Pay needs to go up 30%, plus better recognition


piggy bank, money and calculator

The pharmacists’ union has today welcomed the Pharmacy Guild’s support for a coherent pharmacy workforce strategy.

“David Quilty’s recent statement to pharmacy owners outlining concern about low pay is a significant and welcome shift from the Guild,” says PPA CEO Chris Walton.

“It’s almost two years since we met with Guild leaders and in a bid to work with them to restore respect to thousands of employee pharmacists by lifting pay rates in the Pharmacy Industry Award.

“Whilst their shift in attitude has been some time in the making, the Guild’s words must now translate into action and support for our work value case. Our case in the Fair Work Commission is a practical way to repair the damage that low wages has on community pharmacy.”

Walton says the pharmacist award rates of pay need an increase of about 30%, and employee pharmacists need better recognition for increased workloads, training, and skill requirements.

“These modest improvements would go some way to creating a more stable foundation for the development of a coherent workforce strategy that the Guild says it now supports,” Walton says.

“Many pharmacy owners speak to us regularly about their concern for the future of pharmacy. Specifically, they have raised with us the impact that low wages being paid by discount chains is having on their capacity to provide access to quality services to the community – and continue to pay pharmacists as dedicated health professionals.”

He says that remuneration surveys have consistently shown that pharmacists working for discount groups, such as Chemist Warehouse, are earning around $5 per hour less than the average rate of pay when compared to other banner groups.

“These low rates of pay – underpinned by low rates in the Award – put downward pressure on wages across the profession, creating a widening gap between the value of a pharmacists’ work and what they are paid.

“We are hopeful that the Guild’s statement represents a real shift in their attitude to our case.”

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24 Comments

  1. Don't be a Pharmacist.
    25/08/2016

    It’s such a shame that professions who contribute to the development of society and require knowledgeable, intelligent people are undervalued. These intelligent minds then go on to seeking jobs that are far better paid, in areas like finance where their skills are wasted on contributing to inequality.

  2. Big John
    25/08/2016

    Unless overall pharmacy profit increases then wages are certainly not going to. My prediction is that incomes and values in real terms will decrease over the next 2-3 years without any major intervention. Any pharmacies not located in growth areas will be hard pressed to improve profitability and support any wage increase.

  3. Kat
    26/08/2016

    I saw this article and just had to say that leaving pharmacy was one of the best moves I made and training for it one of my worst. I now have a higher base rate pay, proper penalties on weekends (because pharmacists have lives too) and best of all I no longer spend my days dealing with upset customers, retail demands to achieve sales targets, stressful interactions over S8s and risks to my personal safety as the person with access to the drug safe.

    • Amy
      27/08/2016

      Sorry, but i Just need ask: what do you do now? I’m desperate for options..

      • Kitty
        27/08/2016

        I’d like to hear from ALL that have exited about their personal journey!!

        • Satisfied
          28/08/2016

          Hospital pharmacy can be rewarding depending on the hospital…

  4. Brutus
    26/08/2016

    Yes, a pay rise of at least 30% is in order. Make sure you force all the owners, whose ability to pay has declined in line with that of of their employees to receive, to pay this 30% increase. The only way the owners will be able to make up the difference, will be to cut employee hours by 30%. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Or say that how the owners manage to give the pay rise, is not your problem. Because it will be.

    • Paige
      26/08/2016

      If pharmacy owners cant afford to run their business properly why should the employee pharmacists have to pay the price? Deregulate so that people who have the means to pay us properly can.

      • Brutus
        26/08/2016

        You’ll look great in a supermarket pharmacy, standing at the counter, with a badge saying ‘I’m Paige, would you like fries with that?’ And since you are obviously a business genius, you could alternately start your own pharmacy, run it properly, and pay the increased wages you demand now.

        • Paige
          26/08/2016

          Do they sell fries at the supermarket? Maybe you could give them some of your salt for them? Nah I’ll be nestled in between the bakery and the deli making $62.80 an hour going home on time giving the same top notch advice I currently give. You’ll probably be bankrupt.

          • Troy Winslade
            26/08/2016

            If you know anything about coleworthes then you would know that you wouldnt not be on 62.50 per hour, you would not be going home early, nor would you be paid overtime as they have no money left in the wages budget. You also wouldnt be allowed to waste time talking to customers. If you try to insist on these basic rights, you will be replaced.
            And yes just like Brutus, I will be bankrupt. I’ll look out for you in the queue at Centrelink

          • Thomas
            27/08/2016

            The aim of the government, was always to reduce the PBS payments to below a viable level. That way, it could make pharmacists beg the government, for pharmacy to be opened up to company & supermarket ownership – with even lower payments, and standards, and pharmacist wages, to match. Paige, with your pro-supermarket sentiments, it appears that the government has achieved its aim, the exact way the government intended.

          • Paige
            27/08/2016

            Pray tell Thomas how do you suppose we fix the woes of the good folks in the comments section then? I see a lot of owners going down the toilet mouthing off with no plan to fix anything.

            The governments aim is long term financial viability of the PBS. Paying owners $180 for a box of atorvastatin they bought for $6.50 or were given from ranbaxy for free is not an example of this. Anyone who didn’t see that coming is naive. My pro supermarket stance is a reaction to maladaptive owners who drive their businesses into the ground and take their staff with them.

          • Thomas
            29/08/2016

            Ditch the Guild and the PBS. Only a spineless collective would sign up for mark-ups of about 8% on most items. (far less if an expensive item) The Guild and PSA have both outlived their usefulness to pharmacy. A new organisation is needed, one that has the will to tell the government ‘No’ – and mean it. If that hastens the government making good its constant, background to put pharmacy in supermarkets, so be it. It is better than death by a thousand cuts.

      • Big John
        26/08/2016

        Hey Paige, just in case you haven’t noticed Colesworth can’t even pay their farmers properly. Don’t think BPharmers will be any different to them.

  5. Tim
    26/08/2016

    Recognition? We have that already – as the doormats outside the surgery building. And we’re happy with that. After all, we’ve done nothing to change it, so we must be.

  6. Pharmacist
    26/08/2016

    I initially saw this article headline and thought, “Holy @#$%, I would go broke if my pharmacist wages went up by that much!” Then I realised that if the “AWARD” rate went up 30%, my pharmacist wages would stay the same as they are already being paid much more than that. I am unsure what other non discount pharmacists are being paid on average but you guys complaining would have to realise its a double edged sword. With the current situation I think it would be impossible for this to happen in many pharmacies. The only solution would be to cut hours of pharmacists and front shop staffing wages would have to reduce. Speaking to fellow owners, there are a lot of them seriously with their backs against the wall. I see many comments of, “Let them go broke so someone who can run a business takes over and pays us properly”. What you probably don’t realise is that these owners are people just like you. If you yourselves could actually make a big enough difference to profit dollars to pay higher wages I would imagine your boss would see this and pay you accordingly for your ideas and profit growth. I know I always pay people more who have good ethical ideas that make it easier to pay the bills. (No I don’t have a BMW etc etc). If you don’t have any ideas and just want to be nice (like we all do) then what you are really saying is you want someone else to take all the risks, make all the decisions, come up with all the new ideas and you want to get carried?
    I agree the award should be increased as it would force the unethical operators to increase their pitiful wages and charge more in accordance with the knowledge and time taken to fill a patients needs. BUT, unless the government pays more for our skills and services many of you could be without much if any of a job at all. Hopefully the King review will understand the situation and somehow return remuneration to what it was like before there was a total glut of newly registered disgruntled pharmacists pointing there finger and verbal abuse at owners.

  7. Jumping ship
    26/08/2016

    One of the worst things about being a Pharmacist in Australia is the difficulty in changing careers. At least with nursing you can transition into areas like audiology, sonography or echo. I would also like to point out that you can be a pick and packer for Sigma and earn $40/hour, which is extremely disheartening.

    • Mike
      26/08/2016

      A nurse has as much chance of doing sono / echo as a pharmacist ( I am sono and a pharm) Nurses have the benefit of specialisation just as medical practitioners do.

      • Jumping ship
        26/08/2016

        Mike, That is really great news! I remember looking into it years ago, and it specified existing work experience as a nurse was required. If there is any way you might be able to provide me with some more information about this? My email address is amanda@imi.com.hk

  8. JimT
    26/08/2016

    If the award goes up 30% then it will only impact those businesses that pay award rates, ie mostly the discounters, so would expect the discounters to have to increase pricing to cover this impost. Hopefully the PBS will come to the part and increase it’s remuneration to business to reflect the pharmacist new pay portion in their “Formula”

  9. Vanesh Nayak
    27/08/2016

    All the Employee pharmacists, join PPA. they need numbers. Let us stand together. Strength in numbers.

  10. Michael SHEHATA
    28/08/2016

    Just about time,to act to salvage our hard working, passionate and professional dedicated people of the pharmacy profession. Can’t understand why a nurse should get more than a Pharmacist, ? Why someone working as s security guard should earn more
    than us??

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