The nursing staff at Wongaburra Aged Care situated near Beaudesert will share in $45K backpay after being forced to perform Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) pre-shift.
Commenting on the win Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) Secretary Beth Mohle said nursing staff at the Wongaburra facility were made to either arrive at work 15 minutes early to perform a daily RAT test prior to starting work or have the time taken to perform a RAT deducted from their pay.
She added that the QNMU win could set a valuable precedent for Queensland aged care nursing staff forced to perform unpaid RAT tests on-site prior to beginning a shift.
“The QNMU is very pleased to announce Wongaburra members will share in a total of around $45,000 in back pay and additional penalties,” Ms Mohle said.
“Hard working aged care workers in Queensland’s 400-plus private aged care facilities cannot be made to perform RAT test in their own time.
Anything an employer requires an employee to do is work, for which the employer must pay wages. That’s the law.”
“The QNMU is determined to ensure all aged care employers are properly paying their staff for time spent performing tests associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. If they aren’t, the QNMU will seek to ensure all aged care nursing staff are properly compensated.”
Ms Mohle said the case went before the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on 27 September. She said Wongaburra’s barrister requested a meeting with the QNMU minutes before the FWC hearing was due to commence and the QNMU successfully negotiated a backpay settlement and improved conditions for impacted staff.
“The QNMU wants private aged care employers to know we will not tolerate ongoing attempts to take advantage of Queensland’s invaluable aged care workforce,” Ms Mohle said.
“Aged care nursing staff provide care for elderly Queenslanders when they are at their most vulnerable and should be treated with respect and paid a wage that reflects their incredible efforts.”
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), of which the QNMU is part, is one of the applicants responsible for the 25% aged care wage claim case regarding the Aged Care Award 2010 and Nurses Award 2010 currently before the Fair Work Commission.