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NI nurses may have to wait longer for owed salary payments

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”

Garrett Martin

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.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • The tax people used a wee pension I had of £275 per year as my salary & taxed my main job as basic rate!!!
    I am well out of pocket & tax people say I might get it this month, I have had to use a credit card to get me through this last two weeks before pay day, if any other workers were short they would strike.
    As usual this was a money saving scheme that is not fit for purpose, they claim it affects those with two jobs, they forget that these nurses have to have two jobs because we don't get enough in our first job, I'm fed up with the lot of them!!

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  • You do realise that you can claim any over-payments back from the tax? I was on an Emergency tax code for a few years, and used it as an excellent piggy bank, with a whopping cheque every April allowing me to see the world!

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  • Glad to hear you used your money wisely, this glitch has happened N Ireland cos they had to save millions, the ward sisters are now responsible for checking special duty payments every month manually, they have got rid of an entire payroll service, as usual nurses get to pick up the pieces with no training, we also have to provide "floor walkers" on the ward to help staff with any queries related to their pay!! Who else would be expected to do this extra work?

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