The NZPFU has fielded a series of complaints regarding the non-payment of allowances that are later found to be payable.
FENZ has introduced a process within payroll reporting to prevent duplicate payments/overpayments being made. However, some allowances that appear duplicate in isolation of understanding of the CEA or other factors are in fact valid allowance claims. These issues appeared to occur mainly when firefighters had worked overtime in consecutive shifts, or were working on yellow watch. Some firefighters were not being notified that allowances had not been paid, or the reason for withholding the payment and it was only when employees checked payslips that they realised they had not received all allowances as claimed. Those firefighters raised the issue with the Officer who signed the claim off and in some cases the Officer was also unaware the allowance had not been paid.
The NZPFU informed FENZ we viewed this as unilateral changes to entitlements by payroll without checking with the relevant Officer who had signed the claim or employee concerned. We raised a number of examples where there had not been any communication from payroll, and where the communication was incorrect or insufficient.
FENZ has recognised that the payroll system has identified identical claims as duplicate when in fact they are genuine and payable. FENZ has also addressed the need for clear communication.
Additional processes are being put in place to prevent genuine claims being identified as duplicate, and where duplicate allowance claims are identified the process for notifying the employee concerned and checking the validity with the relevant Officer and/or employee.
The changed process now includes:
- Enhanced SMS in relation to roster Callbacks and now display to the SMS User any additional allowances which are automated by the System. When an absence
occurs in a Roster and a “Replacement” Firefighter is added to the Roster, SMS will automatically identify any Meal or Overtime claims which are
eligible under the CEA. The Callback transaction is created and if either Meal or Overtime allowances are applicable, these will be visible in
the Callback transaction.. There is no need for the Roster Administrator or Station Officer to manually create these allowance claims. If, however,
any additional claims of the same Type are eligible under the CEA, make sure to utilise the Comments field of the allowance claim to clearly identify
WHY the claim is being lodged.
- Where a duplicate has been identified that allowance will be removed from that pay-run cycle to be verified with the manager and employee concerned. The employee will receive an email notifying of a potential duplicate payment had been identified and providing a link for the employee to provide the reason for the allowance claim and the manager’s approval of the claim. If it is not a duplicate the allowance will be paid in the next pay run. There is insufficient time between the identification of the possible duplicate allowance and the notification to the employee and receipt of confirmation of allowance to be able to include the allowance in the original pay cycle so will be in the next pay cycle.
Members are advised to check back through payslips to check whether all allowances claimed have been paid. This advice is particularly relevant for those that have worked consecutive overtime shifts, and/or on yellow watch. If there are allowances outstanding first check with the relevant manager and then email payroll. If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction please contact your NZPFU representatives.