Are you being paid the correct classification?

Published: 9 September 2022

If you’re starting work at a new facility, it pays to check you’re being paid the correct rate, and your previous hours are being counted.

Registered Nurse and Midwife Chloe Robertson-Doogue was working at St Andrew’s Private Hospital in Toowoomba for five years while she studied midwifery, and eventually climbed her way up to Level 1, pay point 5. 

During her studies, she also worked the occasional casual shift at Toowoomba Base Hospital. 

When she finished her midwifery studies, she began working at Dalby Hospital as a midwife.

 Despite having worked approximately 5000 hours at St Andrew’s Private Hospital and 300 hours at Toowoomba Base Hospital, HR continually refused to transfer these hours across, and Chloe’s pay returned to NG 5.1 – the Queensland Health equivalent to Level 1, pay point 1. 

This equated to about a $10 per hour drop in her pay, compared to what she’d earned at St Andrew’s. 

“I kept questioning it, but HR kept giving me different reasons for why they couldn’t recognise all my other hours of work,” Chloe said.

“One of the reasons they gave me was that the hours I’d previously worked were as a nurse, and now I’m employed as a midwife.

“I disputed that, telling them nurses and midwives were on the same agreement, not to mention the fact that, being a rural facility, I am often asked to work as a nurse on the wards anyway because of my dual registration.”

Chloe sought the help of the QNMU, as well as her maternity manager – and even the Director of Nursing.

“Management were all very supportive of me, and the facility itself said they would happily pay me the higher rate, given how the work I was doing was often beyond what would normally be expected of a graduate because of my years of prior experience.

“But the issue was purely with HR.”

After months of Chloe and the QNMU persisting, HR did agree to pay Chloe the higher rate and calculated the backpay – which, after tax, came to approximately $9000. 

“My advice to other nurses and midwives is to check everything, and question everything,” Chloe said.

“If you’re working at more than one workplace, you need to make sure you’re getting paid appropriately to what your skill level is. 

“If you’re doing the same position and asked to work at the same skill level – even if the title is called something else – you should get those previous hours counted. Otherwise you’re missing out on a lot of money.” 

If you have a question or concern about your pay, ask your line manager about it. If you are not satisfied with their response, call QNMU Member Connect on 07 3099 3210 or email [email protected]