Trust but verify is the appropriate truism when you’re being paid by the public health service. Mistakes in your payslip can add up to big amounts if left unreviewed and uncorrected. You must take some personal responsibility with your payslip – it’s your money.
Knowledge is Power
Financial empowerment comes from being able to verify you are being paid what you are owed. There is certainly a level of satisfaction that comes from this – a satisfaction that will be heightened if you can read your payslip and help others understand theirs.
I want everyone who reads this post to “learn one, do one, teach one”. This post is your learning. Review your own payslips. Then go out in the world and help one of your friends check their payslip by teaching one.
Reading your payslip is a skill that I hope contributes to your financial independence and empowerment.
Understanding the EBA
To understand your payslip, you have to understand the agreement we are all paid under in Victoria – the Doctors in Training 2018-2021 agreement. You can grab a copy of the agreement for some light reading.
The fundamental components of your pay as an Intern/HMO – Registrars are slightly different.
- A base rate of pay for 76 hours per fortnight
- A Continuing Medical Education allowance (CME)
- Shift loadings to compensate for unsociable hours
- Weekends – 50% loading
- Nights – 25% loading
- Public holidays – 150% loading
- Evening shift until midnight – 2.5% of your fortnightly base pay
- On-call payments
- 150% for the first 4 hours in a fortnight
- 200% beyond that
- Public holidays not worked – paid at base rate
- Conference, sick, annual and other leave
An example with a real payslip
The description of what you’re being paid is listed under the “Allowances” heading. Hours is self-explanatory, and when multiplied by the rate gives you the “This Pay” total.
This payslip shows, in order
- 75.25 hours of base rate pay (10.75 hours x 7 shifts)
- 0.75 hours of makeup base pay – because we are full-time staff they have to pay a minimum of 76 hours
- No annual leave used this fortnight
- 10 hours of overtime at 200% (hourly rate of 75.61 = 2 x 37.80)
- 53.75 hours of night shift loading at 25% (hourly rate of 9.45 = 0.25 x 37.80)
- Note that all shifts worked in this fortnight were night shifts. However weekend loading (50%) superseded the night shift loading (25%) for shifts worked on weekends. They do not stack.
- 21.50 hours of weekend loading
- Public holiday not worked (7.6 hours x base rate)
- Note that 7.6 hours come from a 38 hour week/ 5 days = 7.6 hour average day
- Continuing Medical Education allowance of $101.34 per fortnight
Common problems to look out for
- Not being paid for all the hours that you work, including overtime that has been approved
- Inappropriately shifting or “smoothing” your hours so that the overtime paid is lower
- Not paying public holidays not worked
What to do if there’s a mistake?
You should start by talking to your HR department. Often these are genuine mistakes, and people will work quickly and diligently to rectify them. If there is disagreement or conflict, discussing with your AMA representative or your colleagues may help you find a path forward. Make sure you let your colleagues know about mistakes you find on your payslip – they might not be checking theirs! Hopefully this page can help you talk them through the process.