Over-Payment of Officership Allowance

The Fire Service has advised the Union that in the calculation of back pay paid in Pay 13 last year (which effected the C.A. coming into force from 1 January 2007), the Officership Allowance was also back-dated to 1 January 2007, whereas the commencement date of the allowance was 1 July 2007. In effect the allowance was paid for six months where it was not required to be paid.

Because of the way the back pay is paid, it is not obvious that any over-payment was made.

The back pay was paid as two separate lump sums – one apparently salary and the other for Overtime and Allowances.

The pay slip therefore provides no indication that either of these amounts includes an Officership Allowance payment.

The Fire Service wished the Union to collectively agree to options to recover the alleged over-payment. The Union rejected such an approach. Essentially the Fire Service proposed:

  • A one-off payment of the alleged over-paid allowance; or
  • Regular fortnightly deductions; or
  • Ceasing payment of the Officership Allowance for six months.

As far as the Union is concerned, any recovery of the alleged over-payment is a matter between the Fire Service and the individual. You must agree to any repayment option – the Fire Service cannot unilaterally recover from your wages any over-payment made.

If no such agreement is forthcoming from an individual and the Fire Service wishes to pursue recovery, they would need to take legal action against each individual (potentially approximately 450 Officers) to sue for recovery.

In the course of the discussions, the Union made the point that the way the Fire Service pays back pay provides totally inadequate details of the makeup and the calculation basis of the back pay.

It is not at all surprising that those who received the alleged over-payment were unaware that an Officership Allowance was allegedly included.

At the very least before anyone considers any options for repayment, the Fire Service must provide sufficient information for any individual to be sure that an over-payment has in fact occurred.

Black Watch Workers – Enabling Performance Agreement

Part 4 of the C.A. (Clause 4.5.1) provides:

“Employees will be provided with performance and development reviews using the Enabling Performance Agreement format at least every six months. No employee shall progress under Part 4 - Clause 2 if their performance is assessed as being below requirements or unacceptable”.

This provision does not affect the payment of increased wages arising out of C.A. negotiations – it relates specifically to moving from one step to the next.

The Union has become aware of the Fire Service’s wish to significantly change the way in which performance reviews are to occur – through a process called “Success Factors”.

The Fire Service has not provided the Union with any information regarding this change let alone discussed or consulted with the Union.

What little the Union does know is that what is proposed does make significant changes to the previous practice caught by the title “Enabling Performance Agreement”.

Consequently, the Union advises Black Watch members that there is no requirement to participate in the “Success Factors” programme.

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By the closing date for nominations for the position of Hamilton Local Vice President, the following nomination has been received.

Notice to Auckland Local Members

Following a trial taken in Auckland Central District, and in the interest of providing Firefighters with consistent and quality post fire management, both Counties Manukau and Waitemata Districts have undertaken to rollout Post Fire Management Capability in their Districts. This resource has been funded locally at the request of the Auckland Local.

Election of Hamilton Local Vice President

Nominations are hereby called for the following position in accordance with the Rules of the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union.