The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) has begun paying out $750,000 in overtime owed to employees for February 2019.
The announcement was made in a memorandum dated March 27 and addressed to all staff of the PHA at PMH.
Overtime payments for February were delayed due to extenuating circumstances, the PHA said.
Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) President Amancha Williams told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that those payments started on Wednesday and will be completed by Friday.
“We are very pleased to know that they have seen the importance of paying their workers, and we truly want to thank the minister for intervening and we want to thank corporate and the director of finance,” she said.
“…We would like in the future that it not happen that way.
“It creates more tension in the working environment when you tell someone that you are not going to pay them for something that they have already done, when they have already worked and sacrificed.
“[It is] not just nurses, but all the workers, because they sacrificed to provide for their families. A honest day’s work is an honest day’s pay.”
Williams said she understands that there are almost 700 payments in checks that the PHA will be paying out.
The matter follows comments from Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands, who has said 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 has said.
“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.”
Asked yesterday about the BNU’s relationship with the PHA, Williams said, “We have always had a relationship [with PHA] from the former director. We are not going to let anyone stop us from having a relationship with our managing director, no matter who sits in that position.
“We need an open door policy with the managing director because we represent the most employees that are working in the healthcare system, which are nurses.
“And we don’t want a closed door. You get nothing done with a closed door. We must learn how to sharpen our skills at the bargaining table.”