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Changes To The Nurses Award 2010

Published January 14, 2019 (last updated February 9, 2023) - Head of Operations
Nurse Holding Patient's Hand

Everything employers need to know

The Fair Work Commission has announced changes to the Nurses Award 2010, which are now in effect. The changes impact Overtime (Recall to Work), Meal Breaks, Ordinary Hours of Work, Rest Breaks between Rostered Shifts and Rostering.

What’s changed?

Overtime (Recall to Work)

Employees must now be paid overtime when they are ‘Recalled to Work’ for situations where they do not need to physically attend the workplace. This covers situations where an employee is requested by their employer to perform work remotely, such as providing advice or care to patient residents or clients via telephone or electronic communications. The minimum pay period for this overtime is one hour.

Meal Break requirements

The following changes have been made to Meal Breaks:

  • The award will set out when a meal break is to be taken during a shift (between the fourth and sixth hour after commencing a shift which is more than five hours).
  • Where an employee’s shift is six hours or less, they can elect by mutual agreement to forgo their meal break
  • Where they are required to be available to be recalled to work during their meal break, they will be entitled to 30 minutes pay at their ordinary rate, however this paid time will not be regarded as ordinary time worked for the purposes of calculating overtime or penalties.
  • Where an employee is recalled to work during their meal break they will be entitled to overtime payment until the rest of their meal break is taken.

Free from duty restrictions

As of 9 January, an employee cannot be on call to perform work when they are rostered to be “free from duty”.

Rest breaks between shifts

The minimum rest period between shifts has been increased from 8 to ten hours.   However, an employee (in consideration of their own fatigue management) can agree for a rest break between two shifts to be reduced to back to eight hours. An overtime payment at double time will be payable until the employee is released from duty for the above rest break period.

Notice of changes to rosters

Employers now have the ability to alter a roster where unplanned absences impact the operational requirements of the business.

Previously, a roster could be amended with 7 days’ notice and an employer could only alter the roster with earlier notice in instances where other employees became ill or had to attend an emergency. A roster can now be amended by to fill a gap in the workforce where employees become absent for reasons relating to other types of leave such as ceremonial leave, compassionate leave, carers leave or family and domestic violence leave. Where this occurs, an alternate day off must be mutually arranged.

When do these changes come into effect?

The changes are effective as of 9 January 2019.

What should you do now?

To stay compliant and meet your obligations under the Nurses Award 2010, you must now comply with the changes outlined above. If you need any advice on understanding and implementing these changes please call us on 1300 651 415 to discuss.

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