In January 2022, Forensicare mental health nurse members overwhelmingly endorsed an Andrews Government EBA offer at a virtual statewide meeting.
- superannuation on paid and unpaid components of parental leave
- parental leave counting as service for long service leave purposes
- earlier access to long service leave
- and improved access to the sixth week of annual leave for weekend workers.
Importantly, the proposed agreement includes a 10.5 per cent wage increase over four years, plus a one-off ‘nurse alignment’ payment that will achieve pay parity with public mental health nurses and general public sector nurses and midwives given the delay in bargaining.
See ANMF’s public sector mental health nurses’/ public sector general nurses’ and midwives’ wages comparison table (PDF).
The proposed wage increases take effect as follows:
- 1 July 2021 – 3% (the effect of the alignment payment is as if this increase applied from 1 December 2020)
- 1 July 2022 – 3%
- 1 July 2023 – 3%
- 1 July 2024 – 1.5%
‘Nurse alignment’ payment
When is a lump sum not a lump sum? When it’s a one off ‘nurse alignment’ payment. This payment is equivalent to three per cent, backdated to 1 December 2020 and is to be made at the commencement of the new agreement. Effectively, this means that when the agreement becomes legally enforceable, and approved by the Fair Work Commission, you will receive a one-off payment, the sum of which will be equivalent to a three per cent payment on your wages between 1 December 2020 and 30 June 2021; it will also be reflected in your leave entitlements and superannuation.
The reason this percentage increase is superior to a traditional lump sum amount is that it is not only applied to your rate of pay but also to your other entitlements such as allowances and leave loading.
This payment will align mental health nurses’ wages with those ANMF achieved in the general public sector nurses and midwives eight-year wages deal (2016–2024).
Among the other improvements in this updated offer are:
- Forensicare to be included as part of the additional 800 EFT of staff agreed in the Mental Health Enterprise Agreement Memorandum of Understanding.
- compassionate leave for loss of pregnancy under 20 weeks gestation (for the primary and non-primary carer)
- up to 20 days paid leave for gender affirmation procedures (and up to 48 weeks unpaid leave)
- recognition of the Advanced Diploma in Mental Health as a relevant qualification for enrolled nurses to access a four per cent qualification allowance.
- Improved backfill processes whereby existing nursing vacancies must be replaced by nurses in forensic community mental health teams
These improvements are on top of ANMFs already agreed claims of additional prison nurse EFT, and commitment to map nurse staffing profiles. Find out more details in our EBA update from 13 January.
What happens now?
Drafting of the agreement is expected to be complete by the end of February 2022, following which there will be a ballot process. Forensicare members will be kept updated at all stages of finalisation of the agreement. Make sure your contact details are up to date to ensure you receive all relevant news: member portal.
ANMF is continuing negotiations with other mental health workforce employers.