Win on mixed shifts

NSW Health nurses and midwives who work mixed shifts will be better off under a new method of calculating Additional Days Off (ADOs), negotiated by the NSWNMA.

The NSWNMA and NSW Health have negotiated a better way of working out accrued ADOs.

From 21 October, the ADO accrual method for full-time nurses and midwives is based on hours worked, rather than counting shifts.

This represents an important win for members who work ‘mixed shifts’ – that is, shifts of varying lengths – in a roster cycle.

The NSWMA has argued for years that these workers were disadvantaged by NSW Health’s method of working out ADO accruals.

Under the previous system, the ADO calculation was based on a rostered shift count and assumed a fixed shift length of eight hours.

One ADO was added to the ADO balance after every 19 shifts.

Under the new system, the ADO calculation is based on actual hours rostered.

It ensures that five per cent of the hours rostered for each shift contribute towards the ADO balance.

For example, an employee who works a 40-hour week now accrues two hours towards an ADO.

NSWNMA General Secretary Brett Holmes said the previous 19-shift count system was only effective for those who work either an eight or 10-hour shift system.

However, it disadvantaged people doing mixed shifts.

He said the union identified the problem during a dispute before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission several years ago.

“Members were contacting us and saying something was not right, and they were correct,” Brett said.

“This is a very significant outcome and one that has taken years of patient and diligent work.

“It came about due to the persistence of a great number of members who did not stop raising their concerns just because Health agencies had an unshakeable belief that the IT system in place could not be wrong.

“I congratulate those members for their dogged pursuit of this issue, and I’m proud that the Association was able to convert these concerns into a practical solution, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and NSW HealthShare.

“It will directly benefit many of our members.”

Additional types of leave contribute to ADO accrual

He said the union was confident that for the overwhelming majority of nurses and midwives on mixed shifts, the transition to the new system would either validate the accuracy of their ADO balance or result in a better outcome.

In a further win, additional types of leave now contribute to nurses’ and midwives’ ADO accrual. They are:

  • Public Holiday Leave (leave granted in lieu of public holidays for nurses and midwives working a rotating shift).
  • Public Holiday Credit (leave credited for nurses and midwives, excluding rotating shifts, when they work on a public holiday).
  • Extra Leave (additional leave credited for working Sundays and public holidays).

Transition to the new ADO accrual method started from 21 October 2019.

It involves a retrospective reconciliation of hours worked and ADOs taken to arrive at a new ADO balance.

NSW Health said there will be a period from 21 October when balances will display as zero.

NSW Health said it expected to take about a fortnight for all balances to be updated.

“Employees’ ADO in Hours balances will be equal to, or greater than, their ADO in Days balances,” NSW Health said.

Nurses and midwives will be able to access the audit records via StaffLink for three months after the reconciliation process.

Only full-time nurses and midwives are eligible to accrue ADOs.

Casual, part time and full-time-reduced employees are not entitled to ADOs.