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Ask Maddy: How do I determine my classification, grade and rate of pay?

Ask Maddy: How do I determine my classification, grade and rate of pay?

Madeleine Harradence, Assistant Secretary of ANMF (Vic Branch)

Information for  about the 2020-24 public sector nurses and midwives enterprise agreement.

For registered nurses and midwives – first look at Clause 83 of the EBA.

Part 1 (clauses 83.1 – 82.3) explains the scope of the clause and the applicable definitions;

Part 2 (clauses 83.3) sets out the classification descriptors for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives;

Part 3 (clauses 83.4 – 83.6) sets out the application process for Clinical Nurse/Midwife Specialist positions, the transfer arrangements of CNS/CMS status to a new employer, and when the requirements of continuing to meet the CNS/CMS criteria must occur; and

Part 4 (clauses 83.7 – 83.38) sets out the grades that apply to your classifications as set out in Part 2 or clause 90.

If you cannot find a description of your role there, try clause 90.

For enrolled nurses – first look at clause 82 and 35.2

For registered undergraduate students of nursing (RUSONs) and registered undergraduate students of midwifery (RUSOMs) see clause 85A

What is the difference between a classification, a grade, an increment and a pay code?

Classification means the term the EBA uses to describe your position (regardless of the local job title at your workplace) – for example After Hours Co-ordinator (which attracts one of the NM5 grades). Each classification, and a descriptor, can be found in clause 82 (for enrolled nurses, and also see clause 35.2) clause 83 (most commonly for registered nurses and midwives) clause 85 and clause 90.

Grade means the salary grade applicable to your position as described in the EBA – this grade determines your minimum salary, for example NM5 is a grade. Under previous agreements common grades were Grade 3A or Grade 4B, these have been subsumed into the new grading structure.

Sub-grade refers to a grade that has multiple salary points, for example the CAPR3 Grade has two sub-grades, CAPR 3.1 and CAPR 3.2.

Increment refers to a grade that has multiple salary points, but progress through those salary points does not require a change in role and is typically achieved with a year of experience. An example of this is what earlier EBAs referred to a Grade 2 Nurse or Midwife, who (for example) on their third year of experience progresses from Grade 2 Year 3 to Grade 2 Year 4, now RN/M3 to RN/M4 under the new structure.

Pay code is an alphanumeric code used by payroll to describe the grade that you are employed at. For example, a Grade 2 Year 3 nurse had a pay code of YP4, and a Grade 2 Year 3 midwife had a pay code of YS3, and enrolled nurses had pay codes beginning with IB. Pay codes play no role in the EBA but are referenced for convenience in the salary tables. With the expanded classifications in the new EBA, a number of new pay codes have been created to accommodate this. Your pay code is usually found in your salary payslip.

What if I cannot find my classification in the EBA?

Contact our Member Assistance Team via the online inquiry form, providing a description of your role. Our MAT staff are familiar with the EBA and most of its intricacies.

What if there is no EBA classification for my role?

The EBA seeks to comprehensively provide classifications and grades for all nursing and midwifery roles. But it also recognises that there are emerging roles that may not have a current EBA classification and grade.

In that case the matter is referred, under Clause 14, to the “Statewide Industry Panel”.

The Statewide Industry Panel (Panel) can undertake (relevantly) the following functions:

Determine applications regarding classifications where:

  • an employee’s position or position the employer proposes to create is not subject to an existing classification in the Agreement
  • an employer proposes to create a position not subject to an existing classification in the Agreement
  • there is a dispute about an existing classification
  • a dispute about which the categorisation of the campus or health service.

When to make an application to the Panel

It is critical that members make contact with ANMF if their employer has made an application, or the member recognises that they do not have a classification.

  • an employer should notify the Panel within 14 days of becoming aware of the absence of a classification
  • by the ANMF if the employer has been notified in writing of the intention to make an application to the Panel; and 28 days have elapsed since that notification.
  • by the ANMF after 28 days have elapsed for a new position where the employer has not notified the Panel.
  • Either the employer, or the ANMF, can make an application to the Panel regarding a dispute about an employee’s classification where the Parties have attempted to resolve the dispute at the workplace first.

What does the Panel consider?

The Panel will utilise available research-based skill matrices and other relevant material and determine the classification on the inherent requirements of the position, not those of the individual in the position.

The Panel may otherwise inform itself in any manner it sees fit including seeking the views of an expert advisor (who is not an employee of the health service subject of the application) agreed to by the Panel to provide clinical expertise in an area of nursing or midwifery practice in relation to the classification matter under consideration.

How does the Panel arrive at a conclusion?

The Panel will determine applications by majority.

A determination of the Panel will be considered binding unless either the ANMF or VHIA make an application to have the determination reviewed by the Fair Work Commission within 14 days of receiving the Panel’s determination.

What happens in the meantime?

The determined grade will apply from the date of the application, or a later date determined by the Panel. Until the determination of the Panel, the existing grade (where relevant) will continue to apply.

I am in an advanced practice role without an EBA classification, should I make an application to the Panel?

No. The ANMF, the employers, and the Victorian Department of Health (DOH), have agreed to develop and finalise classification descriptors for the CAPR* classification stream (liaison, clinical coordinators and advanced practice) and associated translation arrangements. Pending the outcome, it is not the intention of ANMF or the employers to pursue ad hoc classification reviews of these roles.

To support this, DOH will engage a consultant/s to undertake the classification development work and identify potential options for resolution. These options will be discussed between the ANMF, VHIA and DOH with a view to reaching agreement on and finalising the classification descriptors.

If the DOH, ANMF and the employers are unable to agree on any classification descriptor after considering the options identified by the consultant the outstanding classifications will be referred to a mediator for resolution.

Once all matters are agreed, the final proposals of classification descriptors will be issued to and finalised by the Panel.

(*Clinical, Advanced Practice, Research (CAPR) stream)

I am a Unit Manager, what level should I be?

All NUM and MUM positions in place in 2019 were classified across one of three levels, according to their responses to criteria.

The ANMF, the employer and the DOH are intending to create clear industrial criteria during this EBA to apply to all NUM and MUM positions.

In the interim, new or significantly changed NUM or MUM positions will be assessed against the 2019 criteria.