Protecting the penalty rates of nursing and care staff

Thursday 14th March, 2013

Australia’s largest health union, the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), has welcomed a new modern awards objective in the Fair Work Act to protect workers’ penalty rates.

As part of new policy announced by the Prime Minister at an ACTU Community Summit in Canberra today, penalty rates, overtime, shift work loading and public holiday pay are definite, formal considerations for the Fair Work Commission when it sets award rates and conditions.

ANF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said the initiative will “protect the incomes and entitlements of thousands of nurses, midwives and Assistants in Nursing (AINs) across the country.”

“The policy outlined by the Prime Minister will assist in protecting the rights of nursing and care staff who work irregular, unpredictable, and unsocial hours at night, on weekends and on public holidays,” Ms Thomas said.

“We are encouraged by the fact that the new objective in the Fair Work Act particularly targets nursing and care staff employed in part-time or casual positions, where penalty rates and other conditions are often simply ignored or substantially reduced.

“The ANF’s growing memberships, working in the health and aged care sectors, are subject to extraordinary demands because of the nature of their work and the hours they are required to work.

“That’s why we believe this policy is the most appropriate mechanism to ensure that the work of nurses, midwives and AINs is recognised and that they receive fair and proper remuneration for their valuable contribution in delivering quality care to the community, at any hour of the day or night, weekends or on public holidays.”

The ANF, with over 225,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

ANF media contact: Richard Lenarduzzi at The Premier Communications Group on 0411 254 390