PUBLIC SECTOR AGREEMENT: A GOOD DEAL FOR HOSPITAL WORKERS

PUBLIC SECTOR AGREEMENT: A GOOD DEAL FOR HOSPITAL WORKERS 

Great news! The Health Workers Union (HWU) has now received a formal response from the Victorian Government for your next public sector workplace Agreement. 

This Agreement will determine your pay and conditions for the next four years. 

A ‘Heads of Agreement’ document has now been agreed in principle between the Health Workers Union and your employers’ bargaining representative, the VHIA (Victorian Hospital Industry Association). This document indicates a general agreement between all parties about the contents of your next Public Sector Agreement.  

The Victorian Government has costed the Agreement and has given its in principle approval. 

WHO IS AFFECTED BY THIS AGREEMENT 

This Agreement covers approximately 55,000 Victorian public hospital workers and will determine the pay and conditions of these affected employees – including HWU members - over the next four years. These are non-clinical roles within a hospital. Classifications covered by the Agreement includes pathology workers, among many others. 

WHAT IS THE START AND END DATE OF THE NEW AGREEMENT 

Your new Public Sector Agreement will have an effective start date of 1, July 2021 and will expire in four years (2025) from the exact date that the Fair Work Commission formally approves the Agreement.  

GOVERNMENT WAGES POLICY & ‘THE THIRD PILLAR’ 

As you are aware, the Victorian Government has a very strict wages policy. At the time of negotiating your Agreement, this wages policy capped pay increases at 2% per annum. Since 1 July 2021, this wages policy has decreased to 1.5% pay increases per annum.  

The wages policy affects all Victorian public sector employees – from teachers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, government department employees, ambulance officers and public hospital workers.  

To date, all other public sector unions have kept their agreement in line with government wages policy. 

The good news is that the “third pillar” of the Victorian Government’s public sector wages policy means there is significant leeway to make further improvements for many classifications. It is within this “third pillar” that the HWU has invested much of its time over the past twelve months and sought to negotiate further improvements to many classifications - particularly lower paid classifications that did not receive any major uplift in the previously negotiated Agreement.  

HWU NEGOTIATE A GOOD DEAL FOR PUBLIC HOSPITAL WORKERS 

AN ADDITIONAL WEEK OF ANNUAL LEAVE 

ALL employees affected by this Agreement will now be entitled to an extra week of Annual leave. Employees will now have 5 weeks of accrued annual leave, not 4. After extensive consultation with our members, the claim for an extra week of annual leave was identified as extremely important. This is a big win by the HWU for our members.  

LONG SERVICE LEAVE ACCESSIBLE AFTER 7 YEARS 

Thousands of HWU members have worked for their current employer for over 7 years, but no more than 10 years. Long service leave will now be accessible after 7 years on a pro-rata basis (phased-in from July 1, 2021 – those who have 9 years will access pro-rata from 2021/2022; those with 8 years from 2022/2023; those with 7 years from 2023/24). 

SUPERANNUATION DURING PARENTAL LEAVE 

From 1 July 2021, the Employer will begin making Superannuation contributions throughout any period of parental leave, paid or unpaid. Such contributions will be calculated based on ordinary time earnings. The Weekly Parental Leave Super Contribution will be paid during each week of Parental Leave (both paid and unpaid) save that the Employee will receive a pro-rata payment for a period less than one (1) week; and where, during the period of parental leave (either paid or unpaid), the Employee's rate of pay increases. Employee's pre salary packaging earnings will be increased accordingly from the relevant date and superannuation paid on the increased amount. 

OTHER IMPROVEMENTS TO YOUR PAY & CONDITIONS 

  • Base 2% allowance increases in line with annual wage increases 
  • Further targeted wage increases to redress historical low pay levels 
  • Portability of annual leave between health services (on election of employee) 
  • Sick leave for medical appointments and planned medical procedures 
  • Broadened criteria for flexible working arrangements 
  • Improved part-time review of hours clause 
  • Part-time review of hours after six months 
  • Fairer rostering processes 
  • A clear and fair process of approving annual leave 
  • Full-time staff will be able to request an ADO and, if refused, can be disputed 
  • Any vacancies of less than 16 hours per week must be offered internally first 
  • PSA Code Grey/Black – PSA staff will now be medically assessed for suitability to attend codes. PSA’s required to respond to codes will now be paid and receive proper registered training 
  • Employees will be able to make short-term changes to their contracts to undertake study or career-progression 
  • Automatic transition from Grade 1a (HS1a) to Grade 1 (HS1) following a year’s experience 
  • Introducing 5 ‘year of experience’ classifications for HS1 to HS5 workers 
  • Management and Administrative Employees. Continuous Improvement of Classifications (this is a review of the classifications in Section 3 of the current agreement, to be completed within 6 months of the new agreement being signed) 
  • A workload management clause will apply to ALL employees 

YOUR CLASSIFICATION PAY INCREASES  

All employees will have a base pay increase of 2% - as per the Victoria Government Wages Policy.  In addition, increases will apply as per ‘Pillar Three’ (below). 

  • A 2% pay increase from 1 July, 2021 
  • A 2% pay increase from 1 July, 2022 
  • A 2% pay increase from 1 July, 2023 
  • A 2% pay increase from 1 July, 2024 

PILLAR THREE INCREASES 

On top of this, employees in the following classifications may receive further incremental increases (as set out in the following table). 

This means, the total pay increase, which includes 2% per annum (and other incremental increases) for the following classifications over the life of the agreement will be as follows: 

Pathology

NOTE: If your classification is not listed on this table, it may be because your current member details on our HWU member database are out-of-date. Please call the HWU on (03) 9341 3300 to update your details.  

Further, be aware that, following extensive consultation with our members, the HWU prioritised further improvements to lower paid classifications that did not receive any major classification uplift in the previously negotiated Agreement. 

VOTE YES FOR THE AGREEMENT 

Now that the Victorian Government, the HWU and the VHIA have all agreed, the next step is to finalise the Agreement in the Fair Work Commission. In order for pay increases and other benefits within this Agreement to pass through from your employer to you, the Agreement must first be approved by the Fair Work Commission. Once this occurs, the Agreement becomes law. Your employer must pass on the pay increases and conditions within the document.  

In order for the Fair Work Commission to approve the Agreement, a vote must be taken by ALL affected by the Agreement – this includes HWU members and non-members. For the vote to be successful, over 50% of affected employees must vote for it. Once the Fair Work Commission formally approves your new Agreement - things like pay increases and bonuses – will begin to flow through to you. 

The HWU strongly encourages all union members and affected employees to vote YES to the new agreement. We have negotiated the best possible deal, which exceeds anything offered to other Victorian health unions. It is unlikely that any further negotiations or protected industrial action will result in further pay increases.  

The HWU will keep members notified via sms and email about the timeline and process for voting on the Agreement. The vote may an online vote, or by mail. This is yet to be determined. Please call the union on (03) 9341 3300 or email info@hwu.org.au to ensure we have your correct and up-to-date contact details.

OPPORTUNITY FOR FURTHER INFO ABOUT YOUR NEXT AGREEMENT  

Your next Agreement has been formed on the back of extensive consultation from our HWU public sector members and delegates. Thank you to everyone who have been involved in this process thus far.  

If you have any questions or are unsure about what this Agreement means for your classification, the HWU will be holding various HWU members and delegates meetings in the coming months at public hospital workplaces. 

Please be aware that Government lockdowns and workplace covid restrictions may limit our capacity to hold EBA member meetings onsite. Schedules for visits may be interrupted. 

We will also conduct online conference meetings for all HWU public members. Member will have the opportunity to ask their union leaders and our HWU industrial officers questions about the Agreement.  

Your next scheduled meeting is on THURSDAY 9 SEPTEMBER from 5.00pm to 6.00pm. To connect to the meeting, please click on the following meeting link below:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88419968611

Please note, you will need to have the Zoom App. on your device. Please save the above meeting notice to your calender and download Zoom prior to the meeting. 

You may also call the HWU Member Assist Call Centre on (03) 9341 3300 or email info@hwu.org.au if you have any questions. 

A copy of the ‘Heads of Agreement’ document will be sent to all HWU public sector members next week and will also be available on the HWU’s website at www.hwu.org.au.  

TOGETHER, WE ARE STRONGER! 

The Health Workers Union was only able to negotiate your next public sector Agreement successfully because of the strength of our membership across all Victorian public hospitals. Please ask your work colleagues who are not in the union to join today. Forward them this link to join: https://www.hwu.org.au/get-involved/join-our-union. The bigger our union membership, the greater our chances of success. Because together, we are always stronger!