Nurses laments “unpaid overtime”


A handful of nurses have expressed disappointment over the deduction of their working hours in what they believe is an “illegal” move by the Ministry of Health, referring to their overtime.

One Senior Nurse, Ti’amalo Joe told Radio Polynesia that some nurses including him, are not getting paid overtime and they are only getting their regular salary of 80 hours for two weeks.

Also, they are not getting High-Risk Allowance accorded for frontliners. 

“We are looking at challenging the move by the Health Ministry’s payroll division in Court for illegally cutting our working hours, of what we believe […] was our sacrifice to serve and manage our patients while the whole country is [under] Covid19 lockdown.”

Repeated efforts to get comments from the Director-General of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri and Minister of Health Valasi Tafito Selesele were unsuccessful.

Ti’amalo says as professionals there are ethics that needs to be upheld and as nurses working as frontliners the Ministry has an obligation to its staff, including nurses.

He said not all nurses are affected by the payroll deduction.

Ti’amalo a male nurse for the Labor Room at the Moto’otua National hospital says the safety of their patients are their “paramount priority, and the nature of our work has to be well addressed by the Public Service Commission and the MoH payroll division.” 

According to Ti’amalo, more than 20 hours were deducted from his salary. 

Adding they are camping at the hostels as they cannot go home for fear of exposing their families and their patients when returning to work is a risk they did not want to take.

“We understand we do have working conditions enforced by our PSC to guide your payroll system.

“So the question is, are you saying to us that leaving our vulnerable parents and children at home while we tried to contain the spread of the Covid19 virus in the hospital and care for affected patients at the same time as an emergency response services is not a working condition,” asked Ti’amalo. 

Adding that while everyone enjoyed the comfort of their bed, they worked long hours to cover for short staff. 

“More than half of our staff got infected with the virus and were forced to stay isolated as per health mandates.”

Ti’amalo also pointed out that the MOH should consider they are exposed to the virus on the daily basis and it is life-threatening but the move by the Ministry to deduct their salaries is not only disheatenring but also discouraging.”