Qualifications allowance paid up

Go ahead received for payment of continuing education allowance to RNs and ENs in public hospitals with additional clinical qualifications.

NSW HEALTH has issued instructions for the immediate payment of the continuing education allowance award provisions after agreement on the implementation process was reached with the Association.

RNs and ENs in public hospitals with relevant further education qualifications will receive an additional payment of up to $32 per week, back-paid to 1 December 2004.

The continuing education allowance was granted by the Industrial Relations Commission in December 2004 to nurses who have obtained additional clinical qualifications relevant to skills and competencies required for their roles.

NSWNA Secretary Brett Holmes said the decision by the Industrial Relations Commission to grant the continuing education allowance establishes an important principle that nurses deserve to be recognised for improving their qualifications.

The allowance for public hospital nurses laid the framework for the Commission’s decision to also award a continuing education allowance to aged care nurses with additional clinical qualifications – as part of the aged care pay case in March 2005. The allowances will also soon be discussed with private hospital members as part of developing members’ next wages and conditions claim.

The continuing education allowance is payable to ENs and RNs who can demonstrate they have achieved additional qualifications in a clinical field that is directly relevant to their work (see Clinical fields for the continuing education allowance table on page 28).

Cynthia Holbeck, RN, works in ED at Camden Hospital and recently obtained an Emergency Certificate from the NSW College of Nursing. ‘It was an intensive course and I learnt extra skills and knowledge that I bring to my role. It’s only fair that my hard work and extra skills and knowledge are recognised,’ she said

‘I’m 44. Many people my age may feel that it’s not worth the effort to obtain further qualifications but I think it is for the sake of our patients and also because it boosts your esteem and you feel better about your work.’

The CNC, CNE, and CNS nurse classifications are currently not eligible for the continuing education allowance. Nurse Managers (Grade 3) and above are also not eligible unless they are able to demonstrate that more than 50% of their duties are clinical work.

However, the Commission has allowed provision to review the details of its decision in November 2005, including the appropriateness of excluding these classifications.

‘The NSWNA will work to have the allowance extended to all nurses who have obtained further qualifications,’ said Brett. ‘We will keep up the pressure to ensure that all relevant qualifications are recognised.’

In order to receive the continuing education allowance, eligible ENs and RNs will need to provide their employer with documentary evidence of their qualification and the clinical field of their employment. Contact your Human Resource Department for details on how to claim the allowance.

Details of the full implementation of the continuing education allowance are available in the Department’s Information Bulletin IB 2005-035, available on the Department’s website.

How much extra pay will you receive?

The allowance is immediately payable, backdated to 1 December 2004 and increases in line with award wage increases.
The current amounts are:

  • RNs who hold a postgraduate certificate in a relevant clinical field receive an extra $15.91 per week.
  • RNs who hold a postgraduate diploma or degree in a relevant clinical field (other than undergraduate nursing degree) receive an extra $26.52 per week.
  • RNs who hold Master’s or doctoral degree in a relevant clinical field receive an extra $31.83 per week.
  • ENs who hold a Certificate IV post enrolment qualification in a relevant clinical field receive an extra $10.61 per week.