WA Health wants to strip leave from DiTs when promoted to senior classifications

AMA 9WA) | A Fair Go Campaign

The Australian Medical Association (WA) sought for all doctors in training (DiTs) to have their accrued leave entitlements put on hold for a period of up to 24 months when they move overseas, interstate or into the private health system to pursue training opportunities required to pass their fellowships, on the request of the DiT.

DiTs are predominantly employed on contracts no longer than 12 months. As part of their training, they are often required to move interstate or overseas to undertake training. With the devolution of WA Health Services, it is likely that DiTs will have to change employer once or twice per year. We increasingly see WA Health seizing on these opportunities to pay out accrued leave entitlements and refuse to recognise previous service, arbitrarily denying doctors access to annual leave, sick leave, paid parental leave and the ability to accrue long service leave.

Doctors are the only public sector employees who must move through the system in this fashion in order to complete their training – training which invariably is something that WA Health will benefit from in the end, as the trained doctor gives back to public service.

In addition, some employers refuse to recognise previously accrued leave and service on promotion, meaning those WA doctors are the only public sector employees who lose their accrued entitlements upon promotion. This is grossly unfair, especially if the DIT’s accrued leave is the result of their inability to access such leave during their time as DiTs, due to critical workforce shortages.

WA Health’s Offer

  • allows employers to use their discretion to employ DiTs on contracts on leave without pay, as a means to park accrued entitlements.
  • strips DiTs of accrued annual, sick and service related entitlements when promoted to senior classifications.
  • recognition of continuity of service with state-contracted entities for the purposes of access to paid parental leave and long-service leave.

WA Health insists that any decision made to allow you to park your leave entitlements is discretionary – one the employer is free to accept or refuse.

Based on health service providers’ recent attitude towards your legal entitlements, we do not trust HSPs to make these discretionary decisions on leave without pay openly, honestly or fairly and therefore insist, that provided your break is no more than 24 months, you should be the one who is able to elect to park or port your accrued leave, provided explicitly outlined criteria are met.

WA Health is also of the firm view that any leave accrued as a DiT must be paid out when the DiT transitions to a Consultant position, even if there is no break in service between contracts.  This proposal contravenes common law, legislative and long-standing public sector standards. It would be particularly egregious for the AMA (WA) to consider such a limitation given that it is simply a cost saving measure at the expense of doctors in training who are systematically denied access to their entitlements due to chronic workforce shortages.

All leave accrued must be transferred when a DiT transitions to senior practitioner.

Recognition of continuity of service with state-contracted entities for the purposes of access to paid parental provides a benefit only to a very small number of practitioners i.e. those who commenced with a state-contracted entity and then continued with WA Health. All other practitioners are already entitled to paid parental leave if they served 12 months continuously with WA Health at some point in time.

      AMA (WA) Portability of Entitlements

Source: AMA (WA) WA Health EBA Negotiations (DiTs)

A system that works to strip you at every level of entitlement

Dr Megge Beacroft on why junior doctors in WA Health feel let down by a system that disadvantages them at every level of entitlement.

Share your story & help advocate for change

You need to share your story now – because the State Government doesn’t think this impacts your wellbeing. They don’t think you deserve these issues being addressed. All details will be kept confidential and secure. The AMA (WA) will not use your story in any way that would identify you – without your express permission.