ME Bank to help Queensland Health staff affected by payroll debacle
QUEENSLAND Health staff in Cairns have been offered financial assistance by a bank to offset the pain caused by the long-running payroll debacle.
Queensland Nurses Union Far North regional organiser Kaylene Turnbull said there was concern some members could wind up in more financial strife in October when Queensland Health pushes its pay date back by one week.
Ms Turnbull said it could impact on the ability of some staff to fund mortgage payments and other regular deductions.
“We know it’s going to be a burden to them to have to change payroll dates,” she said.
The union is also concerned Queensland Health workers could face further financial pressure when the State Government begins recouping $91 million in overpayments mistakenly made to health staff.
To offset any financial pain, the Queensland Nurses Union, Australian Workers Union and Australian Services Union have negotiated an agreement with ME Bank that is being offered directly to their members.
Under the package, members will be able to overdraw their accounts by up to $2000 without incurring fees for three months.
Overdrawn account fees will then continue to be waived for another three months to help members get their accounts back in the black.
The bank will also offer interest-free personal loans to health employees who were mistakenly overpaid and need help repaying the money.
Ms Turnbull said ME Bank staff will hold a meeting in Cairns on Monday to explain the package to members.
Queensland Health also offered an interest-free loan to help employees repay their debt, but Ms Turnbull said there was hesitation among Cairns members to take up the offer.
“They’re fearful something else could go wrong with their pay and they still feel vulnerable,” she said.
Jamie McPhee, CEO at ME Bank, said “it was only natural” the financial institution offered assistance because it was established by industry super funds to provide industry fund and union members with a competitive banking alternative.
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