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NSW junior doctors win biggest settlement for underpayment

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Junior doctors across NSW have won $230 million in an underpayment settlement, the highest for a class action in Australia.
NSW junior doctors have bagged $230 million in Australia's largest class action settlement.

The NSW Government has agreed to pay up to $230 million in a settlement for junior doctors who claimed underpayment and missed meal breaks between 2014 and 2020.

The class action, where many people are represented by one entity, did not go through a full trial. Instead, NSW Health and lawyers representing the junior doctors reached the agreement earlier this week.

It is Australia’s largest underpayment class action settlement ever.

The settlement

Junior doctors launched a class action in 2020. They accused NSW Health of not paying them for some periods of overtime, unrostered hours, and the correct amount of superannuation.

Some workers also alleged they missed meal breaks due to over-work, and were never fairly compensated.

Legal action was dropped in the state’s Supreme Court as settlement negotiations got underway.

NSW Health agreed to settle the class action for $230 million. The settlement also covers the underpaid work of junior doctors in the 10 years after December 2014.

NSW Health

In a statement to TDA, a NSW Health spokesperson said: “It is very important to NSW Health that all employees, including junior doctors, are paid correctly and on time”.

Additionally, it said systems have modernised for overtime claims to help avoid any additional underpayments.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said he wants to see broader cultural change to ensure “junior doctors know what their entitlements are”.

Consequently, he added medical staff should be able to “speak up” if they’ve possibly been underpaid.

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