South Australian public sector nurses and midwives have seen the first of three successive yearly wage increases of 3% in their pay packet, as part of their new Enterprise Agreement.
A 9% pay rise over three years as part of a new enterprise bargaining agreement reached with state government began flowing through on Friday for the state’s 21,000 public sector nurses and midwives.
Eligible nurses and midwives were also expected to receive the first of two one-off payments (up to $1,500) on the same day, with the second one-off payment due in October.
Thousands of public sector nurses and midwives voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new EBA last November, which will see total remuneration increases of 13-14% for most members in the two year and nine-month life of the agreement.
The state’s nurses and midwives provided the highest quality care for people at their most vulnerable, and especially throughout the pandemic, said SA Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton.
“Today we’re recognising these significant efforts with something more substantial than words of praise, in the form of fairer pay and conditions for our nurses and midwives.”
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adjunct Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars welcomed the wage increases and one-off payments as an important recognition of the valuable and tireless work of nurses and midwives.
“Nurses and midwives deserve to feel valued and should be rewarded in a way that helps to attract and retain staff in an over-stretched sector that desperately needs them. We are delighted their efforts and worth have been rightly acknowledged by the state government during these uncertain economic times.”
A lot of the increases are to be received in the first two years when inflation is expected to be at the highest levels.
Other benefits being delivered under the new agreement include more than doubling the Continuing Professional Development allowance to eligible nurses and midwives, with increases of $400 pro-rata, each year.
“The Continuing Professional Development allowance (designed to facilitate increased nursing expertise) more than doubles with $400 pa increases as well as agreement to index the allowance by salary increases now and in the future,” Ms Dabars said.
The SA government has committed to deliver an extra 300 promised nurses across our hospitals as part of a record investment to help turn around the state’s health system.
The pay bump arrives alongside the commencement of 360 additional nurse and midwife graduates, with the doubling of the nurse graduate intake from 600 to 1,200 this year. A further 234 graduates will join them this month, with the remaining intake to start by July.
More than 300 of the positions in the expanded Transition to Professional Practice Program (TPPP) will be offered to nurses undertaking their training in regional areas, including 186 of the 360 graduates already in place.
The doubling of the TPPP in 2023 would help to meet the critical future workforce shortages across the state, Minister Picton said.
“It is so important we have a pipeline of clinicians to ensure we can open the hundreds of beds we’ve committed to and deliver on our initiatives to improve the health system.”
Ms Dabars said this new intake, which the ANMF SA Branch had advocated for, was urgently needed to address the existing shortages.
“New nurses and midwives are expected to hit the ground running and the TPPP is a well-structured program that will provide a kickstart to a graduate’s career, allowing them to consolidate skills in clinical settings,
“The program will prove a vital stepping-stone into a new career for graduate nurses after SA Health committed to hiring the total cohort of 1,200 nurses who graduated in November of last year.”