A new award is coming

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Professionals Australia are due to meet before the Fair Work Commission next month to finalise the ongoing review of the Pharmacy Industry Award

We’ve now entered final stage proceedings of the four yearly review of the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010, according to documents released this week by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

Final resolution is still needed over some terminology used and over how or whether a new HMR allowance would be increased during the life of the award.

So far, a statement from the Commission, an exposure draft of the award, and a draft award variation determination have been published.

Also released this week was a notice of listing for a conference to be held before the Commissions president, Justice Ian Ross, in Sydney on 12 March, “to discuss any remaining issues in dispute.”

A Commission background paper issued on 25 November 2019 “outlined the ongoing issues between the relevant parties”.

“A joint report was subsequently filed by the Pharmacy Guild following consultation with Professionals Australia, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association and the Health Services Union,” the most recent FWC statement said.

“It is apparent from the joint report that there remain some issues between the parties regarding the adoption of consistent terminology”.

Changes incorporated into the draft of the Pharmacy Industry Award 2020 include a weekly allowance of $106.40 for “an employee classified as a Pharmacist, Experienced Pharmacist, Pharmacist in Charge or Pharmacist Manager who is required by the employer to perform Home Medicine Reviews or Residential Medication Management Reviews”.

However, this remained at issue, with dispute over “whether the new allowance… is to be adjusted for
movement in wage rates and if so, the mechanism for adjustment….”.

Another point of difference noted by FWC in its exposure draft relates to the terminology used for payment of overtime, annual leave and penalty rates.

The Guild is recommending to change terminology to say these be paid at the “minimum hourly rate”. The current terminology has them being paid at the “ordinary rate of pay”.

An email from APESMA (Professionals Australia) suggested using “minimum rate” except in reference to annual leave where it noted this “may not completely work… as some, albeit a few, employee’s pay is still calculated on a weekly basis.”

FWC also noted that “the issue relating to changes to terminology remains outstanding” for the Schedule of Minimum Hourly Rates of Pay, as it is listed in the Exposure Draft.

A note in the preamble outlines that “this draft does not represent the concluded view of the Commission in this matter”.

Pharmacy Industry Award 2020 Exposure Draft: Minimum Rates 

  • Pharmacy assistant level 1: 813.60 (minimum weekly full-time rate)  21.41 (minimum hourly rate)
  • Pharmacy assistant level 2: 833.00  21.92
  • Pharmacy assistant level 3: 862.50  22.70
  • Pharmacy assistant level 4: 898.00  23.63
  • Pharmacy student 1st year: 813.60  21.41
  • Pharmacy student 2nd year: 833.00  21.92
  • Pharmacy student 3rd year: 862.50  22.70
  • Pharmacy student 4th year: 898.00  23.63
  • Pharmacy intern 1st half of training: 909.90  23.94
  • Pharmacy intern 2nd half of training: 940.90  24.76
  • Pharmacist: 1,117.60  29.41
  • Experienced pharmacist: 1,224.10  32.21
  • Pharmacist in charge: 1,252.90  32.97
  • Pharmacist manager: 1,396.10  36.74

Previous ‘Patients deserve better.’
Next HMR cap raised, but more help needed

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  1. Mark White

    So… the rates are the same as they were in 2019? Or am I missing something here?

    I’m sure glad I don’t get paid as an employee pharmacist. I feel for anyone who does, these rates are ridiculously low for the responsibilities and duties expected. Meaningful change needs to be enacted here somehow.

  2. Steven J

    NSW Public Health System Nurses and Midwives (State) Award 2019.

    1st yr: 32.3711
    2nd yr: 34.1289
    3rd yr: 35.8921
    4th yr: 37.7789
    5th yr: 39.6579
    6th yr: 41.5211
    7th yr: 43.6579
    8th yr: 45.4526

    Experienced pharmacist (in this article): 32.21

    • Michael Ortiz

      Apologies Steven
      I forgot to mention penalty rates or lack there of in Community Pharmacy !! however we don’t see 24 hour hospital pharmacy like some other countries.

      The main problem is if the salaries jump too quickly without an increase in remuneration, then too many Pharmacies could become nonviable. That means less jobs!! What is needed is a strategic plan to increase salaries and increase remuneration proportionally. They will need to move together over time. This would need to be embedded in the 7CPA if it were to be successful. Most unlikely under the current negotiations.

      I can only await the response from the profession as pharmacists vote with their feet!!

      • Paul Sapardanis

        Discounting whilst it remains will prevent any real wage increase. Until owners stop listening to their head offices and continue to discount then the status quo will remain
        ps a submission to put pharmacists back on the skilled shortage list is being put together. Watch this space

  3. Michael Ortiz

    I read the news about community pharmacy salaries with interest.

    According to Payscale.com, the Average Retail Pharmacist Hourly Pay in Australia was AU$32.34 and the average Hospital Pharmacist Salary in Australia was AU$70,733 .

    A Community Pharmacy manager will be paid 71% more than the entry level pharmacy assistant and the Pharmacist in charge is paid 70 cents per hour more than an experienced pharmacist. A basic pharmacist will earn 24% more than a level 4 Pharmacy Assistant. The profession should question whether the pay relativites are appropriate!

    The NSW hospital employees award (per week) is as follows:
    Animal Attendant one grade only 984.92
    Pharmacy Assistant Grade 1 1st Year 1,003.05, 4th Year and thereafter 1,073.06
    Pharmacy Technician Grade 1 1st Year 1,073.06 4th Year and thereafter 1,150.56
    Grade 4 2nd Year and thereafter 1,573.05
    Graduate Pharmacist Unregistered 1,246.81
    Pharmacist Grade 1 1st Year 1,323.68 5th Year 1,740.96
    Grade 2 1st Year 1,872.78 3rd Year 1,989.22
    Senior Pharmacist 1 st Year 2,207.13

    The numbers speak for themselves. Animal attendants in hospitals are paid more than Pharmacy assistants The lowest paid pharmacists in hospital is paid more than most community pharmacists
    Unregistered pharmacy graduates in hospital are paid the same as a pharmacists-in-charge in community pharmacies. Inexperienced hospital pharmacists (with only 2 to 3 years experience) receive the same salary as an experienced pharmacy manager.

    There are likely consequences from this salary disparity. Early career pharmacist will not be attracted to community pharmacy or they will change careers soon after graduation. Either way community pharmacies (especially those in rural and remote areas) will struggle to recruit and retain high quality pharmacists.

    Should the Guild be blamed for negotiating low salaries? or have salaried Pharmacists been let down by their Union? I will leave the readers to draw their own conclusions.

    What is of more concern is whether Community Pharmacy can pay more for their staff. If pharmacist want their salaries to increase, then the Government will need to pay more for dispensing prescription and for providing professional services. If downward pressure continues on dispensing fees in the 7CPA and government increase maximum prescription quantities to two months supply for chronic use medications, then the financial viability of a significant number of pharmacies could be threatened.

    • Cogrady

      Michael Ortiz You are right . I was lucky I got to work for Defence and just made it into hospital pharmacy before the glut of graduates.It amuses me that agencies question why pharmacists no longer go to work when they are sick ? If you are 26 ,paid for 2 post school courses and earning less than 30 dollars an hour ,why would you go to work impaired and risk errors and HCCC
      My 2 sisters RNs with Masters both earn more than a retail pharmacist and they don’t work the non social hours we work without breaks.
      We have to blame the Guild and they do not represent the majority of pharmacists and they block us every single time we try to get a wage like HMRs. I just wish that our award was linked to a hospital Nurses award.

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