Don’t support slashing pharmacist penalty pay: PPA

PBS cuts: scissors cutting $20 note

Professional Pharmacists Australia is calling on the leaders of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to drop its support for slashing pharmacists’ weekend and public holiday pay rates.

The Productivity Commission’s draft report into Australia’s Workplace Relations Framework recommended reducing penalty rates for the retail and hospitality sectors, yet noted that the community, employers and customers have long accepted weekend work and high penalty rates in other parts of the economy including health and emergency services.

In light of this, PPA President, Dr Geoff March has called on the Guild to withdraw its backing for a reduction in the take home pay of thousands of community pharmacists in light of the draft report’s findings.

“We don’t believe any employee should face a cut in their take home pay because they work on a Sunday or Public holiday,” says Dr March.

“Further,  it emerges that the Productivity Commission confirms that penalty rates in the health and emergency services are a long established part of the framework.

“Pharmacists stand at the forefront of primary care. The question for the Guild’s leaders is whether they agree that community pharmacy is part of the wider health system and accept that penalty rates are an appropriate part of that system.

“If they believe the Guild exists to support community pharmacy in its role to deliver quality health outcomes, we hope that they will respect their colleagues and drop their support for slashing penalty rates.” Dr March says.

The Guild leadership’s backing for lower wages in community pharmacy is at odds with their apparent support for an expansion of professional services, says PPA.

Professional Pharmacists Australia says it supports an increasing role for pharmacists in the delivery of health services, but expects this would lead to better, not worse pay outcomes for pharmacists.

“Pharmacists are more productive than ever before, yet since 2009 their wages have stagnated. It’s time for a pay rise, not a pay cut,” says Dr March.

“We are not alone. Many owners that we speak to agree with our position: we need to value and reward pharmacists as well trained and passionate health professionals.”

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