Junior Doctors Employment Guide

<p>Are you a doctor in training considering moving to another state? What terms and conditions of employment are you likely to find in that state?The following Guide to Junior Doctors Employment outlines the different awards and agreements for Junior Doctors in each state and Territory in Australia.</p>


A Guide to being an employee throughout Australia




New South Wales



Western Australia

South Australia

Northern Territory


Australian Capital Territory

Employment for doctors in training in Australia will vary, sometimes significantly, between States and Territories. Doctors in training are not employed by a Commonwealth employer such as the Department of Health and Ageing and are often required to move between different state and territory employers as part of their training. This has prompted the state and territory branches of the AMA in conjunction with the Federal Office of the AMA to develop a guide that provides some basic information for this group of employees. It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive industrial tool and should not be used as a replacement for individual industrial advice. This document is intended as a guide that will assist doctors in training to be able to understand the individual state systems and be armed with questions and direction as to where to obtain further information. AMA/ASMOF branches are able to provide members with copies of relevant information and answer specific industrial questions.


As a general rule it is firstly important to become familiar with the industrial instrument (an Award or Agreement in most states), which governs the conditions of employment. This can be done by getting a copy of the Award and any related documents and even speaking to some colleagues in the State in which you are planning to work.


An award/agreement is the basis for all wages and conditions for employees who fall under the classifications contained therein, i.e. the award or agreement will stipulate the minimum payments that a doctor in training will get.

There will be significantly different conditions of employment between the States and they will not necessarily roll on to an inter-state employer. For example, whilst Victoria provides a training allowance each year, NSW provides only for paid time off and there are specific guidelines around the taking of such leave.

It is possible to negotiate above award/agreement conditions or pay rates but if relying on this negotiation before accepting an inter-state position, make sure that the details have been provided by your new employer in writing. Without a written agreement the award conditions are likely to be considered your entitlement and nothing more.

It is always recommended to obtain as many details as possible regarding your employment before accepting the position. As each state and territory currently operate under different industrial relations systems it is likely that your service will considered to have been broken by the move between states. That is, your employment will be terminated in one state and a new employment contract will commence in another state, meaning you may start from scratch in terms of entitlements. The general exception to this rule is long service leave, which, whilst being governed by legislation specific to the state, does recognise other public sector service as not having broken continuity. For the most part however, even in regards to long service leave, it is important to make sure the break between moving between the two states is minimal.

What this does mean however is that certain accumulated leave, such as annual leave not taken during the year will need to be paid out by the employer you are leaving. This will probably not be possible for sick leave. You will need to confirm this with your employer when you leave. 

New South Wales

Industrial instruments:

  • Public Hospital Medical Officers Award covers conditions of employment, including allowances.
  • Health Professional and Medical Salaries (State) Award covers pay rates and salary sacrificing.
  • Health Industry Status of Employment (State) Award
  • NSW Health Policies A variety of policies clarify the Award clauses and how they should be applied.

Union: Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (‘ASMOF’) or the Health Services Union.

Employer: The employer is the Health Secretary who exercises employer functions on behalf of the Government of NSW. However Local Health Districts and Speciality Networks are delegated by the Secretary with the authority to undertake the day to day functions of the employer.  All negotiations or variations to award conditions and entitlements remain with the Ministry of Health.  

Pay Levels: Based on years of services since graduation with the requirement that Registrar pay is only applied after 3 years of service and Senior Registrar rates apply only to jobs so approved by LHDs under the delegation of the Ministry and funded as such.

Intern – two year contracts

Resident – upon completing the requirements for and obtaining general registration, a medical officer will progress to, and be classified as a Resident and incrementally progress through years 1 to 4.

Registrar – has had at least three years' experience in public hospital service or any lesser period acceptable to the Ministry of Health, & is appointed as a registrar by a hospital, & is occupying a position of registrar in an established position as approved by the employer. There are four steps, years 1 to 4.

Senior Registrar - means a registrar holding higher medical qualifications and occupying a position of senior registrar in an established position as approved by the employer.

Long Service Leave: Two months long service leave after 10 years of service and thereafter five months long service leave for each 10 years’ service. Proportionate period if at least seven years and less than 10 years’ service.  Service may include service with other NSW government sector agencies, Commonwealth and interstate agencies, Non-declared Affiliated Health Organisations and other employers as defined in the relevant Policy Directive. Leave entitlements can be transferred from other NSW government sector agencies and non-declared affiliated health organisations.

Other Award Conditions: Allocated Days Off (‘ADOs’) of one additional day per calendar month which can accumulate to a maximum of three days.

Meal Breaks: Unpaid 30-minute meal break for all Monday to Friday day shifts (8am to 6pm). Paid 30-minute meal break for all other ‘out of hours’ shifts.

Overtime for all hours in excess of 38 hours a week or all time worked in excess of 10 hours in a single shift. Paid at the rate of time and a half for the first two hours, and double time thereafter. All overtime performed on a Sunday is paid at the double time rate.

On Call and Call Back, Higher Duties Allowance, Lactation Breaks, Parental Leave, Family and Community Services Leave and Personal/Carer’s Leave and Family Violence Leave.


Doctors in Training

Industrial Agreement: Victorian Public Health Sector (AMA Victoria) – Doctors in Training (Single Interest Employers) Enterprise Agreement 2013.

Union: Both AMA Victoria and Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (Victorian Branch) have coverage of salaried doctors in Victoria.

Employer: Public hospitals and Health Services are individual employers represented by Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association.

Pay Levels: Based on years of relevant experience at various levels. There are three levels of Hospital Medical Officer (intern, years 2 and 3) 9 levels of Medical Officers (MO years 1 to 6 and Senior MO years 1 to 3) and 6 levels of Registrars (years 1 to 6).

Long Service Leave: 6 months long service after 15 years of employment. Service with an interstate government health service recognised provided such employment was within 2 months of commencing employment or if the service was part of a learned college auspiced training program.

Other State Award Conditions: Overtime of 1.5 for the first two hours in a week then all double time.  Shift allowances for work at night and weekends, ability to authorise unrostered overtime.  Support allowance for continuing medical education, Annual leave of 5 weeks (assuming some overtime worked), Sick leave of 28 days per year cumulative, Examination leave of up to 8 days, up to three weeks of Conference leave, and Long Service leave of 6 months after 15 years of service.

On becoming a specialist, conditions are governed by the AMA Victoria - Victorian Public Health Sector Medical Specialists Enterprise Agreement 2013. 


Senior Medical Officer: Employment Contract, policies and Health Employment Directives.

Visiting Medical Officer: Employment Contract, policies and Health Employment Directives.

Resident Medical Officers: Enterprise Agreement: Medical Officers’ (Queensland Health) Certified Agreement (NO.3) 2012 (up for negotiation again in 2015).

Union: ASMOFQ and Together Queensland (formerly Queensland Public Sector Union) have coverage of medical officers in QLD.

Private Employer: Mater Misericordiae Services (Mater).

Visiting Medical Officers 2012 Enterprise Agreement.

Senior Medical Officers 2014 Enterprise Agreement.

Resident Medical Officers 2014 Enterprise Agreement.

Pay Levels: Are based on years of experience and appointment to an appropriate level.

Long Service Leave: Service with any state public service is recognised for the purpose of long service leave and sick leave providing the service is continuous or there is no break exceeding 12 months and the person has not been employed or has not carried on a business during the break.

Other State Award Conditions: Not recognised

Western Australia

Industrial Agreement: Department of Health Medical Practitioners (Metropolitan Health Services) AMA Industrial Agreement 2013.

WA Health Policies: A variety of policies clarify the Award clauses and how they should be applied

Union: Australian Medical Association of Western Australia

Employer: WA Health Department. Legally the employer party to the Agreement is the Minister for Health incorporated as the Board of the hospitals formerly comprised in the Metropolitan Health Service Board, under s7 of the Hospitals and Health Services Act 1927.

Pay Levels: Based on years of relevant experience at various levels. Intern – Level 1, RMO Year 1 to 3 (equates to previous Pay Levels 2 – 4). Automatic annual progression through the above levels based on satisfactory performance. Resident Medical Officer defined as a registered medical practitioner who has not commenced in a recognised training program and is employed as a RMO in the second or subsequent years of relevant experience following graduation. Registrar Year 1 through 7 (equates to previous Pay Level 5 – 11). Registrar is defined as a registered medical practitioner employed as a Registrar. A Registrar may be employed with or without the Part 1 Examination of an appropriate specialist qualification recognised by the AMC. A Senior Registrar Yr 1 and 2 (equate to previous Pay Level 12 and 13 respectively) is defined as a registered medical practitioner who is either appointed as a Senior Registrar, or a registrar who has obtained an appropriate specialist qualification acceptable to the AMC or equivalent recognised by the Director General of Health. (A registrar shall proceed to Level 12 from the date of recognition by the relevant College of having satisfied all the requirements for admission to Fellowship of the College).

Long Service Leave: 13 weeks LSL after completion of 10 years of continuous service initially, then a further 13 weeks after each period of 7 years of continuous service. Continuous service not affected if a DIT seeks to break their employment to undertake a period of study or employment interstate or overseas to further their professional skills. Period of break can be up to 24 months duration, provided the absence is approved by the employer. Period of break does not count as service but shall not constitute a break in continuous service.

Other State Award Conditions: Portability of LSL. Recognises service by any other WA Government employer or by the Commonwealth or any other State of Australia as long as the commencement with the new employer does not exceed one week post cessation with the previous employer. Practitioner not to proceed on leave until he or she has served a period of not less than three years continuous service under the WA Industrial Agreement.

Professional Development Leave: 3 weeks per annum in total, 2 weeks of which is non-accruing, 1 week accrues and carries over to the next year(s) if not utilised.

South Australia

Industrial Agreement: Department of Health Salaried Medical Officers Enterprise Agreement 2013

Union: South Australian Salaried Medical Officers Association (Level 1, 161 Ward Street, North Adelaide, South Australia, - Ph 8267 5151, Fax 8267 1891, email

Employer: SA Health – but ‘regions’ have delegated authority hire and dismiss

Pay Levels: Based on years of service with automatic progression once passed Intern level. Accelerated progression at levels 2 & 3 for new Registrars.

Long Service Leave: Long Service leave after 10 years (or 7 if separating). Recognition of service for some interstate transfers apply to paid leave entitlements

Other State Award Conditions: Paid leave of 10 days and reimbursement up to $16,000 in each two years period.

Northern Territory

Industrial Agreement: Medical Officers Northern Territory Public Sector Enterprise Agreement 2014-2017.

Union: The Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (Commonwealth Branch).

Employer: Commissioner for Public Employment in the Northern Territory.

Pay Levels: A Medical Officer’s years of full time equivalent post graduate clinical experience will be recognised for the purposes of determining his / her correct classification.

Intern - Level 1 equates to pay level MO1

RMO - Year 1 to 4 equates to pay levels MO2 – MO5

REG – Year 1 to 6 equates to pay levels REG1 – REG6

SREG – Year 1 and 2 equates to pay levels SREG1 – SREG2

Fellow –FEL1

Resident Medical Officer (RMO) is a Medical Officer who has obtained full registration and who has completed the equivalent of at least one year of full time clinical experience.

Senior Resident Medical Officer (SRMO) is a Medical Officer in their fifth or sixth post-graduate year of clinical experience.

Registrar (REG) is a Medical Officer who has at least the equivalent of two years full time experience as an RMO. Has been admitted to an Australian Medical Council accredited vocational training program leading to a fellowship of a specialist medical college, including those of General Practice and Rural & Remote Medicine OR not yet been admitted to a program but who is performing the full equivalent duties as a Medical Officer. Appointment as a Registrar is for an initial period of one year with subsequent appointments up to a maximum period of three years.

Senior Registrar (SREG) is a Medial Officer who has successfully completed Part One (or equivalent) of the requirements for admission to a fellowship of a specialist medical college, and who is within two full time years of completing his / her specialist training program. Appointment as a Senior Registrar is for a period of up to two years. A SREG1 will progress to SREG2 once he / she has advanced to within one full time year of completing his / her specialist training program for admission to a fellowship.

Fellow (FEL) is a Medical Officer who has successfully completed examinational requirements for appointment as a Fellow of an Australasian Specialist College and who has not yet been appointed as a Staff Specialist. Appointment as a Fellow is for a maximum period of two years.

Long Service Leave: In accordance with the provisions of the Public Sector Employment & Management Act – By-law 8. A Medical Officer is entitled to paid long service leave of three calendar months after completing 10 years of continuous service. Two years’ service is required before prior service with a recognised employer is accepted. LSL is paid pro rata after seven years continuous service. A Medical Officer can be absent for up to two years to undertake engagement with a recognized humanitarian medical program or participation in structured rotations as a Registrar without impacting on the Medial Officer’s recognition of continuous service.

Other State Award Conditions: Not recognised (not transference of other leave entitlements without written agreement)


Industrial Agreement: Salaried Medical Practitioners Interim Agreement 2015 (period of operation 23 January 2015 to 30 November 2015) to be read in conjunction with the Salaried Medical Practitioners (AMA/DHHS) Agreement 2009 (period of Operation is 1 December 2009 – 30 June 2012) and the Medical Practitioners (Public Sector) Award 2007.  Both Agreements prevail to the extent of any inconsistency with the Award.  They can be viewed at AMA Tasmania website

Union: Australian Medical Association (Tasmania) Tasmanian Salaried Medical Practitioners Society Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation

Employer: Minister administrating the state service but working within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Pay Levels: Levels based on registration and years of experience:

Medical Practitioner

Level 1 (intern)

Level 2 - 4  (Resident);

Levels 5 - 8 (Senior Resident);

Levels 5 – 9 (Registrar) and

Levels 10 - 11 (Senior Registrar);

Levels 11 - 13 (Senior Registrar - Dual Fellowship or Fellow)

 Levels 10 – 13 (Career Medical Officer)

Specialist Medical Practitioner

Levels 1 – 9 (Specialist) and Senior Specialist Medical practitioner

Level 1 - 3 (Senior Specialist)

Long Service Leave: Long Service Leave (State Employees) Act 1994 – accessible after 10 years’ service.  Accrual of 6.5 days per year if full-time employee for whole year. Pro-rata accrual for part-time employees.

Recognition of up to 65 days service with Commonwealth or State or Territory if in continuous employment and employed by DHHS within 3 months of ceasing employment.

Other State Award: Medical Practitioners (Public Sector) Award 2007 but SMP Agreement prevails to the extent of any inconsistency.

Australian Capital Territory

Industrial Agreement: ACT Public Sector Medical Practitioners Collective Agreement 2013 - 2017 Can be viewed by clicking on the ACT Health employment website. A new ACT Public Sector Medical Practitioners Enterprise Agreement is currently being negotiated. For further information contact AMA ACT on (02) 62705410 or ASMOF ACT 0400372261

Union: Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ACT Branch)

Employers: ACT Health Directorate and Calvary Health Care ACT Inc.

Pay Levels: Levels based on registration and years of experience: Intern; Resident Medical Officer Level 1-4; Registrar Levels 1-4; Senior Registrar: Career Medical Officer 1 and 2; Transition Career Medical Officer’s; Senior Career Medical Officer.

Long Service Leave: Provisions of the Public Sector Management Act and Standards apply.

Other State Award: Nil

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