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Biggest wages theft in history – 20,000 junior doctors to share huge payout

More than 20,000 junior doctors could share in a multimillion-dollar settlement, believed to be the largest payout for underpayment in Australian history.

Apr 24, 2024, updated Apr 24, 2024
A payout to more than 20,000 junior doctors is expected to be the biggest wages theft in history. (File image).

A payout to more than 20,000 junior doctors is expected to be the biggest wages theft in history. (File image).

The NSW Supreme Court still needs to approve the $229.8 million settlement for a class action against the state’s health department for the underpayment of junior doctors.

The lead plaintiff, Amireh Fakhouri, said she believed the culture was changing to properly recognise the work of junior doctors, in the wake of the class action.

“This was not about us asking for more money; it was simply about us being paid for the actual hours that we work,” Dr Fakhouri said in a statement.

Maurice Blackburn principal Rebecca Gilsenan, whose legal firm is one of two behind the class action, said underpayment has been a problem in NSW hospitals for a long time and the “landmark” settlement was driving change.

“Never before has a wage underpayment class action settled in Australia of this size,” she said.

If the court approves the settlement, doctors who register for a share will be assessed for eligibility later this year.

Dr Fakhouri now works at a Melbourne clinic caring for refugees and asylum seekers.

NSW Health and Health Minister Ryan Park have been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, NSW nurses and midwives plan to rally on Wednesday outside the Hawkesbury District Health Service, in Sydney’s northwest.

They claim they’ve been told accrued leave will not be transferred when the facility becomes government-operated in July.

The government announced in January it was taking over after St John of God Health Care advised it wasn’t renewing its contract to provide services at the facility.

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