MECA FAQs – Expenses
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Clause 28.0 (page 38 of your MECA).
Costs of training are reimbursed (or alternatively the DHB may pay directly) under the MECA if it is training undertaken in the pathway to obtaining vocational scopes of practice including various diploma courses. This includes:
- examination fees;
- college fees (annual cost of membership of relevant postgraduate colleges);
- course and conference (training programme related costs);
- travel and accommodation incurred as a result of training e.g. to and from courses and examinations;
- required textbooks;
- you are also entitled to reimbursement of the costs of the MCNZ recertification bPAC programme.
It is generally non-contentious whether a cost is a reasonable one and one which is relevant to your training. There are only a few areas where we find members are met with resistance from the DHBs so if you think your costs are ‘reimbursable’ but the DHB thinks differently, get in touch with us.
The MECA does not stipulate a particular timeframe in which the DHB shall reimburse costs claimed – the wording states ‘on the production of receipts’. However, the DHB must not be unreasonable so… if you are experiencing difficulty with the untimeliness regarding receiving your reimbursement then we suggest ‘cc-ing’ the RDA into email correspondence with the employer. Where required we can always follow up with the DHB on your behalf.
We strongly suggest that (if you have not done so already) you complete and submit a career plan. The plan should indicate that a particular course (for example) is appropriate to your vocational scope of practice pathway.
In addition, you may wish to have a conversation(s) with an SMO working in the department regarding future plans and your vocation in this area. Ask if they are able to vouch for you in writing in respect of (1) your chosen pathway and also that (2) a particular training cost, such as a course or an examination is appropriate to your chosen pathway as outlined in your plan. However, remember, this is a MECA entitlement. The absence of the above does not preclude claiming.
The DHB where the expense occurs and the receipt is submitted is the one who pays. There are swings in roundabouts with this, so for example, Auckland DHB might have paid a cost of training for one RMO but the course or exam happens 6 months later when the RMO is at Taranaki or vice versa. This is reinforced by the MECA which refers to reimbursement on production of receipts, given most RMOs pay for these things well in advance, it is not uncommon for the reimbursement to fall to a DHB prior to the undertaking of the event – this is the case even if you carry out the majority of the training at an alternative DHB.
Also note that training costs are not dependent on the relevant department approving (or not approving) the reimbursement. It is not your responsibility to go and ‘check’ with a particular department and see if they can ‘afford’ it.
If you are being promoted from house officer to registrar and transferring DHBs, your transfer expenses will be reimbursed. See clause 31.1 of your MECA.