Aged care nurses and the Nurses Award 2010

The lower minimum wages and conditions in the new Nurses Award 2010 mean it’s important for nurses working in aged care to negotiate an Enterprise Agreement.

If you work in residential aged care nursing and are not yet covered by an Enterprise Agreement, then you are now under the new Nurses Award 2010 – not the Aged Care Award 2010.

The Nurses Award 2010 replaced State-based awards for aged care on 1 January.

NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda said, ‘Some aged care employers mistakenly believe aged care nurses are covered by the Aged Care Award 2010. But the Aged Care Award 2010 only covers non-nurses working in aged care.

‘If you are doing nursing work in aged care then you are covered by the Nurses Award 2010.

This applies to RNs, ENs, AiNs and nursing assistants working under the national industrial relations system who aren’t already covered by an Enterprise Agreement,’ said Judith.

‘If your employer says you are covered by the Aged Care Award this is not correct.’

In last month’s Lamp we reported that many nurses working in aged care could lose up to $300 a week under the new Nurses Award 2010, unless they negotiate an Enterprise Agreement.

From 1 July 2010, phasing arrangements apply to wages, casual loadings, penalties and loadings. However, some protection from cuts in take-home pay is already available from Fair Work Australia.

Judith Kiejda said: ‘Over half of the NSW aged care industry is already covered by agreements that provide real wage increases and improvements in conditions. The best way to protect your pay and conditions and guarantee future increases is for you and your colleagues to ask your employer to bargain for an Enterprise Agreement, with assistance from the NSWNA. The first step is asking all nurses at your workplace to join the NSWNA so you are in a strong bargaining position.’