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Public sector EBA update 7: members unanimously reject government’s offer and direct ANMF to apply for a protected industrial action ballot

Public sector EBA update 7: members unanimously reject government’s offer and direct ANMF to apply for a protected industrial action ballot

Members who could attend meetings, held at multiple venues across Victoria on 21 March 2024, were provided a report back on progress of negotiations for the Nurses and Midwives (Victorian Public Sector) (Single Interest Employers) Enterprise Agreement 2024-2028, with the current Agreement expiring on 30 April 2024.

In October 2023, ANMF provided each of the employers, and the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association (VHIA) who represent them, with a log of claims that reflected the matters we sought addressed in bargaining. This log of claims was developed from Delegates Conference resolutions, member concerns raised with ANMF, and strategies developed by ANMF.

Since then, ANMF has made itself available to meet with the VHIA at least two days a week, where the ANMF explained each of its claims, and in many cases exchanged draft clauses with the VHIA to make sure the claimed entitlements would operate effectively through the new enterprise agreement. As of 18 March 2024, there had been 23 all-day bargaining meetings. In between those meetings further work is done on refining draft clauses.

The ANMF has also responded to the two sets of employer claims made by VHIA: one for standalone community health centres, and one for the remainder of the public health services.

On 1 March 2024, the ANMF wrote to the Victorian Government seeking a comprehensive response to all our claims and that this be provided ahead of the statewide meeting.

On 19 March 2024 ANMF received a comprehensive state government approved response and offer from the VHIA.

The offer

To understand the offer, members need an understanding of the Victorian Government wages. While our public sector members are not directly employed by the Victorian Government, it is the Victorian Government that runs, and funds, public health services.

Any change that is seen as a cost by the Treasury Department, according to government policy, must be paid for by identified and agreed cost offsets in bargaining, or it results in a reduction in the EBA wage increases.

Hence the offer is essentially split between ‘cost items’ and ‘non-cost items’.

  • 32 of our ‘non-cost items’ have been agreed in all or in part (see Part 1 below)
  • 5 of our ‘non-cost items’ were not agreed (see Part 2 below).

None of our claims that Treasury considers a cost have been agreed (for a full list of these items see Part 3 below).

Instead, we were offered:

  • 3% per year increase to wages and allowances, plus
  • 0.5% calculated on the salary base (which equates to about $1500 per year for a full-time employee) – not part of wages (but taxed) dependent on how it is structured.

Member response

Members were not happy about the number of claims that have not been addressed, and similarly with the proposed wages offer.

Members, whilst supportive of the progress made within the non-cost items, unanimously rejected the offer given the total lack of progress in relation to their ‘cost’ claims.

Where to from here?

Members directed ANMF to:

  1. Hold further negotiations on the unresolved aspects of the claim, with a particular emphasis on wages and allowances.
  2. Make an application to the Fair Work Commission for a protected industrial action ballot order.
  3. Hold a further statewide meeting, at a single metropolitan venue, as soon as practicable following the declaration of the protected industrial action ballot (this is likely to be late April, early May).

The next meeting is unlikely to be a paid meeting.

ANMF will provide detailed information about the protected industrial action ballot process, and what that means, in coming weeks.

Disappointingly, we are aware that some members were refused time release to attend the paid meeting, even where night duty staffing levels were maintained. ANMF has a duty, if not an obligation, to provide and receive feedback on progress of negotiations. Members have a right to be kept updated. Employers should be ensuring their employees’ voices are heard. We thank the majority of employers who were supportive of releasing members.

Additional information for stand-alone community health centre ANMF members

ANMF recently hosted a very well attended meeting of members employed in community health services that are not operated by a public health service, i.e. standalone community health services. These services are nevertheless covered by the same EBA as public health services.

The matters raised by members at that meeting, that are particular to standalone community health services, have been raised in negotiations and draft clauses provided, however there is not agreement on those matters so far.

Status of ANMF claims

Part 1 – agreed non-cost items (in whole or in part):

  1. All respondents to the current EBA to be respondent to the replacement agreement.
  2. Amendments to reflect the National Employment Standards (NES) where more beneficial.
  3. Amendments to reflect State Industrial Relations Policy where more beneficial (and/or a clause referencing their application).
  4. All existing EBA terms to transfer to the replacement agreement unless specifically amended by this claim or agreed in negotiations.
  5. Update Workplace EBA Implementation Committees (WIC) to be mandatory and include a Central WIC.
  6. The extension of transport being provided to the employee by the employer following overtime, including the return journey, when their vehicle remains at work (not just double shifts).
  7. Paid ten-minute breaks during overtime.
  8. Being allowed to retain a buffer of accrued annual leave prior to starting maternity leave in order to allow a safeguard on return to the workplace.
  9. Employees being able to take long service leave in days rather than week blocks if desired.
  10. Amend RUSON/M clause to include master degree students working as RUSON/M.
  11. Extend RUSON/M employment to when you commence your graduate year.
  12. Improve rates of pay for RUSON/M and add capacity to work casually.
  13. Increase number of RUSONs/RUSOMs/RENs per ward per shift.
  14. Introduction of Registered Enrolled Nurse Students (RENS).
  15. Improved transition-to-retirement arrangements.
  16. Amendments to roster consultation clause to ensure family and caring responsibilities are considered in decision-making.
  17. Right to take annual leave and LSL in conjunction with parental leave.
  18. Amendments to anti-discrimination clause to reflect and respect diversity, accommodation of caring responsibilities.
  19. Training occurs in paid time (on rostered shift) but, if necessary, overtime is paid when completed out of hours.
  20. Skill mix to include operating theatres, recovery units and paediatrics, i.e. 1/3 RN greater than three years’ experience, 1/3 RN with one to three years’ experience, and 1/3 graduate RN/ENs.
  21. Agreed approach to prevent sexual harassment.
  22. CNS/CMS applies from date of application if successful.
  23. (Re)inclusion of a component of a course being the trigger for receipt of a qualification allowance.
  24. Amendments to improve access to LSL and annual leave records.
  25. Limits on fixed-term contracts.
  26. Simplify access to sixth week of annual leave.
  27. Family violence leave paid as if at work.
  28. Amendment to existing Ceremonial Leave term to reflect additional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural obligations with respect to mourning.
  29. Introduction of sustainability nurse/midwife representative (SNR/SMR).
  30. Ability for SNR/SMRs to access protected time to undertake sustainability activities.
  31. Access to conference leave for climate-related conferences for SNR/SMRs.
  32. Integrating environmental sustainability into WICs and other local committees.

Part 2 – non-cost items not agreed:

  1. Gender transition/affirmation leave.
  2. Definitions to be added to describe the work of a nurse practitioner.
  3. Positive obligation on the employer to recover overpayment to salary packaging.
  4. Requirement for an employer to ask for qualifications as part of recruitment process.
  5. Evidence for qualification allowance to include where the employer knew, as part of the recruitment process, that you held the qualification.

Part 3 – other items not agreed:

For the purposes of the meeting, we grouped these into seven categories, as follows:

Cost items – the top 7

Wages and allowances (Part A)

  1. Wage increases above government policy

Government policy

  • 3% per year increase, plus
  • 0.5% calculated on the salary base (which equates to about $1500 per year for a full-time employee) – not part of wage (but taxed)

All EBA costs are meant to come out of the above, i.e. a cost item agreed to:

  • Must be met by identified and agreed offsets; or
  • Reduces the wage increases above

Wages and allowances (Part B)

  1. Increased superannuation (OTE)
  2. AM shift allowance
  3. Improved Sunday rate
  4. Increased overtime penalties and on-call allowances
  5. Leave loading on all annual leave
  6. Annual increase in qualification allowance for experience following additional qualifications
  7. CNS/CMS experience payments to reflect and retain experience and expertise
  8. Employers to cover the cost of any mandated checks
  9. Telephone allowance to also apply to work use of personal mobile phones
  10. Amendments to lead apron allowance
  11. Minimum numbers of preceptors, preceptor allowance
  12. Working away from home allowance
  13. Hyperbaric dive allowance

Reducing casualisation

  1. Redeployment minimisation – home ward, allowance if too much redeployment etc
  2. Extra benefits for more EFT
  3. Change-of-roster allowance and shift penalties for overtime shifts (aka doubles)
  4. Improved night duty arrangements (150% of current; > % if more than x weeks; Friday and Sunday nights; Permanent night shift)
  5. Weekend rates for Friday and Monday night shifts
  6. Ensuring wards/hospitals have sufficient staff employed to cover foreseeable absences
  7. Right to disconnect


  1. Improved meal breaks clause
  2. 8:8:10 rosters for LRH, Echuca Aged Care, Alexandra Aged Care
  3. Consecutive days off
  4. Changes to test for FWAs (unjustifiable hardship)
  5. Non in-charge time for ANUMs/AMUMs and supernumerary status
  6. Commit to trialling of a four-day fulltime-working week
  7. An employee participating in the midwifery continuity of care model is not obligated to work non-model shift to cover staffing shortfalls
  8. Review and reduce caseload for COC midwives


  1. Increased annual leave
  2. Personal Leave while on LSL
  3. Recall from annual leave
  4. Improved compassionate leave
  5. Special disaster leave to ‘three days per occasion’
  6. Pre-natal leave for assisted fertility (kind of)
  7. Menstruation and menopause leave
  8. Improved personal leave
  9. Improved paid parental leave
  10. Inclusion of definition of a week’s pay (and a day’s pay for LSL purposes) and define normal weekly hours of work
  11. Ten days paid leave for employees who have responsibility for someone with a disability
  12. Five paid days per calendar year to volunteer for not-for-profit health aid organisations
  13. Improved portability of service
  14. Easier access to personal leave (more single days, stat decs)
  15. Expanding the definition of care beyond the nuclear family to allow staff to nominate who they care for based on individual circumstances, whether traditional family or not
  16. Special paid leave for infectious diseases/isolation
  17. Study leave quantum and access for ENs becoming RNs


  1. Ensuring CNCs etc. apply in stand-alone Community Health
  2. Postgrad midwifery employment model
  3. Research nurse structure anomalies
  4. NUMs and MUMs to translate to two-level structure with agreed definitions
  5. Liaison nurses etc
  6. Endorsed midwives
  7. Deletion of ‘Major Hospital’ definition
  8. Nurses and midwives to have professional and operational responsibility through nurses and midwives
  9. Senior midwife positions
  10. New classifications for ‘team leaders’
  11. Amend definition of post basic for CNS/CMS to include masters and double degree entry
  12. Nurse practitioner candidates to be paid at CAPR 3.2 (clinical nurse consultant B) after the first year of candidature and until endorsed as a nurse practitioner
  13. CN1 pay rate to apply to community ENs
  14. No-lift coordinators to be paid the same regardless of funding


  1. DWG and HSR claims
  2. OVA claims
  3. Biannual theoretical and practical education in safe manual handling be mandatory
  4. Nurses and midwives having access to independent ongoing psychological support of their choosing at no cost
  5. Improvements to accident make-up pay (when on WorkCover)


  1. Nurses/midwives must be involved in disciplinary matters about nurses/midwives (not just HR)
  2. Different threshold for triggering recall for emergency on-call staff
  3. Overtime payable until underpayment rectified by payroll
  4. Ensure carparking is available and at a reasonable cost

Update your details

If the ANMF and your employer do not have matching correct details you will not get to vote with your ANMF member colleagues to support taking protected industrial action. This is because the ANMF must provide a list of members to the ballot agent, and each employer must provide a list of their employees who would be covered by the new EBA. Only those who appear on both lists will get to vote.

This can be tricky if, for example, your ANMF membership is under your married name, and your employer records are under your pre-married name. This is why it is critically important that you login to the member portal to check the contact details we have on file, and update them if required. Equally as important is to then ensure that your employer has the same correct details.

The details that must match include surname, first name, middle name, date of birth, work email, private email, mobile, postal address and if you work for more than one public sector employer.

The more ANMF members who participate, the more likely we will achieve a better outcome.