Pharmacy wage increase

New minimum rates for pharmacy workers now apply from 1 July

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently handed down its Annual Wage Review Decision, in which it determined to increase all minimum award rates of pay by 1.75%.

It will be applying three different operative dates for the commencement of these increases based on the impacts of COVID-19 on each sector.

The first group to receive this increase, beginning 1 July, includes employees under the Pharmacy Industry Award.

Other workers who receive an increase in the first round include social assistance workers, teachers and childcare workers, and other essential services.

Remaining groups will receive their increases from either 1 November 2020 or 1 February 2021, based on the impact of COVID-19 on their industries.

Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) says that it sought increases of 4% through the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), however employers in turn sought a pay freeze.

“In the current economic and pandemic environment PPA believes that a 1.75% increase is probably better than expected,” says the union.

The Award now also details minimum rates of pay where penalties apply. These rates can be found here.

“It’s important that you check to make sure that you are being paid at least the minimum rate for your classification. It’s illegal to pay you less than the minimum rate for your classification,” says PPA.

A Pharmacy Guild spokesperson said: “As an employer organisation, the Guild urges all pharmacy employers to comply fully with their legal obligations in terms of wages and entitlements for staff, including the provisions and pay rates under the award where they operate under the award.

“The minimum award rates are now incorporated into the award, noting that many pharmacies in many parts of Australia pay above the award.”

PPA has published the following table that shows the new minimum rates:

Source: PPA.

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  1. Dr Evan Ackermann

    How much does a Retail Sales Assistant make in Australia?
    The average salary for a Retail Sales Assistant is $25.77
    per hour in Australia. Salary estimates are based on 515 salaries
    submitted anonymously to Indeed by Retail Sales Assistant employees,
    users, and collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed
    in the past 36 months.

  2. gonepipping

    Pharmacy manager $37.38/hr (tasks involved, barely keeping up!).
    Junior lawyer 0.3 units (=billing from sending an email, $45).

    This might be why the pipeline remains broken. The value of the ‘offering’ of certain professions – like pharmacy – is either obfuscated from societal awareness, or the right ‘structure of the practice environment’ remains elusive or pegged to a historical legacy model which doesn’t work. This does nothing for patients or the necessary collaboration between all healthcare providers, yet somehow is now set in stone for another 5-years.

    Medications are not books, DVDs or general groceries. If we can learn anything from Prince, Brittany Murphy, Michael Jackson, or any other person who has experienced the detrimental result of medication mismanagement, it is that all health practitioners have a role to play in keeping our society going. They can’t do that if they feel the pressure continually of how they can use their wage, which reflects a ‘perceived value’ of what they offer and are capable of, to provide for and take care of their loved ones.

    Add a remuneration model that pegs pharmacy revenues to product sales (was it really a surprise that for years patients stockpiled medications prior to their SN/CN running out to save a few dollars?); an ongoing (yet understandable) downward pressure on PBS payable by the Government; the expiry of drug patents leading to generic flooding of the market leading to further downward price pressure etc.. and you have the current ‘dogs breakfast’ environment that continues to weigh heavily on the pharmacy profession. I guess we all have our Johari blind-spots and comfort zones.

    I truly feel for all of the troopers on the front line in healthcare settings – the pharmacists, the nurses and others who continue their altruistic and benevolent activities, doing so much for so little – often trying to navigate imposed challenges created from scarce resource allocations, their patients’ mental health and biases while sick, and others’ blind spots while trying to effect positive behavioural changes and health care outcomes. It is mind-boggling that broader economic conditions continue to cause these talented multi-taskers to haggle over a 20-cent raise in hourly wage – taking their attention away from patients in order to focus on an ego-driven escalation battle.

    I guess with the ‘fear response’ having been embedded in human DNA since humanity began, coupled with the change process and resource scarcity, one can only look at the sky and LOL at the comic absurdity of it all!

    Take care! 🙂

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      I’m not going to argue thst pharmacist wages are good, because they’re a disgrace

      But comparing hourly rate of one profession to the billing rate of another isn’t logical

      The billing rate of any professional is significantly higher than their hourly rate

      Our award is still shit though, and market rates have stagnated for 20 years….. and if you look at some of the “tricks” that have entered the market, you might say its worse

      Things like quoting an hourly rate that is *inclusive* of superannuation, or paying an above award rate for standard hours, but paying penalty rates based on the award.

    • Dr Evan Ackermann

      Frankly I do think the front-line pharmacists deserve better.

      The 7th CPA failed to deliver what is needed most, improved remuneration models for frontline pharmacists and validity of community pharmacy as a profession and a trusted voice on health issues.
      Frontline pharmacists are compelled to increase their label-sticking, perform medication management services and “programs” which they know (and evidence says) does not work – for dollars that go to the business notthem. The Guild wins again. Pharmacy programs are a backdoor payment to owners.This was $1.2Billion that the PSA could have lobbied for a
      better deal for front line pharmacists – but the PSA is asleep at the wheel. You would think there may have been reference to different funding models for pharmacists rather than channeling everything through community pharmacy business owners.

      • TALL POPPY

        The shocking truth in pharmacy is that the real money is going to a select few….big owners of groups that have shares in multiple stores run by puppet minor partners. Furthermore the good stores are always sold off market behind closed doors….those advertised are, in truth, almost always the dregs.
        There can be complex proxy & trust structures also that appear to allow multiple ownership – many pharmacists don’t even have the faintest clue what this is about.

        Pharmacy wages have not kept up in-line with inflation at all…pharmacists should be on over $55/hr if it did minimum!
        You only have to look at Redit and various online forums to note how disgruntled pharmacists are. The whole situation really is not optimal.

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