As members will be aware, there have been significant delays and challenges in getting the appropriate systems in place or updated to accurately reflect the changes resulted from the collective bargaining settled in December 2022.
The time this has taken is unacceptable. The failure to find a fix for this problem earlier has resulted in even more work for those working on the system due to the need to backdate appropriate records.
There are leave and payroll issues that have been outstanding for 8 months. FENZ finally bolstered the staffing in payroll but that did not immediate resolve all payroll issues, and or other systems issues such as SMS updates.
In December 2023, after many meetings with various FENZ personnel over the previous 12 months, the NZPFU was emphatic the outstanding matters from the collective agreement bargaining, and we were taking advice on action including seeking the assistance of Government Labour Inspectors and litigation.
Finally we have some progress on the following matters:
Working overtime on a public holiday – Comms Centre Dispatchers update
In 2022 the Employment Court agreed with the NZPFU that the correct methodology for calculating the correct pay rate for overtime on a public holiday was to calculate what the employee would have earned including the overtime and then multiply that by 1.5. Prior to this judgement firefighters and comms centre dispatchers were only being paid 1.5 whether they were rostered to work, or were working overtime on public holidays.
FENZ finally started to pay firefighters the correct rate from Labour Day last year.
Comms Centre dispatchers have had a very long wait but they should receive the correct rate for overtime hours worked on Waitangi Day this coming pay day.
FENZ has dedicated personnel calculating the backdating. This is not a basic task as the 2.25 is only applied to the hours worked on the public holiday that were worked as overtime. FENZ has indicated that it will have made significant progress with a target date of the end of March 2024
QSL balances in SMS– Part 2 of the CEA (Firefighters and Officers)
SMS had to be updated for a number of changes resulting from the collective bargaining including to increase the QSL entitlement from 5 to 10 days. This has been a significant problem for many of our members and their managers as they have not been provided with an accurate record of QSL leave accrued and/or used.
FENZ as notified staff that the SMS changes have been made and all balances have been reviewed and adjusted to correct the balances. FENZ also state they have manually checked to ensure the correct payments have been paid when QSL used for unworked overtime.
FENZ is now calculating what employees are owed and intend to make those payments in the 21 February 2024 payrun.
Birth and adoption leave entitlement increase (all members covered by the CEA) in SMS
For Part 2 (Firefighters and Officers) and Part 3 (Comms Centre dispatchers) four days’ special leave and for Part 4 (VSOs, Trainers and CRR and RRs) five days’ special leave for a worker whose partner is giving birth or adopting a child. This was an increase to provide for a full set off for rostered members and a full week off for Part 4 members. The purpose of the leave is attending to the partner and family needs at the time of the birth or adoption and is separate from and in addition to other forms of leave available.
The SMS system for Part 2 and Part 3 have now been updated and FENZ states they have checked all requests made since July 2021 to ensure the correct entitlement was being implemented.
Part 4 leave is managed through Homebase and the 5 days leave had already been implemented.