Bargaining kicks off for Salaried Doctors (Canberra Doctor - April 2017)

Since the results of AMA (ACT)’s enterprise bargaining survey were released in February, the AMA (ACT)’s Council of Doctors in Training developed a ‘log of claims’ that was subsequently presented to ACT Health.  Last week, the log of claims formed part of AMA (ACT)’s presentation at the first bargaining meeting for the next enterprise agreement.

In addition to AMA (ACT), other bargaining representatives present at the negotiating meeting included ASMOF, several medical practitioners in person and a legal representative for a group of staff specialists.

AMA (ACT)’s Log of Claims

While our log of claims deals mainly with issues relevant to junior staff, the agreement itself will apply generally to medical practitioners employed by ACT Health. In brief, our claim covers annual leave, ADOs, overtime, rosters, training and, of course, a salary increase.


First Bargaining Meeting 

The first meeting saw some interesting developments including the fact that ACT Health would like to see an agreement “in place” by October 2017. While this is encouraging, it will also be a challenge for all the parties to agree on the new terms, have the agreement voted up and then approved by the Fair Work Commission within the timeframe.  

This is particularly so given that ACT Health has yet to present their claims and their expected timeframe for doing so is the end of May.

 As ever, the issue of backpay is a controversial one with no further pay increases available under the current agreement that ends on 30 June 2017.  We understand that the ACT Government’s position is that if there is not an ‘in principle’ agreement before 1 July 2017, they will not backpay any government employee. Given the delay by ACT Health in presenting their claim, it’s a little rich to be ruling a line under backpay at this point.


New Section ‘B’ for DITs

AMA (ACT) has proposed that a new and separate section ‘B’ in the new agreement be created to contain items relevant to JMOs only. This would mean the structure of the new agreement would see the creation of a Section B for DITs and other junior staff, a core conditions section applicable to all doctors and a new Section ‘A’ for Staff Specialists.


Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on the first Tuesday in June from 4:30pm. An agenda will be circulated beforehand but the intention is to dedicate this meeting to what would be included in a restructured agreement – Core Conditions, Section A and Section B.

It’s fair to say that the junior doctors are currently the only group that has a comprehensive proposal on the table and that’s a great credit to the AMA (ACT)’s Council of Doctors in Training and our DIT members.


Outline of AMA (ACT)’s Log of Claims for Salaried Doctors


  • A minimum 28 days’ notice of rosters (rosters should include ordinary hours of hours, rostered overtime and on-call)
  • Include a clause to facilitate departmental-based specific rosters in the EA. Such rosters should take into account the service needs, adequate rest for practitioners and other relevant contingencies. Moreover, this proposal should be determined in consultation with ACTH, relevant Heads of Department and employee representatives (i.e. AMA, ASMOF)
  • Rosters should reflect time required to complete work (time required for theatre preparation, ward rounds, clerical duties, clinical handover, administrative duties and education session).
  • DiTs should not be rostered to work more than 7 consecutive days. If they are rostered to work more than 7 consecutive days, the relevant overtime loading will apply until a full two days free from duty is given.


  • Up to 5 additional hours of ‘dedicated training time’ (equalling 43 hours per week or an average of 43 hours per week over 4 weeks) for DiTs. This time should be used to complete college specific education training, ACTH mandated education sessions, including generic Intern teaching sessions, RMO teaching, accredited departmental meetings (Radiology, Pathology, General Medicine). This training time should not include case discussion for professional opinion. Dedicated teaching time would ideally be scheduled into JMO rosters. The object would be to facilitate JMO/RMO involvement in departmental case presentations.
  • The ‘dedicated teaching time’ proposal will also be determined in consultation with the relevant college/department and this time shall be free from clinical duties (except in medical emergencies or disaster situations)
  • 3 days clear from all duties prior to an examination.
  • Increase the ‘conference leave’ allowance from the current amount ($3,062) to 12% of a DiTs fixed wage and be payable in each fortnightly pay. Moreover, this should reflect the genuine training requirements and costs for DiTs, including the increase in College fees

 Annual Leave

  • An additional week of leave of annual leave for all Doctors who work five Saturdays or Sundays in a year.
  • Leave applied for four (4) or more months in advance be approved in two or less weeks upon the request being made.
  • ACTH work collaboratively with DiTs to accommodate their leave requests and ensure they have access to the leave they accrue. 


  • Reduce the accrual of ADOs from 13 days to 6 days. Any additional day accrued past the limit be automatically paid out at time and a half.
  • Where appropriate, ADOs be taken as two ‘half-days’.


  • A review committee (ACTH, AMA, ASMOF) to oversee the lodgement of overtime, approval process and compliance with enterprise agreement.
  • Include the dates and hours of overtime worked in each payslip (Note: we’ve also proposed that penalty rates, on-call/call back be included)
  • Ensure that Time-Off-In-Lieu (TOIL) of overtime is readily available.
  • Reduce the amount of time ACTH has to rectify underpayments of overtime from 2 pay periods to 1 pay period. Interest shall be paid on underpayments and be calculated daily.

Separate section for DiTs

  • A separate section within the EA for JMOs/DiTs be included in the new agreement. This would ensure the new agreement is easier to read and better suited to the needs of DiT


*Anish Prasad is the Hospital Organiser for the AMA (ACT). If you are an AMA (ACT) Member and have an employment related concerns or questions, please contact him via email.

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