APA (NSW) Member Update
Income Protection Award
Friday 2 September 2016
We have provided various member updates in the past with respect to the rescinding of the Death & Disability Award and the introduction of the Income Protection Award as a result of determination by the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).
To recap, the IRC determined, as a result of the Death & Disability Scheme no longer being able to be funded due to increased premiums and the Ministry of Health (MoH) refusing to provide any additional funding, that an Income Protection Award would replace the scheme. This Award came into effect 20 August 2016 without the agreement of either Union.
The new Award provides members who are injured and unable to perform the duties of their substantive position with an income protection benefit up to 75% of their pre-injury salary for a maximum benefit period of two years. It also provides for a lump sum payment in the event of death. As previously explained, when it became abundantly clear that the IRC was going to rule in favour of an income protection scheme as sought by the MoH, APA (NSW) tried to negotiate an extra year of benefits (3 years instead of 2 years). This did not in any way mean that we agreed that it was all the protection our paramedics deserve, rather, we were trying to get the best result we could while we fought for a better scheme in other arenas. Unfortunately, due to not all parties agreeing, we were unable to guarantee you the extra year of income protection.
APA (NSW) wholeheartedly agrees that the level of protection provided under the new Award is more than unsatisfactory to our members who are at risk everyday whilst serving their community. However, it is very important to understand that we were very limited in what we are able to achieve legally in the IRC due to the government wages legislation and the award review clause that was negotiated into the original Death & Disability Award
by the MoH and the HSU.
We have not instructed our membership to carry out industrial bans/industrial action at this point as we do not believe this would be effective as the IRC would have the jurisdiction to order us to stop the action due, especially if the action had potential to impact on patient welfare. We were recently in the IRC where exactly this occurred. The NSWA sought the assistance of the IRC as a result of threats to implement industrial action by the HSU; the IRC handed down an order not to implement any bans with respect to this issue.
Whilst it’s evident that avenues have been exhausted in the IRC, APA (NSW) is currently campaigning for and will continue to campaign for better protections by lobbying the government and speaking to key stakeholders and the media. We encourage all of our members to do the same.
APA (NSW) Executive
Your Choice, Your Voice