New agreement for aged care

Thousands of nurses in the mostly for-profit aged care sector will receive significant wage increases and other benefits under a new model agreement negotiated by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association.

The agreement won by the Association includes at least a 10% pay rise for all nurses over the next three years, and a revised classification structure that rewards nurses for their qualifications and experience.

The agreement introduces higher-paid classifications, such as Nursing Assistant Team Leader and Enrolled Nurse Specialist, (to be introcuded in 2014) and provides a medication allowance for nursing assistants. The agreement, which runs until 30 June 2015, will allow faster pay progression for Registered Nurses with an immediate 20.3% increase for a first year RN.

The union negotiated the agreement with employer representative Leading Age Services Australia NSW-ACT (LASA) which represented more than 100 aged care facilities during the negotiations.

General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, described the agreement as an important step towards paying aged care nurses what they deserve.

“We will now go out to other facilities not covered in the LASA negotiations and encourage them to bargain a new agreement,” Brett said.

He said the Association entered into negotiations having done extensive research including a survey of more than 4000 members.

“The results were used to draw up a log of claims that were endorsed at workplace meetings by active members.

“There was a lot of workplace activity and member involvement, to increase pressure on employers for a fair outcome.

“Members contributed to the union’s research process, attended meetings in the workplace and offsite, distributed petitions and got involved in International Nurses’ Day activities.”

Brett says the updated classification structure will give many experienced Nursing Assistants, Enrolled Nurses and Registered Nurses additional increases on top of the 10% across the board increases.

“There is a big problem attracting RNs to for-profit aged care. We think the improved wages and new classification structure will help encourage nurses into aged care.

“We wanted to make sure nurses in this sector got greater recognition for the work they were performing.”

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What you get

Wage rises for all

4% minimum increase to wages and allowances from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2012.

3% increase to wages and allowances from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2013.

3% increase to wages and allowances from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2014.

A commitment to further wage discussions once the outcomes of new federal government funding arrangements are known.

Rewarding classification and experience

New Nursing Assistant Team Leader classification with a higher wage.

Starting rate for Nursing Assistant Certificate IV at the same rate as Certificate III.

Medication Allowance of 75c per hour paid per shift, meaning a minimum 8% increase to the hourly rate for those appointed.

Expanded EN structure in 2013 and new Enrolled Nurse Specialist classification to be introduced in 2014.

Faster pay progression for Registered Nurses.

Part timers

A three-hour minimum shift length.