Nurses in Northern Ireland may have to wait several more weeks to get back money wrongly taken out of their pay packets, according to unions.
The Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland has described the situation as “deeply unsatisfactory”.
Thousands of nurses in the country have been affected by payroll mistakes following the introduction of a new system, as reported by Nursing Times earlier in May.
“It may not be until the end of this month that people get the money that is owed to them and that is deeply unsatisfactory”
More than 7,000 NHS staff employed by Northern Ireland’s five health and social care trusts have been hit with nurses disproportionately affected.
The mistakes include the overpayment of National Insurance and tax, with many nurses on multiple contracts put on an emergency tax code.
Garrett Martin, deputy director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said the National Insurance issues had now been resolved.
“The National Insurance issue has been resolved with most people who had their pay arrears taken out put back to them on Tuesday, but there remains a significant tax issue,” he said.
“They are doing what they can to resolve the issue and the glitch in the system relating to national insurance has been sorted but the issue with tax has not been fully resolved.
“The communication to staff from trusts in relation to this is that it may not be until the end of this month that people get the money that is owed to them and that is deeply unsatisfactory,” he said.
Primarily those hit work at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, according to the RCN.
Many nurses who have both substantive and bank contracts have been affected.
The union’s main office has so far been contacted by more than 120 individual members and will be making representations on their behalf. Many more have contacted local union reps.
“One of the problems is that HMRC and the trusts are saying it’s the other who is responsible,” said Mr Martin.
Trusts have set up hardship arrangements and can issue cheques to those worst affected.
But Mr Martin added: “There is still an issue with communication. [They] have set up helplines but staff have not been able to speak to someone. “Don’t set up a helpline if there’s no one at the other end of it.”
He remained confident that the situation would be fully rectified.
“None of our members will be owed a penny,” he said. “The overpayments will be resolved.”