The Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan was brewing with tension Tuesday afternoon and according our sources, members of the auxiliary staff, were threatening to go on strike. This was because they claimed that their over-time, which they had already worked for, would not be paid to them this coming Friday. We spoke to the Hospital Administrator, Bernadette Nicholson, who was able to confirm what was happening. Ms Nicholson says that the Hospital Administration took immediate action and called for an urgent meeting to solve the imminent confrontation.
“When we found out that our staff members did not get paid overtime for this month, the end of February, we decided to call a meeting with the staff to let them know that this is the situation. They voiced their concerns, and we promised that by the end of the day we will look into it, and see what we can do to rectify this issue.”
Ms Nicholson explained that administration was able to trace the root of the problem to some inaction on the part of staff members in the accounts department.
“We found out during the course of the day that because of some inaction of a few members of staff in the Accounts Department, they did not get in their overtime on time. We sought to look into the matter, and find a solution to it with the kind office of the Accountant General and our CEO, Dr. Allen. We managed to get assistance from them to have their overtime be paid by Tuesday the fourth of March. So the issue has been solved.”
But even though a general consensus was agreed upon, some members of staff still expressed some concerns regarding their income tax. Bernadette Nicholson explained.
“They had a concern that getting paid all the overtime at the end of March for two months will affect their income, because of the Income Tax bracket they may fall into. I promised them that I am going to look into if they are going to fall into that category, and see what we can do. We have no power over the percentage of Income Tax that we pay. That is set in law. So there’s hardly anything we can do about it, but I want to assure then that it might come out to the same thing.”
The auxiliary staff members will be paid their overtime for the month of February by Tuesday the 4th of March.