Bulletin 2 - Negotiations commenced - issued 17 May 2022

Negotiations commenced

The first negotiation meeting for a new NTPS Nurses and Midwives’ Enterprise Agreement was held on Friday 13 May 2022. I am pleased to advise this was a productive meeting which was attended by representations from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), and representatives from the Department of Health and my office.

I advised that I am seeking an enterprise agreement that falls within the Northern Territory Public Sector Bargaining Policy 2021- 2024, and outlined a proposal with a wide range of improved conditions of employment.

We will work constructively in bargaining negotiations over the coming months to finalise a proposed new agreement, and it is my intention to issue a formal offer to employees no later than 20 August 2022.

It is important you are kept informed on the progress of negotiations as these proposals relate to your employment.

Details of the proposals

Below is an outline of the employer’s proposed conditions:

  • $4000 lump sum payment upon approval of the new agreement by the Fair Work Commission
  • $2,000 lump sum payments on the anniversary of the Agreement’s nominal expiry date for 3 years (i.e. 20 August 2023, 20 August 2024, and 20 August 2025)
  • A four year agreement
  • A commitment to pass on improvements if there are changes to the Northern Territory Public Sector Bargaining Policy 2021—2024
  • 3 days Christmas closedown leave, or where nurses or midwives are required to work or their work unit does not closedown over Christmas, employees will be able to bank the equivalent of 3 working days (i.e. 22.8 hours) to be taken within the following 12 months
  • No involuntary redundancies for the term of the agreement (with the exception of employees who have been surplus for 2 years)
  • No reduction in current and future entitlements during the term of the new agreement, and general employment conditions will not be varied without consultation and agreement with the parties
  • CPI increases will apply for allowances covered by Determination 1 of each year (e.g. travel allowance etc.)
  • Move the majority of leave-related bylaws relevant to the NTPS into the enterprise agreement (i.e. leave without pay, miscellaneous leave, and defence service leave)
  • War service provisions to be improved and included in the agreement
  • The Australian First Nation’s definition of ‘kinship’ will be included in the Agreement for the purpose of providing 5 days leave for kinship obligations (i.e. sorry business)
  • Move Foster and Kinship Carer’s Leave into the enterprise agreement (currently in Determination 7 of 2020)
  • Where time off-in-lieu or flexitime is not available up to 3 hours NAIDOC leave per annum to attend the NAIDOC march and approved activities
  • Support diversity at work by introducing a new entitlement for gender transition leave (4 weeks paid leave and 12 months unpaid)
  • Increase paid compassionate leave to 5 days (up from 3 days) for immediate family/household members (and a new provision to cover still born children)
  • Introduce a new entitlement to 3 days paid leave on the death of an employee’s extended family member (i.e. aunt/uncle/niece/nephew/first cousin)
  • Miscarriage to be covered under compassionate leave – 3 days paid leave
  • Improve existing miscellaneous leave entitlement to allow an employee to access up to one hours paid leave per annum for mental health screening/cancer screening
  • Inclusion of ‘flexible lifestyle leave’ to support work life balance and improve the entitlement to allow the purchase of up to 8 weeks leave
  • Domestic and family violence leave extended to cover circumstances of sexual violence
  • Enhance existing entitlements to support family responsibilities for an employee to have the right to return from parental leave on a part-time basis for up to 6 months
  • A new entitlement for pre-natal leave to allow for a pregnant employee and an employee whose partner is pregnant, access to 8 hours paid leave per pregnancy for the purpose of attending pregnancy-related medical appointments
  • Paid leave of 2 days for preadoption interviews. Paid leave for permanent care order applications and interviews for foster and kinship carers
  • Where time-off-in-lieu or flexitime are not available, employees within 3 years of the superannuation accrual age (65) will have up to 2 hours paid leave per annum to seek independent financial advice on their superannuation options
  • Superannuation Guarantee (SG) payments on parental leave. SG will be doubled for primary care giver; and partner leave eligibility provisions will provide SG for 12 months
  • Expanded definition of ‘continuous service’ under parental leave will allow employment with other Northern Territory Government agencies, such as NT Police or the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to count for service for service-based entitlements
  • Include principles for casual employees to have the right to request conversion to ongoing or fixed period employment after 12 months casual employment, subject to CEO approval

Note: Improvements to leave provisions will require the same notice and documentary evidence requirements

The proposals that I flagged in our discussions on 13 May, also included some topics that the Department of Health wishes to canvass during our negotiations. These included:

  • The possible inclusion of some of the relevant nursing and midwifery related determinations in the new Agreement
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Remote area nurses
  • Workplace support for breastfeeding employees
  • Casual employment

The ANMF also shared their log of claims. We will include the log of claims in our schedule of negotiations over the coming weeks.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted to the OCPE Webpage dedicated to Nurses and Midwives Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

Information on bargaining in general can be obtained on the Fair Work Commission website or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
17 May 2022

Last updated: 19 May 2022

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