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'Unfair' and 'insulting': Midwives outraged after being told they won't get paid until next year

Author
Emma Russell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Dec 2021, 10:05am
Midwives outraged after unexpected email from the Ministry of Health. (Photo / 123RF)
Midwives outraged after unexpected email from the Ministry of Health. (Photo / 123RF)

'Unfair' and 'insulting': Midwives outraged after being told they won't get paid until next year

Author
Emma Russell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Dec 2021, 10:05am

Midwives are outraged after an unexpected and delayed Ministry of Health email popped up in their inbox yesterday informing them they wouldn't be paid until January 10 next year. 

The email, seen by the Herald, was sent at 4.04pm yesterday advising Lead Maternity Care (LMC) midwives that they had until 3.30pm that day to make a pay claim, otherwise they couldn't be paid for another two weeks. 

Essentially, they had already missed the deadline when the email landed. 

"My mum is a midwife and can't get paid till the 10th of January. She cant afford to have a holiday or buy food herself," midwife's daughter told the Herald. 

She said it came with no prior warning and there were lots of families who would be suffering at Christmas and New Year. 

"They need to be heard, this is so unfair," she said. 

The ministry email said: "We are writing to inform you that the Ministry of Health Sector Operations team will be unavailable from 23 December 2021 to 9 January 2022. We will be resuming office hours on 10 January 2022. 

"The last payment for 2021 will be made on 24 December 2021, which will include all approved claims up to and including 3.30pm on 22 December 2021. Claims approved after 22 December will be made on 10 January 2022." 

The Ministry of Health has been approached for comment and the Herald was awaiting a response. 

Furious midwives took to social media, with one saying: "What an absolute joke! [...] it's one thing not to pay someone til next year, but they haven't even given us warning that this was coming. 

"This is just so insulting. So many midwives had their wages reduced due to the new payment schedule and now they want to make it impossible to get paid. How will midwives pay their bills if they aren't able to get paid," she said. 

The email comes while the midwifery sector was already struggling. 

Reports of student midwives considering quitting over poor pay and the head of Wellington and Hutt hospitals' maternity units leaving after a string of "code reds" - when a ward is at capacity due to lack of available beds or staff - and regular staff shortages.