Career break scheme introduced

A scheme to allow public health system nurses to take a year off work with pay by deferring part of their previous year’s salary is now in effect.

Under the Career Break Scheme, nurses may apply to defer 20% of their salary for four years, and be paid this deferred salary in the fifth year, taking that year off.

The scheme was introduced under the public health system award and details have finally been approved after long negotiations between the NSW Nurses’ Association and NSW Health.

During the four years, the nurse receives 100% of normal salary with a deduction of 20% from net salary. This 20% is deposited into a trust fund account (not a bank account), which will be established for each nurse approved to take part in the scheme.

In the fifth year – the leave year – deferred salary plus accrued interest will be paid, in either a lump sum or on a fortnightly basis.

Nurses may extend their break by taking annual or long service leave before or after the fifth year, subject to normal approval processes.

Area Health Services will call for applications to join the Career Break Scheme once per year.

Nurses will not be able to work anywhere in the public health system during the fifth year. Normal approval processes will apply to work undertaken outside the public health system.

Nurses are guaranted a return to their previous positions after the fifth year.

The Career Break Scheme has implications for superannuation, salary packaging, payroll deductions and other matters.

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