Pay to go up

$50 note sticks out of blue piggybank

It’s October – which means a pay rise for employee pharmacists getting the Award wage, as a “major” new pay case is announced

Professional Pharmacists Australia has highlighted that the Fair Work Commission will apply the second phase of the Work Value pay increases to the Pharmacy Industry Award, effective from the  first pay period on or after 1 October 2019.

In July 2019, the FWC ruled to increase the Award by 5%, plus another 10% for those undertaking HMRs and RMMRs in the union’s Work Value Case.

The first Work Value Case increase of 2.5% was applied from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2019.

This brings the hourly wage for a first-year pharmacy student to $21.41, and a fourth-year student to $23.63.

Pharmacy interns in their first half of training should now expect an award wage of $23.94, while those in their second half should expect $24.76.

Meanwhile a pharmacist should expect $29.41 an hour; an experienced pharmacist $32.21; a pharmacist in charge $32.97; and a pharmacist manager $36.74.

“The minimum penalty rates, casual loadings and other entitlements received should also increase as they are required to be calculated on the new minimum award rates,” says PPA.

It also highlighted the new allowance for pharmacists who perform Home Medicine Reviews or Residential Medication Management Reviews – this allowance kicks in from the first full pay period on or after 1 October.

“The new clause 19.1 requires employers to pay any pharmacist who performs HMRs or RMMRs an additional allowance of $106.40 per week (pro rata for part time),” the union says.

The clause reads: “Home Medicine Reviews and Residential Medication Management Reviews 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 shall be paid an additional allowance of $106.40 per week”.

“The Commission recently confirmed that if a pharmacist is required to perform HMRs and RMMRs, they must be paid the additional allowance of $106.40 every week (pro rata for part time pharmacists),” says PPA.

“This is because the Commission sees this increase as an allowance for having a higher qualification that is utilised as part of a pharmacist’s work.”

It stressed that employers are legally required to pay pharmacists these new rates as a minimum.

“They can pay more but not less. They’re also required to use these new rates to calculate your allowances and penalty entitlements.”

PPA says that following its submissions to the FWC, a “major” new case to review graduate rates of pay in all awards was announced.

It says that it has pointed out that it is an “outrage” that graduate pharmacists receive 105.5% of the rate of pay of a newly qualified tradesperson.

“This new major case will involve a large number of awards that include graduate rates of pay for teachers, nurses, engineers, doctors, and many more,” it says.

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  1. Mark Meaney

    My son, a first year physio student, has just secured a part-time job as a physiotherapy assistant, which pays $29-$30 per hour. No wonder why he didn’t follow me into a career in pharmacy.

  2. FakeMoralOutrage

    I have just read the good news and am about to put in an offer on a beachside manor…

    Now, for some approximate maths. If we allow an approximate rate of 20% for taxation (because of the low hourly rate prescribed):

    a) Newly qualified pharmacist; $29.41/hr equates to about $23.50
    b) “Experienced” ** pharmacist; $32.21/hr equates to about $25.75
    c) Pharmacist in charge an additional 76 cents an hour; negligible difference
    d) Pharmacist manager $36.74/hr which is only about $1.74 more than the apparent norm of $35/hr

    You can easily expect the PGA to put up the fight of their lives on the definition of “Experienced” pharmacist in a way that deprives as many people as possible of that 76-cents/hr pay rise. I never thought that a so-called “profession” would involve wage theft on a professional and wholesale basis but it looks like the PGA and its “No significant addition to workload” contention has ensured a terrible deal for an entire generation of workers.

    There are also considerations to be made for the cost of registration, insurance, CPD membership and the unpaid hours that go towards maintaining the knowledge base which is promptly given away for free at the counter.
    It is incongruous to think that someone who is insured for $20 million indemnity and deals with people’s safety dozens of times a day is getting paid a semi-skilled wage with no other benefit beyond the compulsory 9.5% superannuation on $29.41/hr. Apart from the legally binding things, there are no other benefits in being a pharmacist – some of us still don’t even get a break during the day.

    As per a previous post of mine, it can only be said that the PGA has done very, very well out of employee pharmacists and that they continue to get a lot for their $29/hr. Expect them to fight tooth and nail to keep it this way !

    If we look beyond the dispensary, there are other occupations that offer more and in better conditions than what some of us have to endure with a lot less work involved.

    Pharmacy: where professionalism, knowledge and diligence is rewarded with a pay cut.

    • Ex-Pharmacist

      ^Post of the Year!

    • Paul Sapardanis

      Pharmacist wages are to LOW!!! No arguement from many. The question that needs to be asked though is why? The only reason that I can find is that there is a massive oversupply of pharmacists. Unless this is addressed then the status quo will remain. Just a follow up note please do not forget that the lowest payer in our industry is NOT a member of the PGA. ps as a member of the PGA myself I implore us not to stand in the way of a proper professional wage for our employed colleagues

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