New pharmacy pay rates

An increase in the award minimum will kick off on 1 July, Fair Work Commission has announced

The commission has announced a 3.3% increase in award minimum rates, which will apply from 1 July this year.

“We have determined that it is appropriate to increase the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the factors identified in our decision have led us to award an increase of 3.3%,” says the commission in its Annual Wage Review 2016-17 Statement.

“The level of increase we have decided upon will not lead to inflationary pressure and is highly unlikely to have any measurable negative impact on employment,” the commission states.

“It will, however, mean an improvement in the real wages for those employees who are reliant on the NMW and modern award minimum wages and an improvement in their relative living standards.”

The new rates of pay are as follows:

Award ClassificationWeekly RateHourly Rate
Pharmacy assistant – Level 1763.2020.08
Pharmacy assistant – Level 2781.4020.56
Pharmacy assistant – Level 3809.1021.29
Pharmacy assistant – Level 4842.3022.17
Pharmacy student – 1st year763.2020.08
Pharmacy student – 2nd year781.4020.56
Pharmacy student – 3rd year 809.10 21.29
Pharmacy student – 4th year 842.30 22.17
Intern 1st half of training853.5022.46
Intern 2nd half of training882.6023.23
Experienced Pharmacist1,093.5028.78
Pharmacist In Charge1,119.2029.45
Pharmacist Manager1,247.2032.82


Pharmacists must be paid these rates as a minimum, plus all allowances and penalties they are entitled to receive as detailed in the Pharmacy Industry Award.

“Still too low,” commented one pharmacist on social media.

“Where’s the incentive here? Pay peanuts and get monkeys! Why would you consider going through uni for 4 yrs and then pre-reg for another year, for crap money like this? It’s a bloody joke!” said another.

The pharmacists’ union, which says the award increase “isn’t enough”, is currently campaigning for a 30% pay increase for pharmacist employees.

“Our work value increase case is progressing – but will probably not be concluded until late this year or early next year,” says a spokesperson for the union.

Earlier this month the commission also announced it had decided to phase in cuts to Sunday penalty rates this year.

From 1 July penalty rates will go down from 200% to 195%.

These will then decrease from 195% to 180% on 1 July 2018; from 180% to 165% on 1 July 2019; and from 165% to 150% on 1 July 2020.

Some pharmacy groups have announced they will not cut penalty rates and continue to pay the current loadings.

Meanwhile, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association and United Voice groups have stated they are making a formal appeal against the Fair Work Commission’s decision on penalty rates.

See the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 (published 28 June 2017) for full details pay rates.

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