Friday, June 29, 2018

Victorian public dentists and dental specialists reach historic pay deal

Victorian public dentists and dental specialists reach historic pay deal with 19.2% compounded pay increase 

The Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs) for dentists and dental specialists employed in the public sector expired in May-June 2017. Over the past 12 months, the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) and Professionals Australia have engaged in extensive negotiations for new EBAs. There have been 19 meetings since July 2017, with ADAVB members and employer representatives from the Victoria Hospitals’ Industrial Association (VHIA).

The ADAVB is pleased to announce that an in-principle agreement for public hospital employees has been reached and endorsed by members, to proceed with drafting formal EBAs. This has been achieved through the strong actions of the ADAVB and its members with their Respect Public Dentistry campaign, to ensure a strong and sustainable public dental system to meet the oral health needs of vulnerable Victorians. This has involved meeting with Members of Parliament, engaging with the community and voting to take protected industrial action.

Starting from a position of being up to 40% behind on salary compared to interstate public sector dentists and specialists, the key aspect of the new offer is a significant wage increase of 19.2% compounded over four years. The first salary increase will be 6%, effective from 1 July 2018, which will apply to the base rates and existing salary related allowances. There will be subsequent increases of 6% + 3% + 3% in following years. Dentists and dental specialists will receive a sign-on bonus of $2000 and a CPD allowance of $2000 per year.

ADAVB has focused on an outcome that will help to attract and retain experienced dentists and dental specialists in the critical work of public dentistry. This will be substantially helped by a significant additional uplift in salary for dentists at the mid-levels of experience, where retention incentives are needed the most.

“There is no doubt that this deal will make a huge difference to recruiting and retaining dedicated dentists and dental specialists in the public sector,” said ADAVB President Dr Kevin Morris. “We know there is more to do, especially for our specialists in training. We also need to ensure that our colleagues in community health agencies are offered a deal with fair pay and conditions too, and we will continue to actively pursue this in enterprise bargaining negotiations.”

“The Agreement for public hospital employees will see public dentists and dental specialists receive long overdue increases in their salaries over the life of the Agreements, providing a massive incentive for clinicians to become experienced, and to remain in the public sector serving vulnerable Victorians,” said ADAVB CEO Associate Professor Matt Hopcraft.

Another important element of the deal includes an improvement in paid parental leave of from 10 to 12 weeks. The importance of dentists continually improving is being supported in the Agreements, with provisions to support continuing professional development (CPD) activities, including CPD reimbursed up to $2000 each year.

Once the drafting of the Agreements is finalised, they will be submitted to a ballot of employees for approval as required by the Fair Work Act.

ADAVB encourages all dentists working in the public sector to join and nominate the ADAVB as their bargaining representative to ensure strong representation and positive outcomes for all public sector members and the community they serve.

Pictured L-R: A historic pay deal. A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft (ADAVB CEO) and Stuart McCullough, CEO (Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association).