Pay up 21%


PPA has urged the Pharmacy Guild to pass newly-decided pay rises of up to 15% on to their employees in full

Professional Pharmacists Australia says that the decision by the Fair Work Commission to provide a 5% increase in pharmacists’ pay – and another 10% for those undertaking HMRs and RMMRs – in the Work Value case should give pharmacists encouragement to keep pushing for higher pay.

On Thursday, the FWC handed down its decision regarding its Four-Yearly Review of Modern Awards – Pharmacy Industry Award.

In December 2018, it had issued a decision finding that PPA (then APESMA) had demonstrated that there was an increase in work value associated with the introduction of HMRs and RMMRs that “justified a discrete adjustment to award remuneration by means of the introduction of a new allowance”.

It decided at the time that there had been “an increase in the work value of pharmacists since 1998 in respect of the introduction of inoculations, the provisions of emergency contraception, the downscaling of medicines to pharmacy-only status, and a general increase in the level of responsibility and accountability”.

It also found a “lack of alignment in pay rates and relativities” between pharmacists and those for classifications requiring equivalent qualifications.

Submissions were invited and were filed by APESMA, the PSA, the Pharmacy Guild, and Australian Business Industrial and the NSW Business Chamber.

The Guild submitted that an allowance for work associated with HMRs and RMMRs should be payable on each occasion they are performed, quantified on the basis of an approximate equation with one hour of the minimum rate for an Experienced Pharmacist (currently $29.79) and capped at approximately five hours a week.

This would take it to an additional 3.55% of the standard rate on each occasion one of these reviews was performed. It also proposed adding the new allowance in the list of matters which might be satisfied by the payment of an annualised salary.

The Guild also suggested a general increase for all pharmacist classifications except for interns of 5%, to be implemented in two equal instalments on 1 July 2019 and 1 July 2020.

It also submitted that in light of these suggestions, comparing pharmacist pay to relevant others was not necessary.

But the Commission said it was “not persuaded” by the Guild’s submissions regarding a “per occasion” allowance was an appropriate method of remuneration.

From 1 October 2019, an employee classified as a Pharmacist, Experienced Pharmacist, Pharmacist in Charge or Pharmacist Manager who is required by the employer to perform HMRs or RMMRs will be paid an allowance of $106.40 per week.

A 5% increase will be introduced in two equal instalments of 2.5% from 1 July 2019 – in addition to the 3% increase arising from the Annual Wage Review 2018-9 – and 2.5% from 1 October 2019.

PPA CEO Chris Walton said pharmacists should be proud of this achievement.

“Pharmacists banded together to deliver up to 15% pay increases in this Work Value case, which is one of the first of its kind,” said Mr Walton.

“When you add that to more than 6% across the past two consecutive National Wage increases, pharmacists have seen an unprecedented 21% bump in pay.

“Up to 21% increases in the past three years have now been achieved but pharmacists deserve more.”

He said the case was not over, with the issue of pay relativity still to be resolved by the President of the Commission, which he said could result in another boost to pay.

“In addition to the increases today, we achieved recognition wages were out of whack with other industries and will now push for a further increase,” he said.

Mr Walton called on employers to pass on the wage increases in full, and not absorb the increases.

“Today, I’m calling on the Pharmacy Guild to advise members to pass on the pay rises in full. I’m also calling on all employers to confirm they will do so.

“The fact is that pharmacists who undertake a 4-year degree plus 1-year internship and have greater responsibilities deserve to be paid more than award rate of $27 per hour.

“It seems incomprehensible that such well trained and critical health professionals can be paid less than $50,000 per annum.”

The Pharmacy Guild has sent a message to its members saying that it is analysing the impact of these decisions. More details will be sent to members next week.  

“The Guild is also updating wage sheets and members will be advised when these are available.”

Previous Guild joins small business digital champions project
Next Clinical tips: common ailments

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.

10 Comments

  1. Ex-Pharmacist
    15/06/2019

    This is a step in the right direction, but 5, 10 & 15% of not much ($27) is still not much.
    The Guild (owners) will minimize wage increases by nominating a single pharmacist who will do all the HMRs/RMMRs in the pharmacy, denying most of the higher award wage (~$32).

    Year 12 students, Pharmacy Interns & recent Graduates should take note.
    The Pharmacy Guild of Australia opposed any wage increases at the recent Fair Work Commission hearings. https://ajp.com.au/news/no-significant-net-addition-to-workload/

    This is the organisation who dictates how the community pharmacy sector operates in Australia, especially how much you get paid (peanuts), your expected workload (unreasonably excessive, menial & exploitative) and your professional responsibilities (manifestly excessive).

    Never forget that.

    Some hold out hope that the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) will be the savior of employee pharmacists. It is a false hope. Most of the PSA committees are pharmacy owners.
    I will leave it to you to understand the ramifications of that.

    Pharmacy career?
    Forget it

  2. Ex-Pharmacist
    15/06/2019

    This is a step in the right direction, but 5, 10 & 15% of not much ($27) is still not much.
    The Guild (owners) will minimize wage increases by nominating a single pharmacist who will do all the HMRs/RMMRs in the pharmacy, denying most of the higher award wage (~$32).

    Year 12 students, Pharmacy Interns & recent Graduates should take note.
    The Pharmacy Guild of Australia opposed any wage increases at the recent Fair Work Commission hearings. https://ajp.com.au/news/no-significant-net-addition-to-workload/

    This is the organisation who dictates how the community pharmacy sector operates in Australia, especially how much you get paid (peanuts), your expected workload (unreasonably excessive, menial & exploitative) and your professional responsibilities (manifestly excessive).

    Never forget that.

    Some hold out hope that the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) will be the savior of employee pharmacists. It is a false hope. Most of the PSA committee members are pharmacy owners.
    I will leave it to you to understand the ramifications of that.

    Pharmacy career?
    Forget it

    • Still a Pharmacist
      15/06/2019

      Also the Guild asked the then Health Minister for a moratorium on HMR saying there was shortage of fund because HMR payment was going mostly to the claiming pharmacist instead of pharmacy owner. And at the same time they started distributing money to the pharmacy owners for selling Nurofen Plus in the name of clinical intervention.

      • Andrew
        16/06/2019

        My understanding is that the Guild took over the administration of CPA funds from the Health Dept (not sure how or why) and then almost immediately brought in the HMR caps and, Medcheks and PPIs.

        Any insight on how or why funds administration went to PGA? Anyone?

        • Anthony Tassone
          16/06/2019

          Andrew

          The Guild commenced administering the 6CPA programs at the request and directive of then Health Minister Peter Dutton in March 2014.

          The Guild did not independently impose caps on HMR services. This was mutually agreed with the Department of Health at the time to ensure the program kept within its allocated budget during the 5CPA period.

          Without caps being implemented at the time, there would have been an exhaustion of funds spent under the HMR program before the end of the 5CPA (June 2015) and the program would have been at risk of having a period of no delivery or funding.

          At the time, there was a re-allocation of funds that had not been fully spent within the 5CPA to the HMR program to help assure its continuance throughout the 5CPA period.

          At the time the Guild requested a moratorium of the HMR program as there were concerns of some providers not acting within the intent of the rules in not conducting the reviews within the patient’s home but undertaking different models (e.g. the general practice clinic) and potential unscrupulous behaviour by some providers.

          Anthony Tassone
          President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

          • Andrew Gray
            11/07/2019

            Anthony, you act as though the Guild didn’t solicit the job. This is the standard style of fobbing off of responsibility that the Guild does any time something adverse happens to non-owner pharmacists. Just look at the Location Rules. Sure, the government enacted the decision, but reading through the text it’s obvious that this legislative spaghetti code was drafted in-house at the Guild and passed to bewildered public servants and MPs to rubber-stamp.

            [Guild] submitted that … comparing pharmacist pay to relevant others was not necessary.

            One wonders why the Guild would say that. Another contemptible act by the Guild designed to suppress pharmacists.

          • Anthony Tassone
            11/07/2019

            Andrew

            In terms of the payment administration of the (then) 5CPA programs, prior to the Guild taking on this role, claims for services such as Home Medicine Reviews were submitted via fax to a single number based in Adelaide, which was becoming a somewhat challenging and cumbersome way for providers to submit claims.

            The approach to processing meant that there was not real time visibility on how the expenditure of programs was tracking against budget.

            At the time, the Department was asked by the then Minister for Health Peter Dutton how long would it take for the Department to deploy an online claiming system that would reduce claim times and provide this real time visibility. The Guild was invited to provide this service and deployed the system within 6 weeks from accepting the request to do so.

            Put simply, the Department was approached first by the then Minister’s office to update and reform the payment system.

            On location rules, they have been in place for almost 30 years and the Guild and Department of Health have over the decades jointly agreed on modifications and iterations to them. From an outsider to the industry they can appear somewhat complex, but the outcomes speak for themselves in terms of equity of access and helping deliver a major pillar of national medicines policy for all of Australians.

            On the recent work value case – the criterion for determining a ‘significant net addition’ to the work value of an occupation or rule is based on comparing changes in three criteria over time; skills and responsibility, the nature of the work performed and the conditions under which the work was performed. Comparisons to other roles and occupations – whilst interesting does not fall within the scope of a work value assessment under the Fair Work legislation for consideration by the Commission.

            On the other hand, if a case based on ‘relativity’ was lodged with the Fair Work Commission in benchmarking pharmacists against other occupations, then yes the Fair Work Commission should consider comparisons to other occupations and see if the award rate for pharmacists is appropriate in this sense.

            In summary: Comparing to other roles and occupations fits in to a ‘relativity case’ – not a ‘work value case’ which has just had a decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission.

            This is the product of the legislation within the Fair Work Act and the framework that the Commission undertakes their deliberation and consideration on cases.

            Anthony Tassone
            President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

    • JimT
      17/06/2019

      and the one pharmacist doing the reviews will be paid on a pro rata basis so the 15% pay rise is just a play on numbers anyway

  3. Michael Khoo
    17/06/2019

    If I paid my current staff the new award rate it would actually be a 21% pay cut. The award is still irrelevant to the actual cost of getting and holding quality staff. The joke is that everyone acknowledges this except our unions, both of which have their own agendum est. https://seuss.fandom.com/wiki/North-Going_Zax

    • JimT
      17/06/2019

      and if you don’t increase their above award pay by this increase they will end up with a decrease in wages relative to what they were on also.

Leave a reply