A ballot of all public sector nurses and midwives, to accept the new Nurses and Midwives (Victorian Public Sector) (Single Interest Employers) Enterprise Agreement 2020–2024, will be held from 10 to 16 December.
It is not before time: members endorsed the proposed agreement at a virtual statewide members meeting on 16 April 2020. The new agreement includes significant improvements to entitlements. It also includes the final three pay rises of the 2016 eight-year-wages deal, which lifted Victorian nurses and midwives to net pay parity with their NSW colleagues in 2019. Since then, Victorian public sector pay rises have been higher than NSW.
The legal steps to finalise the agreement were delayed because of a dispute, now resolved, over who it covered. To ensure nurses and midwives were not negatively impacted by the delays, the Andrews Government authorised the administrative implementation of the EBA in June 2021. Nurses and midwives covered by the new agreement also had had earlier access to the new parental leave entitlements for leave commencing after 1 April 2021.
The proposed enterprise agreement is currently out for the seven-day access period. Members can access a key summary document before they vote. An electronic ballot will begin on Friday 10 December. ANMF is recommending a YES vote.
If the majority of votes are YES, then an application for approval will be made to the Fair Work Commission (FWC). If approved by the FWC, the agreement will become legally enforceable seven days later.
What are the improvements in the proposed agreement?
ANMF member secured many improvements in the new agreement. Just some of the key ones are:
- Further wage rises of three per cent in December 2020, December 2021 and December 2022.
- Long-service leave will be accessible at nine years of service (down from 10 years), backdated to begin from 1 July 2021. From 1 July 2022, long-service leave will be accessible after eight years, and from 1 July 2023 after seven years of service.
- Paid and unpaid parental leave will count as service and accrue long-service leave. On FWC approval of the new EBA this will be backdated to parental leave after 1 November 2018 – but you will need to follow ANMF advice that will be issued as soon as the EBA is approved.
- From 1 July 2022, part-time nurses and midwives can access a sixth week of annual leave if they work weekends.
- Improved parental leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks for leave commencing on or after 1 April 2021. The qualifying period will reduce from 12 months to six months. Secondary carer leave pay to increase from one week to two weeks.
- Superannuation payments will continue throughout all paid and unpaid parental leave.
- Up to two weeks paid voluntary emergency management leave. Currently this leave is unpaid.
- The introduction of three days special paid disaster leave due to an event such as flood or fire.
- From 1 July 2023, the Sunday night shift rate will increase for full- and part-time staff from $89.90 (currently $84.80) to $154.60 as an incentive to fill the roster.
- Mandatory crib time (paid meal break) where you are regularly unable to take your meal breaks (including because you are not entitled to leave the ward for the meal break).
- Improvements to post-incident support for nurses and midwives involved in a violent or aggressive incident, including mandating the provision of information regarding worker’s compensation claims and reporting to police.
- Nursing and midwifery managers will receive OHS education and/or support in risk assessment, incident investigation and staff consultation.
- A ban on ward amalgamations that result in an increased workload or patient risk without the agreement of ANMF.
- Any education or training deemed compulsory or mandatory by the employer must occur within an employee’s paid time. No deduction will be made to an employee’s professional development leave for mandatory training.
- Rosters, including on-call rosters, must be posted 28 days in advance instead of 14 days. Currently nurses and midwives receive a $34 allowance if their roster is changed without seven days’ notice. This will now apply for eight to 14 days’ notice, and doubles to $68 if seven days’ or less notice is given.
- A lead apron allowance of $8 per shift.