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Nurses union criticises leaked redundancy script

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

Queensland Nurses’ Union secretary Beth Mohle

The Queensland Nurses’ Union has uncovered a redundancy script provided to Queensland Health managers.

QNU secretary Beth Mohle described the script, which was leaked to the union from several sources, as “very clumsily done”.

“We understand the necessity to have some guidance for managers in this terrible situation,” she said.

“For our members it adds insult to injury.

“There’s no easy way to sack someone and health workers have never been in this situation.”

The redundancy script comes as Queensland Health moves to axe 2750 full-time equivalent positions in a bid to curb costs.

The script suggests managers tell their staff either “you were not the most capable person for the available role” or

“your position no longer is required in the new structure”.

It also provides two options with employees told to choose one option within two weeks.

One option is to take a voluntary redundancy with a severance payment, at two weeks’ pay per year of service, and an incentive payment of either $6500 or 12 weeks’ pay.

The second option states the worker can be redeployed at the same level in a vacant Queensland Health role but if the transfer has not occurred within four months a retrenchment may be considered, in which case the employee will not be entitled to a voluntary redundancy payment.

Ms Mohle said jobs at Townsville were the first to go with the announcement that 45 full-time equivalent nurses would be axed while other nurses in the old office corporate structure have also been affected.

Ms Mohle said the union will fight “every single job cut”.

“We don’t accept the need for it at all,” she said.

“It can end up in a forced redundancy. We will fight each and every one of those.”

Ms Mohle said nurses and also the wider community can voice their opposition to the job cuts and service cuts through the union’s online campaign, which includes an active petition.

She said there was also a function on the website where members could alert the union to issues while the community can also “tip off” the union to any cuts to service delivery.

Ms Mohle said any members presented with redundancy options should immediately contact the union for support.

Here is the complete, unedited Queensland Health script that the QNU has released:

Suggested manager script for informing substantive employees their role is no longer required in the new structure – one on one

Thank you for coming in today.  I understand this is a difficult time.

We’ve had to make some tough decisions following the approval of our structure.  Our branch’s core business is now <insert core business>.  This means unfortunately not all employees are now needed to deliver these priorities.

It is greatly regretted your substantive position is one of those no longer required here in the <insert branch>.  This means that in the near future, you will be offered a voluntary redundancy.

(I understand you have been with the department for <insert timeframe>).  You have made a significant contribution to Qld Health and the public sector <insert some examples>.

Consultation about implementation

We are consulting with affected staff and, where relevant, their unions, about the implementation of the changes

We are investigating ways to avoid or minimise the impacts of the changes

We welcome your input into this process and welcome any suggestions you may have

What does this mean?

I realise this might come as a shock and may be difficult for you to digest.  I appreciate this news will have a significant impact on you.

Firstly I’d like to explain why you do not have a role in the new structure.  Following the <insert how schedule was filled>, it was determined

<you were not the most capable person for the available role.  I know you have made a significant contribution to the department and have done some good work, but unfortunately there were other individuals who were deemed to be more suitable>.


<your position no longer is required in the new structure>.

Your options

I would like to ensure you understand your options and obligations.

You will be provided with two options to consider and once the offer is made, you will have 14 days to decide. I’d like to give you more detail now about these options.

Option one

Your first option is to take a voluntary redundancy which includes a severance payment and an incentive payment.

The severance payment is two weeks pay per year of service in the public service and a proportionate amount for an incomplete year of service paid at your substantive level.

The incentive payment is $6500 or 12 weeks’ pay at your substantive level, whichever is greater.

These payments will be taxed as a bona fide redundancy.

<If relevant: Please note, being a part time employee will mean your entitlement will be calculated accordingly. There is no provision to revert to full time prior to the offer being made as this is regarded as a contrived benefit>

You will also be paid any outstanding recreation leave and long service leave entitlements.

The offer of voluntary redundancy will include an estimate and a validation of your leave and service history.  It will also provide information about any overpayment that may be outstanding.  A separation date will be also advised.

Option two:

Your second option is to become an ERP, which means you will be given assistance up to a four month period to be placed at level in another vacant role within Qld Health or in another department.  We may initiate a review earlier than four months if reasonable placement efforts have been undertaken and a transfer opportunity is unlikely to occur.

If you choose to become an ERP, you will be allocated to the Qld Health Placement Team and they will act as your case manager in this process.

It’s also important to understand a voluntary redundancy payment will not be offered to you at the conclusion of the period, if you have not been successful in finding a vacant position.

If at the end of the period, you have not found a position, a review will be conducted. Where a review determines that reasonable placement efforts have been undertaken and it is not appropriate to continue these efforts, the retrenchment will be considered.

You will be provided with an opportunity to demonstrate why proposed retrenchment is not reasonable, before a final decision is made.

If you do not return the letter accepting a voluntary redundancy within the 14 day period, you will be considered to have elected to become an ERP.

Qld Health support for you at this time

Again I want to reiterate I appreciate this is an incredibly difficult time for you and those around you.

Qld Health is here to support you during this time and I would strongly encourage you to utilise the confidential and free Employee Assistance Program for counselling and career advice.

It is important to note, this service can only be accessed while you are still employed at Qld Health so I would urge you to contact them as soon as possible.  However, if you have accessed these services prior to exiting the department, you are eligible to take advantage of the remaining number of sessions following your departure.

Employee Assistance Program:

1. http://qheps.health.qld.gov.au/eap/home.htm - contact PPC Worldwide on 1300 361 008 (24/7)

2. Statewide Hotline 1800 239 074 (7am – 9pm every day)

To recap and further information

To recap on our conversation today, you now have two options – to either take a voluntary redundancy or become an Employee Requiring Placement.

Following this meeting today, I will set up another face-to-face meeting with you in two days time to check in.  This will be an opportunity for you to ask further questions.

I understand this is incredibly tough and you are welcome to take a break for some fresh air or to phone a family member or friend.  Please remember you are not the only one being told this news today.  Please be mindful of others who are also affected and remember the expectations of the code of conduct.

Do you have any questions?

If you have future questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

Thank you for your time today.

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