The jury is out whether the DHBs’ third pay offer – which adds two extra pay steps for experienced nurses on top of the panel’s pay recommendations – will avert a winter strike.

The 20 district health boards’ revised offer – unexpectedly released to media yesterday before the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation had time to share it with its 27,000 nurses, midwives and health care assistant DHB members – echoes the panel’s pay rise recommendations in offering the equivalent of a 3 per cent a year increase in base pay over three years plus a pro-rata $2000 lump sum.

Nurses on social media last week called the panel pay recommendations ‘a joke’ and NZNO said the DHBs would have to repackage and strengthen its offer beyond the panel recommendations to meet stretched and frustrated nurses concerns if  planned strikes in July were to be averted.

The DHBs’ response is a revised offer targeted at the estimated 75 per cent – about 15,000 of the DHBs’ total 20,000 hospital-based registered nurses and midwives – currently at the top of the five step basic pay scale by adding two extra pay steps that will bring the top base pay salary to $77,386 in December 2019.

The DHBs say this could take the mean earnings for an experienced, proficient level, hospital RN working regular weekends, night shifts and some overtime from $81,459 currently, to $93,874 in July 2020 (see tables below for that and more DHB salary scenarios). A DHBs spokesperson said the $81,459 salary used for the current scenario was based on the average earnings across the 20 DHBs of all full-time hospital nurses and midwives on the top of the five step pay scale.

The offer sticks with the panel’s pay recommendations (nine per cent over three years plus lump sum scenario) for enrolled nurses, nurses and midwives on the community pay scale, the senior nurse scale, and health care assistants– but a further 1 per cent would be added  to the senior nurse scale from June this year.

DHBs are also describing the latest offer – which stretches their last rejected offer of 2 per cent a year plus lump sum over two year deal out to a three year deal – as an “almost doubling” of the last two year package. The latest $500m package includes a commitment to immediately invest in an additional around 500 nursing staff across the 20 DHBs and extra nursing hours to implement the Care Capacity Demand Management (CCDM) safe staffing system.

Danni Wilkinson, an administrator for the Nurse Florence’s New Zealand, please hear our voice social media site, said the extra steps were great but to describe it as a doubling of the DHBs previous offer was misleading to the public.  Also to reach the “mythical” $93,000 a year a fulltime experienced nurse would have to work an anti-social 45 weekends a year, do about 40 night shifts a year and do 60 hours overtime. Meanwhile the top base pay for secondary teachers who have non-student contact time for 10 weeks a year was already at $78,000 – before starting their pay negotiations – whereas nurses’ base pay would not reach $77,386 until December 2019 and not all hospital nurses did shift work to receive penalty pay.

“So it’s nine per cent (over three years) plus two extra pay steps (for nurses on top of pay scale)…is it enough, probably not,” says Wilkinson. Commenters on the ‘Nurse Florence’ site and the NZNO members site are echoing frustration and disappointment at the offer while they wait for the NZNO analysis of the offer due on Thursday.

DHBs optimistic, NZNO in catch-up mode 

The DHBs threw NZNO yesterday by releasing its third offer to the media before the union’s negotiation team and national delegate committee had had time to review it.

Cee Payne, NZNO’s industrial services manager said that many nurses had voiced their concern via social media about the DHB’s approach and at present it was dealing with “fallout” from its members. She said this could jeopardise NZNO’s DHB negotiating team’s ability to discuss the revised offer with DHB members in a “constructive manner”.

“The hypothetical $93,000 came from an example of a nurse working full time, with some overtime and significant weekend and night work. The reality is that the majority of nurses in this bracket are not full time and not working rostered shifts on top of this.”

“We do not think it was helpful or fair to present to the public, via the media, pay scale examples that have the potential to obscure the actual pay increases for our members. Most of our members report these numbers are entirely misleading compared to their rostered hours.”

Meanwhile Payne said it was important for the NZNO to concentrate on ensuring members had good information and analysis of the offer – which was due with members’ on Thursday – before ratification meetings got underway next week.

Helen Mason, the DHBs spokesperson has said she is optimistic that the DHBs’ third offer would be accepted as it was “a significant increase” that went beyond the recommendations of the Independent Panel and the DHB’s previous two year deal offer.  It followed the government allocating an extra around $250m over three years to bring the package up to $520 with a commitment to addressing NZNO’s pay equity application over the extended three year term.

DHB third offer details:

(Also see below the DHBs’ four nurse pay scenarios covering a new graduate to a full-time senior nurse and their projected impact on their total income.)

Term From August 1 2017 to 31 July 2020 (3 year term)
Lump sum payment $2,000 to be paid on ratification (pro-rated for part-time and casuals)
Pay adjustments 4 June 2018 – 3% on all scales
6 August 2018 – 3% on all scales
5 August 2019 – 3% on all scales
Removal of salary step SN1 from the senior nurse and midwife salary scale and a further 1% added to the SN2 to SN8 Senior Nurse wage rates from 4 June 2018
Additional steps RN/M6 – $72,944 introduced 3 December 2018
RN/M7 – $77,386 introduced 2 December 2019
(RN/Ms with over 12 months on RN5 to progress on these dates)
Enrolled Nurses Professional Development Recognition Programme Increase proficient from $2,500 to $3,000, and accomplished from $4,000 to $4,500 at 4 June 2018
On-call allowance Increase from $4.04 to $8.00 (and $6.06 to $10.00 for public holidays) from 4 June 2018
Nursing staffing improvements $750k additional investment in the SSHW Unit to support fast-tracked CCDM Implementation
An immediate 2% investment in additional nursing staff ($38M)
An additional 2 FTE per 600 nursing FTE for CCDM implementation within DHBs ($10M)


CLICK ON TABLEs BELOW to see full size version:




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