NPAQ gets industrial win when all hope looked lost

Nurse Wins dispute with employer


When our member's husband was offered an exciting work opportunity in Sweden, she was excited.

Not only did the six-month job spell good things for his career, it was a chance too for the whole family to enjoy an educational and bonding experience. And given she had plenty of leave owing to her after nearly 10 years working as a nurse with a private Queensland company, she was certain taking the necessary time off would prove no problem.

That did not prove to be the case however.


Nurse Wins with NPAQ supportShe asked for unpaid leave eight months in advance of the move to Sweden – and was told no. She then asked for long service leave instead. And they said no again, even though she had made sure there would be staff available to take over her duties in her absence. Finally, she asked if they could just pay out for unused long service leave, and the answer was still no.

It was time to turn to NPAQ for help, and the legal team confirmed she had a strong case under the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, to payment of her long service leave entitlements.

Despite a mediation hearing however, her employers still refused to change their decision. A hearing date was then set for February this year, by which stage she had already resigned.

The employer challenged the case and tried to get it thrown out, and then the hearing got pushed back to April. The day before that hearing took place, they contacted NPAQ with an offer – and this time it was they who heard “no”. There is no compromise or negotiation on employee entitlements.

By that stage, our member would rather have got nothing at all from them than take half. Later that day they agreed to settle in full.

The whole process ended up taking 12 months to resolve, and while it was stressful and frustrating, the end result made it all worthwhile. The support of the NPAQ made it possible for our member to stick with pursuing it and not walk away.

It was hard work - constantly justifying things she should not have had to justify such as why it was necessary for her and her children to go to Sweden with her husband. She was made to feel she was in the wrong even though all she was doing was asking for what she was entitled to.

Our member has recommended NPAQ to her nursing colleagues as she found the service supportive, the entire experience very positive.