Nurses tell how changes to their penalty rates cut deep

Tuesday 28th March, 2017

A delegation of aged care nurses and assistants in nursing (AIN) from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) have travelled to Canberra today to meet with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and raise their concerns about the potential impacts of penalty rates cuts under proposals put forward by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

AIN Linda Hardman, from NSW, has been working in aged care for 16 years and says she would lose almost $45.00 per shift.

As a single, middle-aged woman, Ms Hardman described the drastic reduction in her take-home pay as “quite frightening that this could happen and I now may have to reassess my whole life.”

Queensland Enrolled Nurse (EN) Pat McLean, who has worked in aged care for over 38 years, says penalty rates make up a major portion of her pay.

She cannot afford to lose them, given she is already struggling to make ends meet.

“Even as an enrolled nurse in full time employment I am still classed as a low income worker- that’s how low the pay is,” Ms McLean said.

“I realised this when I went to get a home loan. I wasn’t able to get a home loan until they factored in my penalty rates. That’s how important they are to people like us. ”

Federal Secretary Lee Thomas, who led today’s ANMF delegation to Parliament House, said nurses and AINs across the country are suffering similar anxiety about loss of their Sunday penalty rates.

“Our members are telling us how they rely on their Sunday penalty and that any cuts will have devastating implications for them and their families,” Ms Thomas said.

“We estimate a Registered Nurse (RN) stands to lose around $2000, with an AIN losing $1200. It’s little wonder that our members are so concerned and why they’re questioning if they will stay in the profession.”

Ms Thomas said the ANMF thanked Mr Shorten for listening to members’ concerns and Labor’s pledge to continue fighting the FWC’s cuts to Sunday penalty rates.

The ANMF, with over 259,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia. 

ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.