New Zealand midwives reflect on vacation boycott as pay woes leave some struggling


Midwife overdraft borrows money for gasoline to attend deliveries after problem with Department of Health payment system that made people swear not to work in future during Christmas times and New Years.

The ministry apologized shortly before Christmas after sending an email to community midwives on call telling them to submit their payroll claims for Christmas.

The email was sent on December 22 – 34 minutes after the apparent closure of the office until January 10. In response to questions from the media, the ministry said it was the wrong day and should have been December 23. He then extended the deadline until noon on Christmas Day. Day before.

But now midwives say that despite filing their claims before the new deadline, on Christmas Eve, some have gone unpaid or only partially paid, with all pending claims decided on January 10 and likely unpaid. before January 20.

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Midwife Gail Kiss was forced to struggle financially over the Christmas break period because of the Department of Health's pay system.

LAWRENCE SMITH / Tips

Midwife Gail Kiss was forced to struggle financially over the Christmas break period because of the Department of Health’s pay system.

The situation meant Auckland’s midwife Gail Kiss was borrowing money to buy gasoline to attend her appointments, including deliveries. She was now in overdraft, her rent payment this week had not been settled, and her family were living on canned food and slaughtered meat at the home given by a new mother.

“I will never work again in December or January if I am not paid,” she said.

A Wellington midwife, who asked to remain anonymous, estimated that around 75% of community midwives on call – or senior childminders – were either unpaid or paid in the dribbles during the break.

Midwives plan to boycott labor during Christmas and New Years after many go unpaid during the holidays.  (File photo)

Provided

Midwives plan to boycott labor during Christmas and New Years after many go unpaid during the holidays. (File photo)

“A large number of midwives are now considering removing the set [Christmas]/ New Years period in the future – if we don’t get paid, we won’t work, ”she said.

Auckland midwife Carly Wilson received her bill at the ministry on Christmas Eve – the extended deadline – and was paid, but said many other people who had filed at the same time did not have it do.

They had been told they would be paid on Jan.10, but there was uncertainty as to whether that was when the payroll would be processed, meaning it could be closer to Jan.20 when the money will appear in their accounts.

Maternities in hospitals will feel the pressure if midwives boycott summer vacation, warns a midwife.  (File photo)

famveldman / 123rf

Maternities in hospitals will feel the pressure if midwives boycott summer vacation, warns a midwife. (File photo)

She confirmed that midwives plan to boycott labor during future Christmas and New Years periods.

“People say if we don’t get paid we won’t work,” she said.

This would put more pressure on maternity hospitals.

“[Midwives] do not have the resources to go through the three weeks without an income, ”she said.

The ministry was asked to check on the situation, describe what was wrong, what it was doing to rectify the situation and how many midwives were affected. He was unable to comment on Sunday as none of the affected staff were working.

The issue of compensation comes at a difficult time for the midwifery world, especially in the Wellington area.

Student midwives recently said they were considering quitting due to low pay.

The Hutt Valley District Health Board has meanwhile hired student midwives to ease the strain on its stretched maternity ward.

The head of maternity units at Wellington and Hutt hospitals resigned at the end of 2021 after just over a year in the post.

Meanwhile, the maternity ward at Hutt Hospital had a series of “red codes” – when a ward is at full capacity due to a lack of available beds or staff – and regular staff shortages.


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