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Should ambos pay for someone else’s cockup? [With Poll]

By johnboy 15 November 2012 38

The ABC reports that overpaid ambulance officers are being asked to hand the money back, despite the overpayment not being their fault.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says 80 per cent of frontline ambulance officers have received letters saying they have been significantly overpaid because of errors in personal leave records.

The errors were revealed in a recent audit and were made by Shared Services which is the department responsible for public service pay.

TWU spokesman Ben Sweaney says he has referred the matter to the workplace ombudsman and asked the ACT Government to intervene.

“We’re talking in amounts in excess of $40,000 through shear blunder by executive management and no fault of the officers involved,” he said.

Between the complications of the tax system, loadings, overtime, and variable hours it really is a bit much to expect staff to know what they should be getting paid IMHO.

Should the ambulance service just take it on the chin?

Overpayment of ambos

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38 Responses to
Should ambos pay for someone else’s cockup? [With Poll]
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Antagonist 9:55 am 17 Nov 12

grunge_hippy said :

What a crock. It shouldn’t matter WHAT job you do, if it is the depts fault, then they should cop it, not the worker. Who honestly sits there and analyses every payslip?

having said that, I was overpaid once (about a grand) due to them stuffing up my leave and I had to pay them back. So now I DO check every payslip….

Everyone should be checking their payslip. That is what they are there for. It only takes a few seconds to do. Some people make out like it should take 30 minutes or so … now THAT is a crock. People who do not check their payslips are usually the same people that have trouble keeping up with their timesheets. It is just laziness. Intellectual laziness.

Lets say Katy Gallagher gets overpaid $40k when her pay office makes a mistake setting her forntighly salary. You say she should get to keep it because it is the departments fault? Or a payee that was too slow to submit an application for a couple of days leave without pay gets to keep their overpaid salary? You are going to cost the tax payer a fortune.

grunge_hippy 9:05 pm 16 Nov 12

What a crock. It shouldn’t matter WHAT job you do, if it is the depts fault, then they should cop it, not the worker. Who honestly sits there and analyses every payslip?

having said that, I was overpaid once (about a grand) due to them stuffing up my leave and I had to pay them back. So now I DO check every payslip….

cranky 8:07 pm 16 Nov 12

It would be educational to discover how the pay system works, and whether it is a software problem, or an undertrained pay team.

Whichever way, as another poster has noted, if his staff were underpaid, he’d hear about it immediately, overpaid was accepted. And I agree, would the TWU accept a manager receiving an overpayment being allowed to keep it? In your dreams.

Jethro 7:41 pm 16 Nov 12

troll-sniffer said :

There’s no reason they shouldn’t have to pay it back. However I don’t believe any repayment schedule should exceed 5% of their normal pay, however long it takes to pay it back. And as an employee, you should always know what you are being paid, what your leave entitlements are, and if you suspect that you may have received more than your entitlements for any reason, query it. Could save angst further down the track.

As for your dogmatic attitude Johnboy, seems like it’s an easy call when it’s not your money.

Well, it is his money.. aren’t ambos paid through our taxes?

Jethro 7:41 pm 16 Nov 12

Has shared services employed the payroll people from QLD Health?

Spykler 7:10 pm 16 Nov 12

johnboy said :

It could be ambos have better things to do with their time at work than reconciling their pay slips.

Like scraping blood and guts off the road and putting broken people back together.

Agreed JB- consider it a bonus for the horrors that they have to deal with pretty much daily..

Brianna 6:02 pm 16 Nov 12

johnboy said :

It could be ambos have better things to do with their time at work than reconciling their pay slips.

Like scraping blood and guts off the road and putting broken people back together.

Agreed! I have to admit, I barely look at my pay slips. I don’t understand all the leave and how it’s worked out. Perhaps they don’t have the time and/or inclination to check their pay slips? Comparing their pay to what a overly windy politician gets and I’m quite happy for the ambos to keep what they got!

troll-sniffer 5:36 pm 16 Nov 12

There’s no reason they shouldn’t have to pay it back. However I don’t believe any repayment schedule should exceed 5% of their normal pay, however long it takes to pay it back. And as an employee, you should always know what you are being paid, what your leave entitlements are, and if you suspect that you may have received more than your entitlements for any reason, query it. Could save angst further down the track.

As for your dogmatic attitude Johnboy, seems like it’s an easy call when it’s not your money.

Antagonist 4:49 pm 16 Nov 12

DrKoresh said :

Antagonist said :

Where do we draw the line between those who are worthy, and those who are not?

Maybe the line should be drawn between people who ride in the back of an ambulance saving lives, and those who don’t. Doesn’t seem like that big an issue to solve to me, more a case of a slippery slope logical fallacy. Besides, it’s not like this is a routine thing, it’s a one-off case, not something to have a bitch-fest about.

It is more routine and less one-off than you might think. I doubt Shared Services would be prepared to give an exact figure of ACTGS staff having an overpayment recovered, but you can be sure that it is a lot more than 100 at any given time. Agencies even used to keep overpayment registers to try to keep track of them. The only thing special about this case is that it involves Ambo’s.

Police, firies, doctors and nurses also perform heroic acts on a daily basis, but we still expect them to pay money back if they are not entitled to it. Even if the overpayment is not their fault. They should pay it back just like every other payee in the ACTGS. In effect, they have already been given an interest free loan. Now you want to turn it into a repayment free loan too? I’m pretty sure the ambo who was overpaid $40k would be cheering … his partner who was one of the 20% paid correctly will not be nearly as joyous.

Lets say for arguments sake that the $40k overpayment occurred over a period of 5 years. Would you notice an extra $8k per year? I would notice if I was getting an extra $300 per pay. Or an extra day of leave every pay.

Chop71 4:26 pm 16 Nov 12

DrKoresh said :

Antagonist said :

Where do we draw the line between those who are worthy, and those who are not?

Maybe the line should be drawn between people who ride in the back of an ambulance saving lives, and those who don’t. Doesn’t seem like that big an issue to solve to me, more a case of a slippery slope logical fallacy. Besides, it’s not like this is a routine thing, it’s a one-off case, not something to have a bitch-fest about.

Saving lives eh,

Well the Doctors also save lives, so may the radiographer, surgeon, nurse or the police … even the fireman and ACT emergency services. Just add every other HERO out there. Just pay back the money.

on a side note, I was wondering are these guys heroes? They also rode an ambulance for a while.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-15/police-investigate-ambulance-drug-thefts/4314404

DrKoresh 3:31 pm 16 Nov 12

Antagonist said :

Where do we draw the line between those who are worthy, and those who are not?

Maybe the line should be drawn between people who ride in the back of an ambulance saving lives, and those who don’t. Doesn’t seem like that big an issue to solve to me, more a case of a slippery slope logical fallacy. Besides, it’s not like this is a routine thing, it’s a one-off case, not something to have a bitch-fest about.

Antagonist 1:57 pm 16 Nov 12

Tetranitrate said :

chewy14 said :

Over what time period were the overpayments made?

If it was like five years then maybe I could understand but if you’re suddenly getting a whole lot extra in your paypacket, I’m pretty sure you’d know about it.

Just like if the bank throws an extra $40 000 in your account, if you’re not entitled to it, then cough up the cash. The fact that they’re Ambo’s makes absolutely no difference.

The time period is certainly important – to be honest I probably wouldn’t have noticed anything odd if for instance, an overtime or weekend loading was paid as 2.1 instead of 1.9 and had been that way for years.

It would take an awful long time to build up a debt of $40k+. I am having trouble understanding how such a significant overpayment can relate to Personal Leave. That is a lot of leave.

I don’t really agree that the debts should just be wiped. Why write the debt off for some staff as ‘karma’ points, but not for say … the rest of ACTGS staff in ACT Health. And roadworkers. And senior executives. Where do we draw the line between those who are worthy, and those who are not?

Tetranitrate 1:03 pm 16 Nov 12

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Chop71 said :

johnboy said :

2CC reports the ambos have won.

#$%^ me dead, So because some humpty couldn’t process pays properly ACT taxpayers have been slugged extra funds to prop up ambos pays. One guy got a $44,000 bonus. wow, reading your weekly payslip must be like playing lotto for these guys.

do not be a knob. It should not be seen as a bonus, but instead be made into a permanent pay rise. Its a really crappy job and the ambos are heros of society on a daily basis.

So have the people responsible for this miss been disciplined/sacked yet?

Tetranitrate 1:01 pm 16 Nov 12

chewy14 said :

Over what time period were the overpayments made?

If it was like five years then maybe I could understand but if you’re suddenly getting a whole lot extra in your paypacket, I’m pretty sure you’d know about it.

Just like if the bank throws an extra $40 000 in your account, if you’re not entitled to it, then cough up the cash. The fact that they’re Ambo’s makes absolutely no difference.

The time period is certainly important – to be honest I probably wouldn’t have noticed anything odd if for instance, an overtime or weekend loading was paid as 2.1 instead of 1.9 and had been that way for years.

Mr Evil 12:43 pm 16 Nov 12

So the TWU would be equally happy if the CEO of a major transport company or a senior public servant was overpaid by $40 000 or more, yet didn’t have to pay it back?

I’m sorry to say this, but if you can’t work out the sort of pay you should be getting for the hours worked – even if you are doing a lot of overtime – you really aren’t very bright.

chewy14 12:35 pm 16 Nov 12

DrKoresh said :

chewy14 said :

Over what time period were the overpayments made?

If it was like five years then maybe I could understand but if you’re suddenly getting a whole lot extra in your paypacket, I’m pretty sure you’d know about it.

Just like if the bank throws an extra $40 000 in your account, if you’re not entitled to it, then cough up the cash. The fact that they’re Ambo’s makes absolutely no difference.

The fact they’re ambo’s makes all the difference in the world, I reckon you’ve just got a taste of sour grapes because this didn’t happen to you.

But you aren’t an ambo so… suck it up, those folks are heroes.

I’m a hero too. I put on a cape and fly around my house fighting crime all the time.

Pullleaaassse. Doing a job you’re getting paid for doesn’t make you a hero. They have a hard job, they provide an essential service and they do good work but so do tens of thousands of other people. Doesn’t mean they deserve a $40K bonus.

It’s got nothing to do with sour grapes or jealousy, they’re legitimate questions about how the stuff up was made and how long it’s been going on for.

If they were getting paid an extra $50 a week for many years then I could understand not being made to pay it back but if they were getting a few hundred extra a week then they should have known they weren’t entitled to it.

Postalgeek 12:15 pm 16 Nov 12

Being an ambulance officer is a job which is in no way comparable to a typical desk job.

Having said that, unless these errors are applied equally to the pay of all ambulance officers, there are ambulance officers who do not benefit from this ‘bonus’, which is not a recipe for good morale.

Chop71 11:55 am 16 Nov 12

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Chop71 said :

johnboy said :

2CC reports the ambos have won.

#$%^ me dead, So because some humpty couldn’t process pays properly ACT taxpayers have been slugged extra funds to prop up ambos pays. One guy got a $44,000 bonus. wow, reading your weekly payslip must be like playing lotto for these guys.

do not be a knob. It should not be seen as a bonus, but instead be made into a permanent pay rise. Its a really crappy job and the ambos are heros of society on a daily basis.

Doing you job doesn’t make you a hero.

just like having some form of accountability doesn’t make me a knob.

nice try though 🙂

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