The Victorian Ambulance Union Incorporated, on behalf of their Royal Flying Doctor Service members, filed an application for an urgent listing with the Fair Work Commission in relation to RFDS’s failure to conduct shift allowance reconciliations and make payment of any amounts owing. A conference was held on Monday 8 August 2022 at the FWC to discuss resolution of the dispute.

What is the entitlement?

Under clause 23.2 of the RFDS Enterprise Agreement 2021 (Agreement), you are entitled to a reconciliation payment if the shift allowance you receive is lower than what you would have received under the Award (calculated on your overall Award entitlements including base-rate). RFDS is required to complete a payroll reconciliation on a four-weekly basis and pay you the difference between the Award penalty plus an additional 1%. PTOs are more likely to receive reconciliation payments as their base-rate is closer to the Award.

Clause 23.2 of the EA states:

To ensure that an Employee is better off overall in relation to clause 18.2(g) of the Award, the Employer will complete a payroll reconciliation on a four-weekly basis. If the conclusion is that an Employee is not better off overall, the Employer will make a payment to the Employee of an amount equal to the difference between the amount which would have been payable to the Employee under the Award and the amount payable to the Employee under the Agreement plus an additional 1% of that difference (Reconciliation Payment). The Reconciliation Payment will be paid to the Employee as an adjustment in the pay as soon as possible following the payroll reconciliation process.

RFDS requested multiple extensions and failed to meet all deadlines. The clause provided for in the Agreement has not been paid since its ‘in effect’ date of 22 November 2021 (commencement date). The VAU was instructed by members to ask that the FWC make a ruling on compliance and a time frame for back-pay.

Outcome by FWC

RFDS confirmed to the VAU and the FWC that there are approximately 500 employees affected.

RFDS have made the following commitments:

  1. that the future reconciliation payments will be correct and paid fortnightly, effective from pay date Wednesday 24 August 2022; and
  2. that the back pay owed for the period 22 November 2021 – 07 August 2022, will be issued in an out of run pay cycle two days later, on Friday 26 August 2022.
Next Steps:

The file for the reconciliation remains open with the FWC until payment is received. The FWC requested the VAU advise the FWC if payments are not received by the above dates.

The VAU thanks the members who came forward to raise this issue and secure payment for all RFDS staff to whom it is owed. Any members who have questions regarding their reconciliation, once received, are encouraged to contact their NEPT organisers Kerry and Bruce:

Kerry McLean 0480 194 783

Bruce Fine 0480 194 711


In solidarity