When it comes to your rights and entitlements at work, NSWNMA General Secretary Shaye Candish has the answers.
Annual leave in a medical centre
I’ve just started a job at a local medical centre, how many weeks of annual leave should I get?
When working for a smaller private employer you’ll generally be covered by the Nurses Award 2020. The Award provides for 5 weeks of annual leave as a standard. However your employer can pay you a higher rate of pay and then provide four weeks of annual leave instead. The first step is for you to look at your contract or letter of offer and see if there’s any mention of annual leave. If annual leave is not mentioned or you’re still unsure, this is a great question to take to bring to us and we can give you specific advice.
In my unit, we have a team leader for all three shifts but only the morning and evening shift receive the in-charge allowance? Is this right?
The allowance is paid when the NUM of a ward is away, so it’s often paid for afternoon and night shift if the NUM is not at work. However a Team Leader may also be paid the allowance where the NUM is at work and the nurse in-charge is delegated and performs the ‘day-to-day’ clinical management of the unit. Practically, if a team leader is allocating patients, handling escalations and questions from staff and generally running the clinical work of the unit, then they should receive an in-charge allowance.
If you believe that you may qualify for this allowance and aren’t being paid it, you should contact the Association for a further discussion.
Employer requests for medical info
I’ve had knee surgery in the past and have some difficulty bending over or kneeling. I work in the public system and have been asked to get a medical certificate to show I can keep working. Is that allowed?
Employers have a right to request medical evidence from you if they have reasonable questions about your ability to perform the requirements of your job or if there are safety concerns because of your health. However, a request by an employer for medical information should be specific and confined to the concerns they’ve raised. In this example, it’s probably reasonable for the employer to ask you for medical information or doctor certificates about your knees and how your injury affects movement and mobility. It would likely not be reasonable, though, to ask you for information about psychologist appointments or blood pressure medication.
If you have been asked for medical information from your employer and are concerned that the request is not reasonable you should contact the Association for assistance.
Classification following parental leave
If I take parental leave for a year, will I have to take a lower classification job when I return?
No, if you return from parental leave after having a child you are entitled to return to the position which you left when you commenced parental leave. If the job no longer exists, you should be employed in the same or a similar position to the one you left before taking parental leave. This right is set out in s 66 of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 for public sector workers and in s 84 of the Fair Work Act 2009 for private sector workers.
Personal leave at Ramsay
I work for Ramsay and have to take my elderly grandfather to hospital unexpectedly. What sort of leave should I take?
Leave entitlements can be different from employer to employer so it’s good to check your own enterprise agreement or Award. Taking care of a family member is a valid reason to take paid personal leave (often known as sick leave). In the Ramsay Agreement, a grandparent qualifies as a family member and so you are absolutely entitled to take a day of paid personal leave to help him attend an unexpected hospital visit.