ANMF launches landmark Nurses Award work value case

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler. Photo: Chris Hopkins

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has filed a landmark application at the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to increase award wages for frontline nurses, midwives, and assistants in nursing (AINs), by up to 35%.

The application seeks to vary the Nurses Award and is made on the basis that the work of nurses and midwives has never been properly valued.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said that, if successful, the application would ensure that the recognition of work value given to nurses and AINs in the Aged Care Work Value case, extends to all award covered nurses, midwives and AINs.

“It’s only fair that nurses, midwives and AINs, covered by the national award, get recognition for their demanding work, regardless of the healthcare setting,” Ms Butler said.

“We contend that award rates are set too low, stemming from the historic, gender-based undervaluation of nursing and midwifery care work. Nurses and midwives make up over 50% of Australia’s registered health professionals and are, without exaggeration, the backbone of our health and aged care systems. They are predominantly women, with approximately 89% of nurses being female, and nearly 100% of midwives.

“On top of that, the nature of their work has changed dramatically in the last decades, it’s more complex and the settings in which they work, more varied. The need for nursing and midwifery care has expanded, as people live longer and with greater levels of chronic disease. The Australian population has become more diverse, and expectations for a long and healthy life, supported by information, education and preventative care, are now the norm. Delivery of person-centred care is now the guiding principle under which healthcare operates.

“The training, skill and responsibility required to deliver that quality care has grown commensurately with the ever-changing demands of the healthcare system. The ANMF says it is time the work of nurses, midwives and AINs is properly recognised and valued. This application will instigate that change.”

Ms Butler said the ANMF would keep members updated on the Application, filed today in the FWC.

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