New Enterprise Bargaining Agreement: Your FAQs
Since the in-principle agreement with the VHIA for improved pay and conditions for public hospital doctors, AMA Victoria has received a high volume of questions regarding timeframes and details. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, and their answers:
Has the deal been approved?
Yes, on 14 February 2018, the government approved two agreements, one each for junior and senior medical staff. These agreements will go out to a ballot of hospital employed doctors in March.
Is there any chance of it falling through?
There is little chance of the agreement falling through at this stage. It could only happen if the majority of doctors that vote in a particular hospital vote against it. You need to vote YES to ensure that this does not happen.
When will the pay increases come into effect?
Hospitals are obliged to pay once the agreements are approved by the Fair Work Commission. If voting is successful, the agreements will be lodged after the ballot closes in late March. The benchmark for approval by the Fair Work Commission is 50% within 3 weeks, 100% within 12. AMA Victoria has requested that the department authorise payment sooner to minimise administrative delays.
How will the agreements come into effect?
Four actions will occur:
- Your salary will change in your fortnightly pay to reflect an increase of 9%
- The sign-on bonus will be paid
- Hospitals will calculate back pay from the first pay period in 2018 and make a lump sum payment
- Conditions matters, such as shortened length of shifts, will be implemented
Do sign on bonuses apply to part times doctors?
Yes. For Doctors in Training the bonus is payable based on $2000/38 x number of part time hours per week (43 hours for registrars). For Fractional specialists, the payment is $3500/35 x fractional allocation.
Is the “sign on bonus” payable each year?
No. It is a one-off payment. The government was steadfast in not agreeing to back pay. However, we were able to negotiate a ‘sign on bonus’ which we view as payment in lieu of back pay. It is not repeated.
Does the sign on bonus apply to people who first start with a hospital after 1 January?
No. Whilst the detail is still to be finalized, it is expected that the bonus will only be payable to medical staff employed by public hospitals as at 1 January 2018.
If I have already signed a contract for 2018, do I still get the sign on bonus and pay rise?
Yes to both.
If I rotate to anther hospital before payments are made, which hospital owes me the back pay?
If you rotate to another hospital, the Parent hospital or hospital that employed you directly on 1 January is obliged to pay. So keep in touch. Ensure you are an AMAV member to follow up.
Does Parental Leave apply from 1 January?
No, it will apply from the date the Agreement is registered.
When will we receive our salary increases and sign on bonus?
This will occur once the two agreements are finalised. There are still a number of steps to progress to finalise all the changes. However pay increases will be paid operative from the first pay period from 1 January 2018. So you will be back paid to this date.
What are the next steps to finalise all these changes?
We are aiming for the end of February for a vote and registration of both agreements. During this time we must finalise the two drafts with hospital representatives and the Department of Health and Human Services must submit the drafts for final Government approval. Once approved, a ballot of medical staff will be conducted as required by the Fair Work Act. If a majority of doctors (who vote) vote in favour, the agreements will be submitted to the Fair Work Commission for Approval. The agreements operate once approved.
Does the Agreement apply to medical staff in all public hospitals in Victoria?
The agreement applies to all public hospital employed medical staff (paid hourly or weekly) in Victoria. It does not apply to those who are independent contractors (i.e. small rural hospital VMOs) or doctors who are paid ‘fee for service’.
I am a specialist who already receives an afternoon shift allowance greater than 25%. Am I entitled to this new loading as well?
No, a number of changes to conditions for specialists (except for salary increases) will not be paid if the specialist is already in receipt of an equal or greater condition. This is in recognition that we are in the process of moving unregulated conditions into the specialist agreement to create state-wide conditions that are protected.
Is this “catching up” to other states?
One of our aims was interstate parity. Current agreements interstate have 2% - 2.5% PA wage increases and relatively few changes to employment conditions. This package better positions Victoria in terms of interstate salaries and conditions.
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