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Bonuses for 210,000 Queensland public servants amid pay freeze


More than 200,000 Queensland public servants, including those whose enterprise bargaining agreements were not finalised received a $1250 bonus payment, despite the imposition of a pay freeze.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has released new figures showing 54,680 public servants received a bonus payment after she announced a pay freeze.

Palaszczuk announced the controversial freeze in April, in response to a campaign by The Courier-Mail tabloid newspaper, effectively putting a 12-month pause on the government’s 2.5 per cent pay rise policy. She later clarified that the freeze would begin on July 1.

The pay policy had also, since September 2019, included a $1250 one-off, taxable, pro-rata bonus for non-executive public servants.

Answering a question on notice from the Opposition, Palaszczuk said that, as of April 22, 155,615.05 full-time equivalent eligible employees covered by 21 public sector bargained outcomes had been given a bonus payment.

An updated answer was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, showing bonuses had been paid to a further 54,679.94 FTE eligible employees covered by 13 agreements where bargaining had not been finalised before the pay freeze. Palaszczuk said those employees included “frontline health workers”.

While the number of individuals could be even higher than the 210,000 FTE positions, paid pro rata, the government distributed $263 million in bonuses as it sought to save around $500 million through the freeze. A Budget update is due next month.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to delivering job security for government workers and honouring conditions negotiated as part of wage agreements while also delivering a one-year freeze to defer base wage increases during the 2020-21 financial year in response to the financial impacts from COVID-19,” Palaszczuk said.

“These savings will ensure that the Queensland Government remains in a sound budget position to continue to provide job security for government workers while investing to support jobs in the broader economy.”

The Government has also granted additional paid leave to frontline public servants.

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