Two-day ballot opens 9am, Wednesday 13 April
The ballot of all eligible employees to approve the proposed public sector mental health 2020-24 enterprise agreement will open at 9am, Wednesday 13 April and will close at 5pm, Thursday 14 April 2022. ANMF is recommending members vote early and vote YES.
To vote follow these steps:
- Log your computer on to the internet and in the address bar at the top left corner of your web browser (not through a search engine such as Google) enter myvote.com.au/vpmhs or scan your phone’s camera over the QR code shown here.
- Enter your surname, employee number, date of birth and click on the submit button.
- Click on the either the YES or NO box and click on the submit button. ANMF recommends a YES vote. Once you click on SUBMIT you cannot change your vote.
Please note that your personal information is only used to check that you are eligible to vote and that you have not already voted. That way your vote remains secret.
Further frequently asked questions
Following on from the statewide virtual members’ meeting of 11 October 2021, and more recently, virtual members’ meetings held as part of the access period on 7, 8 and 11 April 2022 there were a number of queries that ANMF indicated we would respond to after the meetings. This information should be read in conjunction with the more detailed information contained in the EBA update issued on 1 April – read via anmfvic.asn.au/update1April
ANMF encourages members who have questions relating to clarification about existing entitlements to make those type of inquiries to our Member Assistance service via our online form at anmfvic.asn.au/memberassistance
Please remember that, while these new outcomes have been endorsed overwhelmingly by members, they do not become enforceable until the EBA has been approved by the Fair Work Commission. Terms that apply from a date prior to the Fair Work Commission approval steps will be backdated to the relevant date.
1. How does ANMF decide what claims to pursue?
Each year ANMF and hundreds of our Job Reps and Health and Safety Reps meet at the Annual Delegates Conference. Job Reps and HSRs bring motions, requested and supported by members at their workplace, to the conference for improvements to enterprise agreements, ratios and other issues. The motions are debated and put to a vote. If the motions are supported by the majority of delegates, they then inform the various EBA logs of claims that the ANMF takes to Branch Council for endorsement. We also seek changes arising from disputes or difficulties we have had with existing EBA terms and develop ideas internally to address what we believe will be of benefit to our broader membership.
The Annual Delegates Conference usually happens in June of each year and is scheduled for Thursday 30 June and Friday 1 July 2022.
If you want to become more involved, and you are not an ANMF Job Rep or HSR already, please visit anmfvic.asn.au/reps for information about how to become one.
2. When will I receive my back pay?
The first wage increase and the ‘once off nurse alignment payment’ will be processed after the EBA has been formally approved by the Fair Work Commission. The EBA legally operates seven days after formal approval from the Fair Work Commission.
ANMF has received confirmation that employees who worked for a different public sector mental health employer, covered by the 2020-2024 EBA for the ‘once off nurse alignment’ period of FFPPOA (first pay period on or after) 1 December 2020 to June 30 June 2021, will be paid the nurse alignment payment by their previous employer for that period.
3. Why are nurses not entitled to the ‘annual retention payment’?
The ‘annual retention payment’ is payable only to Mental Health Officers (previously named PSOs under the new EBA. Nurses are instead entitled to the ‘once off nurse alignment payment’ (which is not payable to MHOs). Unlike the flat rate payable under the ‘annual retention payment’, the ‘once off nurse alignment payment’ will have the same effect as a 3% payment on your wages from FFPPOA 1 December 2020 to the end of June 2021 and will be reflected in your leave entitlements and superannuation.
This payment will align mental health nurses’ wages with those ANMF achieved in the public sector nurses and midwives eight-year wages deal (2016-2024). A percentage increase is generally superior to a flat lump sum amount given the additional benefit that it is not only applied to your rate of pay but also to your other entitlements such as allowances and leave loading etc.
Casual employees will also be entitled to the ‘once off nurse alignment payment’.
4. When will the RPN Grade 4 Year 1 uplift apply from?
The uplift of $50 to the amount of $1,950 to address the current anomaly between RPN Grade 3 Year 4 and RPN Grade 4 Year 1, will be applied to the commencement rate in the 2020-2024 EBA. This means that once the EBA is formally approved and legally enforceable, the new rate of $1,950 should be used for the purposes of calculating and applying backpay to FFPPOA 1 December 2020.
ANMF wishes to also correct the previous reference to RPN Grade 3 Year 5. As part of the translation to new agreed structures in the 2016-2019 EBA, RPN Grade 3 structure was revised from 5 to 4 pay increments. The uplift is therefore intended to address the anomaly between the current RPN Grade 3 Year 4 and RPN Grade 4 Year 1.
5. Why aren’t the staffing profiles in the EBA as per ANMF’s Log of claims?
The inclusion of current staffing profiles in the EBA was not an agreed item as part of bargaining. However, as part of reaching in-principle agreement for the 2020-24 EBA, the following commitments in relation to the have been recorded in a legally binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the unions, the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association (VHIA) and the Department of Health:
5.1. In the first 12 months following the making of the Agreement, the ANMF, HACSU, the Department and VHIA agree to undertake the necessary work to map the staffing profiles in bed-based services.
5.2. Once staffing profiles have mapped and agreed to by the parties, these will be set as the minimum staffing level for each affected service, subject to change through local agreement with the ANMF and HACSU.
5.3. These minimum profiles and change arrangements will be recorded in a further MOU or Deed between the ANMF, HACSU, Department and VHIA or by variation to this MOU.
6. How will the 800 EFT agreed as part of the MOU be allocated?
The 800 EFT is to be implemented in the delivery of mental health services over the life of the 2020-24 EBA. In accordance with the MOU, the ANMF and HACSU will be consulted and engaged through the Mental Health Division of the Department in delivery of this EFT, including consultation around how and where the EFT is allocated. This EFT is to be allocated across multiple disciplines. ANMF will consult with its members as part of this process to identify priority areas of staffing shortfall across mental health services.
7. What is the difference between a Clinical Nurse Educator and a Graduate Support Nurse?
The Graduate Support Nurse trial includes an allocation of 6 EFT across St Vincent’s, Mercy Health, Peninsula Health, Eastern Health, Bendigo Health and Barwon Health. This new RPN3 role aims to provide immediate and practical support in an inpatient unit setting to early career nurses. It is distinct from a Clinical Nurse Educator.
ANMF will work to ensure there is a robust evaluation process to try in order to secure funding of this important role in the future.
8. Sixth week of annual leave
A number of members sought clarification about access to the sixth week of annual leave.
From 1 July 2022 both full- and part-time enrolled and registered nurses will have access to the sixth week of annual leave if they work ‘ordinary hours’ on a part of 10 weekends or more over the year. ‘Ordinary hours’ does not include overtime or on-call, and is a term that generally means rostered hours.
Where less than 10 occasions are worked per year you will be credited with a pro rata entitlement.
If you are getting the sixth week of annual leave under the old ‘test’ you will continue to do so even if you do not meet the new test, unless at your initiative you change jobs.
9. I work in a community mental health team, which Community Workload Management System tool do I use?
Members would be familiar with the CWMS tool (Clause 49) implemented over the life of the current EBA. Community teams that work in the continuing care models, including integrated teams which perform both crisis and case management functions, will continue to apply the CWMS tool under the 2020-24 EBA.
For community teams that work under the Acute Community Interventions Service Program, the NEW Crisis Team Workload Management System (CTWMS) tool will apply to you. Examples may include Crisis Assessment and Treatment Teams, Emergency Mental Health, and PACER.
This NEW CTWMTS tool will provide protected time free from direct clinical care each month for nurses, commencing from January 2022 for nurses working 0.9 to 1 EFT and extending application from 1 January 2023 to apply to nurses working 0.4 to 0.8 EFT.
10. Will long service leave apply to casual employees under the 2020-24 EBA?
Currently the way that LSL applies to casual nurses, in particular casual enrolled nurses who derive an entitlement from pre-modern awards, has been the basis of a number of disputes. The 2020-2024 EBA will include a re-drafted comprehensive LSL clause making it clear that all RPNs and ENs (whether full time, part time or casual) will have access to the full entitlement under the Agreement. This means you accrue LSL at 1.7 weeks per year of service (instead of the Long Service Leave Act accrual rate of .866 weeks per year of service).
The aim of the new EBA clause is to ensure that your entitlements which are contained in two different places, the EBA and LSL Act, and are in the one clause.
The unions have agreed to work with VHIA to develop a guide to LSL entitlements to assist members and employers to readily identify how entitlements are to be applied.
11. Relationship with the nurses and midwives EBA
There are two enterprise agreements that apply to public sector nurses (not midwives) one being the current Victorian Public Mental Health Services Enterprise Agreement 2016-2020 that applies to all staff employed in certain public mental health services – that these improvements relate to, and another – Nurses and Midwives (Victorian Public Sector) (Single Interest Employers) Enterprise Agreement 2020-2024.
We usually are able to achieve, as far as possible, the same outcomes for nurses employed under the latter EBA for mental health nurses working under this EBA.
It has been confusing in the past for both for employers and members to be certain of which EBA applies.
The changes to the 2020-2024 Victorian Public Mental Health Services Enterprise Agreement confirm that it is the nature of the ward/unit/department/service that you work in that determines which EBA applies.
A similar change has been reflected in the 2020-2024 Nurses and Midwives (Victorian Public Sector) (Single Interest Employers) Enterprise Agreement. That Agreement also contains an example around the new AOD/MH Hubs within Level 1 emergency departments. These are part of the emergency department, seeing emergency department patients. Hence the ward is the emergency department, and the new Nurses and Midwives (Victorian Public Sector) (Single Interest Employers) Enterprise Agreement 2020- 2024 will apply.
12. How long will the FWC take to approve the EBA if voted up?
It is difficult to say as the FWC approval process operates outside and separate to the unions, VHIA and the Department. The ANMF is committed to ensuring that once voted up, an application for approval will be made to the FWC within the required 14 days from the outcome of the ballot. ANMF is hopeful that if no objections are raised and the FWC does not require any additional undertaking for approval, that the new EBA can be approved within 6-8 weeks.
It is therefore critical that members VOTE EARLY and VOTE YES when the ballot opens, to avoid any unnecessary delays in getting an application to the FWC for approval.