Pharmacists less likely to lose jobs, be stood down

Pharmacists are more likely than other Professionals Australia members to seek advice on wage theft, leave entitlements and notifications about performance

In his annual President’s Report for 2019-2020, PPA president Dr Geoff March has taken a look at issues of concern to employee pharmacists, with particular attention to how the profession has fared compared to others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He writes that national legal and industrial staff dealt with 255 matters for pharmacists and pharmacy technician members over the last 12 months.

“Pharmacy employees continue to have a higher proportion of individual employment issues than any other group of Professional Australia members,” Dr March writes.

“Thirteen per cent of cases raised for PPA members were Pharmacy Board notifications. PA very rarely has to assist members in other professionals with notifications regarding their performance to their respective regulatory bodies.

“PPA members are also more likely than other PA members to seek advice and representation on leave entitlements (7%); wage theft (7%); and obtaining award, National Employment Standards and enterprise agreement entitlements (16%).”

He noted that PPA members were less likely than other PA members to seek advice and representation on employment contracts and redeployment or redundancy.

PPA members are confronted with unfair dismissals in about the same proportions as the rest of PA members, he noted.

“During the current COVID-19 pandemic PPA members have been less likely than the rest of PAs membership to have been placed on JobSeeker, stood down, lost their jobs or had their pay cut than the rest of our members,” writes Dr March.

“However, particularly at the start of the pandemic PPA members reported significant increases in work load, stress and aggressive patients.

“It has been noticed over the last year or so that pharmacy employers are becoming less likely to resolve matters in discussions with the union.

“As a result, many of the matters raised by our members result in an increasing need for PA staff to resort to litigation in the Fair Work Commission or the Federal Court in order to ensure our PPA members to obtain their legal rights.”

He added that the union is concerned about reports where the Pharmacy Board “seems to be taking undue time to resolve some cases”.

“Another area of concern is intern underpayments with an estimated 50% may be earning less than the award rate.”

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