Ambos' union disputes completion of NSW Health payroll

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Ambos' union disputes completion of NSW Health payroll

Department touting completion of rollout.

The NSW health system’s IT arm claims to have successfully reached the finish line in the statewide rollout of its Stafflink payroll system, onboarding all 140,000 health workers, Health staff and ambos.

But the union representing paramedics claims ambos were bolted on to the system as an afterthought, and are suffering from late and bungled payments as a result.

eHealth NSW last week announced that the successful migration of 4500 NSW Ambulance workers marked the final phase of the project, which it described as “one of the largest ever Oracle payroll implementations”.

The department has managed to keep the upgrade more or less out of the headlines, keen not to repeat the horror-story implementation of the equivelent system in Queensland.

eHealth NSW’s chiefs are singing the praises of the project.

"This has been a significant achievement, particularly given the complexity of health industrial awards and the sheer size and spread of the organisation," eHealth NSW’s corporate IT director Farhoud Salimi said in a statement.

The Stafflink upgrade represents the first time the whole public health system has been paid by a common solution. It delivers self-service capabilities to workers and acts as the master system feeding data into HealthRoster and the HETI Online e-learning system.  

At NSW Ambulance, Stafflink project manager Skye McKenzie called the payroll migration a huge step forward for the integration of NSW Ambulance within NSW Health.

Not all peachy

But not all of McKenzie's colleagues are as impressed with the move.

The NSW branch of the Australian Paramedics Association threatened work bans in March over what it claimed were bungled payments by the new system.

APA NSW secretary Gary Wilson said when Stafflink was designed, NSW Ambulance was not considered in scope for the rollout, with paramedics added on down the track.

“I accept that it has been rolled out to all business units but it doesn’t work in NSW Ambulance yet," Wilson told iTnews.

As a result, the union boss said, Stafflink can't cope with some of the quirks of the Ambulance pay system. He said paramedics pays are averaged out to a base sum over 38 hours a week, but Stafflink can’t process this average for part-timers or people acting in higher duties.

“With the amount of money they have spent rolling out Stafflink you wouldn’t expect to be having to build in works arounds this early on,” he said.

The union's assistant secretary Wayne Flint said he couldn’t be sure how many pays were incorrectly processed each cycle because eHealth NSW wouldn’t hand over this data, but claimed to have anecdotally seen an upswing in complaints to the APA since the migration.

A spokesperson for eHealth NSW denied the claims.

She said NSW Ambulance was always in scope for transition to StaffLink, and claimed the platform had been successfully configured "in accordance with the provisions of the NSW Health Awards including the Operational Ambulance Officers Award".

"Pay advices provide detailed information on the payments made to employees. We are changing the system to provide more detail by separating overtime and call-out payments," she said.

"Employees are paid correctly according to the roster information provided by the time and attendance system. Staff who believe their pay is incorrect have access to a help desk."

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