ANMF (Vic Branch) was advised in mid-December that the draft Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Donor Centre and Clinical Enterprise Agreement 2023 (the Agreement) has been voted YES by an overwhelming majority, with 87 per cent participation of employees in the ballot process.
This outcome followed almost six months of negotiating, three full days of conciliation hearings before Deputy President Colman at the Fair Work Commission, two National Zoom meetings with all states and territories, and the ongoing engagement and activism of delegates, members and officials of ANMF (Vic Branch) and other states.
After Lifeblood’s initial proposed national agreement threatened to remove many entitlements specific to Victorian members, organisation by ANMF and members and the threat of protected industrial action forced Lifeblood back to the bargaining table and resulted in a more acceptable offer.
What improvements did members achieve?
The new three-year Agreement has a nominal expiry date of 30 November 2026. It will see existing employees receive the value of 3.8 per cent on total earnings from 1 January – 30 June 2023 as a lump sum payment (plus applicable superannuation). This was paid in the first pay period following the positive vote, prior to Christmas.
The agreement also stipulates that existing employees will receive a further 3.8 per cent increase to wages backdated to 1 July 2023 (plus applicable superannuation), paid after the Agreement is approved by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
The Agreement was submitted to the commission prior to Christmas for final approval, with the terms and conditions coming into effect seven days after it is approved. At the time of writing, the Agreement is still being reviewed by the Fair Work Commission.
Any member who has further questions or who requires support is encouraged to contact our Member Assistance team.
Among other improvements that Lifeblood employees agreed to are:
- A further 3.8% increase to apply from 22 January 2024.
- A further 3% increase to apply from 1 November 2024.
- A further 2.5% increase to apply from 1 November 2025.
These increases equate to a minimum 13.75 per cent increase in base salaries (compounded) – and up to 31.9 per cent (compounded) for RN grade 3 – over the life of the Agreement for existing employees (including backpay from January 2023).
These rates compare favourably to Victorian public sector enrolled nurse (PS EN Level 1 compared to donor service nurse assistants Grade 1 and PS Level 2 compared to ENs Grade 2) and registered nurse (PS Grade 2 compared to RN Grade 3) equivalent rates, and in several instances will see existing employees paid above current Victorian public sector rates.
New employees who are employed under the new Agreement will be placed on at least the minimum rates listed in the agreement, which are at or very near existing Victorian employees’ rates.
A new clause in the Agreement states that when determining a new employee’s base salary, Lifeblood will consider local market conditions and the candidate’s skills, experience and salary if they have been working in an equivalent nursing role prior to joining Lifeblood. To be equivalent, the role must be relevant to the role offered by Lifeblood and the salary offered will not exceed the maximum of the Salary Band. An employee’s Base Rate of Pay at the start of their employment will be reflected in their employment contract.
Retained Victorian conditions
- Fifth week of annual leave as a baseline
- Sixth week of annual leave for a shiftworker where working 10 or more weekend shifts (now also if on call for 60 or more days)
- Morning shift allowance for shifts starting at or before 6:30am (Monday–Sunday)
- Accident makeup pay for Victorian employees on workover (up to 39 weeks)
- Long service leave terms and access at seven years pro rata – now applies equally to casual RNs
- Existing grandfathered allowances (venesection, seniors and qualifications)
- Existing Vic/Tas employees with greater personal leave accrual rates (the 20 days per year) will be grandfathered.
- Compassionate Leave is maintained at five paid days per occasion.
- Study and Professional Development Leave is retained at six paid days per annum.
- Full-time employees who currently receive an ADO will have this arrangement grandfathered, and accrue at the correct rate of 13 per year.
- Retention of the requirement to consult with unions where major change is proposed, as part of the consultation clause.
General conditions improved
- 5 per cent annual leave loading applies to all five weeks of baseline annual leave (was previously on four weeks).
- Casual RNs will now get long service leave in the same way as all other Victorian nurses/DSNAs (same accrual).
- Periods of personal leave or public holidays on long service leave are not deducted from long service leave accrual.
- 15 days personal leave accrual per year from year 1 of employment.
- Personal leave can now also be used for urgent and pressing necessity leave, medical appointments, and pet emergencies.
- Evidence requirements for personal leave rules improved.
- 14 weeks paid parental leave also applies equally to secondary carer, and super payable on employer paid parental leave.
- Paid family and domestic violence leave – unlimited amount and no less than 10 days per year, for those employees experiencing FDV.
- Excess annual leave thresholds in line with Award Leave (10 or more weeks where accruing five weeks per annum, or 12 or more weeks where accruing six weeks of leave as a shiftworker).
- Paid volunteer leave of one day per annum.
- Paid community services leave.
- Ten days paid ceremonial leave in any one year for an employee who is required by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander tradition.
- Six weeks paid and 46 weeks unpaid gender affirmation leave.
- Paid union training leave has increased to five days per year.
- Redundancy entitlements have nearly doubled, increased from a maximum of 20 weeks currently (at 10 years of service or more) to now be at the rate of four (4) weeks of pay for the first completed year of service, three (3) weeks for each subsequent completed year of service, capped at 39 weeks.
- Retain the four clear days off in each pay fortnight, unless otherwise agreed, and confirms that two of these days off shall be consecutive.
- Where a fortnightly roster applies, employees shall not be rostered for more than six consecutive days per pay fortnight unless otherwise agreed.
- Overtime is applicable where hours are approved by the supervisor on the shift and worked beyond the completion of a rostered shift.
- The skills coach and assessor (SCA) allowance has been increased by $10 per occasion to $22.00 per occasion.
- Pop-up/donor mobile allowance has been increased by more than 15 per cent to $15 per occasion.
- Overnight allowance increases to commence at $110 per occasion for employees who are required to stay overnight in a mobile location.
- Kilometre rate increased to commence at $1 per km.
- Sunday rates increase from 150 per cent to 175 per cent in Victoria.
- Casual employees will have all relevant weekend, public holiday and overtime penalties applied to (compounded upon) their casual rate, not ‘added to’.
- The 50 per cent rule for public holiday payments (where paid leave is counted as ‘worked’ in order to make this assessment over the preceding 12 months) has been included and applies nationwide to all permanent employees.
- Lifeblood’s initial proposed clause which allowed withholding of wage increases where an employee is undergoing performance or conduct review has been removed.
- Split shifts, which allowed Lifeblood to roster two short broken shifts per day – which was strongly opposed by ANMF – has been removed, and will only apply to medical officers who work that pattern in any case.
- DonateLife nurses’ rates have been significantly uplifted.