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State Government $5000 graduate bonus FAQ

State Government $5000 graduate bonus FAQ

In 2022, the Andrews Government announced as part of its election commitments, a $5,000 bonus for graduating nurses and midwives in 2022, 2023 and 2024 if they commit to working in the public hospital system for two years. This initiative was the result of ANMF advocacy on behalf of our nursing and midwifery student members.

Who is eligible?

You must:

  1. have graduated in 2022 or are a current nursing and midwifery student who will graduate in 2023 and 2024, and
  2. obtain employment as a graduate nurse or midwife within a Victorian public health service.

You are ineligible if you:

  • have previously commenced a graduate nursing or midwifery program
  • have previously received a department sign-on bonus to commence a graduate nursing or midwifery program; and/or
  • are recruited to a graduate program, or your first RM/RN role outside of the PMCV Graduate Match process.

What are the requirements?

You must:

  1. be currently registered as a nurse or midwife with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA)
  2. have graduated from an eligible Australian undergraduate nursing or midwifery course in 2022, 2023 or 2024
  3. have obtained employment in an eligible nursing, mental health nursing or midwifery graduate program in a Victorian public health service and participated in the Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Match process conducted by the PMCV; and
  4. commenced the graduate program in the same calendar year of course completion or the calendar year immediately following course completion and commenced employment no later than the 2025 mid-year intakes.

When will this be paid?

The sign-on bonus will be paid in two instalments:

  1. the first $2,500 will be paid within three months of starting your graduate year.
  2. the second $2500 will be paid within three months after achieving your two-year milestone. NB: to be eligible for the second payment you must:
    • have been eligible to receive the first payment; and
    • complete two full years of continuous employment within an eligible health service from the commencement date of the graduate program at a minimum of 0.8 FTE or pro rata equivalent.

Will I have to apply?

No, health services will co-ordinate payments to eligible nurses and midwives.

The Department of Health (DoH) will use PMCV graduate match data to identify graduates at each health service. Health services will be asked to confirm this data before receiving the funding from the department.

How will this affect my tax and superannuation?

Both instalments of the $5,000 sign-on bonus are subject to tax. Superannuation is payable in addition to the bonus. Funding to cover superannuation costs will be provided to health services in addition to sign-on bonus funding.

What if I defer my graduate program?

You may still be eligible to receive the sign-on bonus if your deferment was due to one or more of the following circumstances:

  • illness (long-term)
  • injury (long-term)
  • pregnancy/parental leave
  • other special circumstances (such as caring for an unwell family member).

Health services will need to determine whether the circumstances represent a valid reason to defer a graduate program.

First sign-on bonus payments will not be available after 2025 mid-year intakes so if you defer until then you will not be eligible.

Deferment should not exceed one year.

What if I change employers?

If you change employers during the two-year eligibility duration, you will remain eligible for the second $2,500 payment if you:

  • maintain two years of continuous employment within the Victorian public health system from the start date of your graduate nursing or midwifery program and your new employer is an eligible public health service as defined in the Training and Development Guidelines
  • work at a minimum 0.8 FTE for the two-year duration (or pro rata equivalent)
  • provide evidence from your previous employer that you were eligible for the first instalment of the sign-on bonus payment and maintained continuous employment

The health service you’re working at on the final date of the eligibility period is then responsible for paying you.

You must provide evidence to your current employer of your complete work history for the duration of the two years, and it should not contain gaps (see ‘Employment gaps’). If a work history is not provided to your new employer, eligibility for the second payment cannot be verified which may result in forfeiture of the second payment.

What if I experience career interruptions?

You may remain eligible for the second sign-on bonus payment where special circumstances have interrupted your two-year commitment, such as extended unpaid leave. Health services will need to determine whether the circumstances represent a valid reason.

Paid leave, WorkCover and both paid and unpaid parental leave are not considered to be an interruption.

For those on unpaid leave, individuals are required to remain an employee for the duration of their unpaid leave to achieve two-years of continuous work. Those individuals who have taken extended unpaid leave during their two-year commitment must return to paid work before receiving the second sign-on bonus payment.

Unpaid leave cannot exceed one year.

Employment gaps

If you move between eligible employers during the two-year duration and there has been a small gap of employment between finishing at one health service and starting at the next, health services will need to determine if you remain eligible for the second payment. Gaps in employment should not exceed one week (seven days) total over the two years.

What if I work for multiple concurrent employers?

Nurses and midwives eligible for the second instalment of the sign-on bonus can only claim the bonus from a single eligible health service. Payments from two or more health services are not permitted. If you receive a payment from more than one health service, you may be required to repay.