implemented,” said Mr Maier. “But it is a tremendous own goal by the HSE and Department of Health, given what is a very positive development which rewards staff and acknowledges the additional time they have been putting in and which acknowledges sacrifices they have been making.

“It instead makes it a bad news story… It is frustrating for our members as they already have difficulty in getting paid overtime correctly due to the way the system is set up.”

Mr Maier said he also had sympathy for sites due to the unnecessary additional workload created. He said the arrangements to implement the measure from 1 July should have been in place months ago.

He acknowledged the impact of the cyberattack but maintained the delay “should not have happened”. It was a frustration for members including NCHDs at a “very expensive time of year” due to the changeover.

Ensuring the correct payments will be “a concern for our members and there almost certainly will be circumstances where errors will be made”.

A HSE spokesperson commented: “The HSE issued the circular once the sanctions were received, without delay. All revisions are effective from 1 July 2021, as set out in the circular.”

Comment was awaited from the Department of Health.

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