Queensland Health’s 32,000 nurses and midwives are set to receive a three per cent annual pay rise, or $30 per week - whichever is greater, under their proposed new workplace agreement.
The Queensland Nurses’ Union and Queensland Health have worked out an in-principle agreement, EB8, after negotiations were resumed following the election of the state’s new Liberal National government in March.
Under the deal, which will be put to a vote of nurses and midwives in the next two months, a full-time general ward nurse ‘working at the bedside’ will be an extra $42 a week better off, which equates to more than $2000 extra a year, with pay rises to be back-paid to April 1.
The agreement includes an increase in rural and remote incentive payments, a three per cent annual rise for the professional
development allowance, and nurses and midwives will receive a $500 one-off bonus payment in 2015.
Other benefits include an increase in the Sunday night-shift penalty rate from 20 to 25 per cent from April next year, and an extra pay point for advanced practice nurses and midwives.
The deal also includes better workloads management and the requirement to display nurse-to-patient ratios in each ward or unit.
QNU secretary Beth Mohle said the only sticking point could prove to be the strengthening and simplification of the workload management process.
“To be frank, if there is going to be any difficulties with Queensland Health in the months ahead it will probably be in this area, because the QNU is determined to protect nurses, midwives and patients from unsafe workloads,” she said.
Ms Mohle said the agreement also provided nurse and midwifery unit managers with more authority at ward or unit levels.
“This is vital to improving staff morale and patient outcomes,” she said.