Earlier this year, it came to the AMA (WA)’s attention that junior doctors employed by North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) who were seconded to an external site were put on a ‘rolling roster’. Under the rolling roster, it was intended that a medical practitioner’s hours over the course of a term would be averaged out for the purpose of overtime. For example, if a practitioner in a 11-week term worked 443 hours, they would be paid three hours of overtime. Under our Industrial Agreement, overtime should be calculated on the basis of hours worked in excess of 80 in a two-week pay cycle (Clause 17(2)).
However, under the rolling roster, a junior doctor could work 90 hours in a fortnight and 70 hours in the next fortnight; and therefore, as the hours are averaged, they would not be paid overtime. This is a clear breach of our Industrial Agreement. The AMA (WA) took swift action, including seeking the assistance of the WA Industrial Relations Commission – to ensure that WA Health secondees would be paid overtime correctly in accordance with our Industrial Agreement; that rosters would not subsequently be amended to try and correct the issue to the disadvantage of our members; and that future compliance would be ensured.
We advise all seconded WA Health medical practitioners, whose rosters or payment of overtime is not compliant with our Industrial Agreement, to contact the AMA (WA).
This article first appeared in the May-June 2023 edition of Medicus magazine.