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Ratios in private aged care agreement a first

An enterprise agreement ANMF (Vic Branch) has negotiated with TLC Aged Care provider includes minimum staffing ratios and a skill mix clause – a first in Victorian private aged care for a major network.

ANMF (Vic Branch) acknowledges that TLC is an industry trailblazer for agreeing to staff to resident ratios and setting an example for other private aged care providers. TLC has 11 aged care facilities with two more being developed (one being the merger of two existing facilities into a 260-bed mega facility in Geelong).

The agreement is a step in the right direction, stipulating that there will be a minimum of two registered nurses in most TLC homes on AM shifts and three registered nurses on AM shifts in homes with more than 150 beds. On night shift in larger homes, an enrolled nurse will be rostered in addition to the registered nurse after hours coordinator.

The clause sets a minimum staffing (excluding director of nursing/care manager) of:

  • one nurse/carer per seven residents on an AM shift
  • one to eight on PM shifts and
  • either 1:20.5 or 1:22.5 on night shift, depending on whether the home is in Group 1 or Group 2. (Groups are largely based on size, with Group 2 homes mostly above 130 beds).

The new enterprise agreement includes wage increases of 10.25 per cent over four years and the introduction of two weeks paid parental leave for the primary carer and one week paid parental leave for the secondary carer.

The agreement also commits TLC to a default position of replacing staff absent on personal or annual leave on a ‘like for like’ basis, unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a sudden drop in occupancy.

Under the agreement, TLC can roster short shifts to cover peak workload periods but must roster sufficient staff to cover the ratio care hours for that shift. For example if the PM ratio of 1:8 in a 105 bed facility means 13 nurses and carers across the whole shift, this totals 110.5 nurse/carer ratio hours (13 staff x nominal length of PM shift at 8.5 hours).

TLC has also agreed to an increase in the minimum engagement for part-time staff to three hours.