PHA drops ball on OT payments
The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) has advised that overtime payments to staff at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) have been delayed.
The announcement was made in a memorandum dated March 27 and addressed to all staff of the PHA at PMH.
“We wish to advise that due to extenuating circumstances, overtime payments due for the month of February 2019 to Princess Margaret Hospital staff was unable to be paid as part of our regular payroll cycle,” the memo read.
“We are currently working on processing these overtime payments and anticipate that these will be available by manual voucher by April 5, 2019.
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused as a result and will keep you informed of any changes in the information provided above.”
The statement follows comments from Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands, who said last week that overtime payments for nurses are unsustainable.
“This vexing issue of the shift system gets to the very heart of the challenge that the PHA had a $750,000 overtime bill for one month and that is not sustainable,” Sands told reporters outside Cabinet.
“The imposition that this makes on the public purse, the people of The Bahamas, is huge and we now have to work together in the interest of finding some common ground as to how we can control this runaway expenditure.”
The PHA announced a new eight-hour shift system last November and advised that nurses scheduled to work between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. would be paid $1.75 per hour in addition to their base pay.
The announcement prompted nurses to engage in a sickout and stage several protests. The shift system was never implemented.
In January, The Nassau Guardian revealed that the PHA had exceeded its overtime budget for the fiscal year by $2 million.