Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Mental health workers to get better pay, good working conditions

The Victorian Government has reached an in-principle agreement to deliver fairer pay and conditions for public sector mental health workers, who will be vital to Victoria’s unprecedented mental health system reform.
The new enterprise agreement addresses recruitment and retention gaps identified by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, provides greater equality for nurses specialising in mental health care, and delivers a range of initiatives to promote gender equity among the workforce.
Minister for Mental Health James Merlino said, “As we begin the task of rebuilding our state’s mental health services, the first step is making sure we have an agile,
well-supported workforce to adapt to these changes and deliver better care than ever before”.
As an added boost to our mental health workforce, the agreement will also ensure a further 800 full time equivalent jobs will be added over the next four years to deliver better care for Victorians who need it, as well as up to $3 million for extra staffing in Secure Extended Care Units and Aged services.
Under the new deal, mental health nurses will receive a two per cent wage increase each year for the first three years, in line with Government wages policy – plus a 1.5 per cent rise in year four.
Victoria’s hardworking mental health nurses will also receive additional amounts to ensure that they are paid at parity with their general nurse counterparts’ wages, helping attract and retain nurses in the mental health sector.
For all other employees in the sector, there will be an additional increase and retention payments to help with staff retention in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
The new agreement will see new positions added to address leadership and ongoing education and professional development and assist with staff retention – with a designated Mental Health Director of Nursing for each mental health service, Clinical Educators for Parent and Infant Units and extra clinical staff in High Dependency Units.

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