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July 2015 MECA Ratification Bulletin

Download a copy of the July 2015 MECA Ratification Bulletin (PDF, 169KB)

On this page:

  1. Overview, MECA meetings
  2. Term (of the MECA)
  3. Discretionary sick leave
  4. Patient assaults on staff
  5. Wage and salary increase, and salary scales
  6. Safe staffing and healthy workplaces
  7. PDRP related changes
  8. Fairness at work
  9. On-call telephone, clothing and higher duties allowances
  10. Overtime and wages
  11. Employment Relations Act changes
  12. Bargaining Fee
  13. Other issues and amendments

This bulletin summarises the proposed MECA amendments and highlights the changes made as a result of your support and activities and the mediation held on 2 July 2015. A full explanation of the proposed MECA will be provided at ratification meetings.

An overview from your negotiating team

At ratification meetings in May members overwhelmingly rejected the DHBs' offer and provided the negotiating team with feedback on the key issues. Members told us they were particularly unhappy with the first wage increase of 1 percent and the 5 percent being spread over an extended period of 3 years and 4 months.

Your negotiating team presented the key issues to the DHBs at mediation. The outcomes of those discussions now provides for wage increases over a shorter term as well as improved processes for addressing problems associated with accessing discretionary sick leave and patient assaults.

Your negotiating team is recommending members accept the proposed MECA on the following basis:

  • there is an improved wage offer and a reduced term
  • progress has been made on addressing a number of outstanding matters
  • we believe this is the best that can be achieved through the bargaining process.

It is you who must now decide whether to accept the offer.


NZNO will be holding meetings at a hospital near you from 3 - 21 August where you can vote on whether to accept (ratify) the proposed collective agreement. Look out for the meeting details.

If you can not make it to a meeting in your area, you are welcome to attend a meeting anywhere else in the country – details will be on the NZNO website

It is vital that all NZNO members attend a meeting, hear the full detail of the proposed MECA and cast your vote.

This is your collective agreement so your vote really does count!

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Summary of the proposed MECA


From the date of ratification to 31 July 2017

The date of ratification will be the date that the vote count is completed. There needs to be two votes taken at the ratification meetings. The first vote will determine whether bargaining fees apply to non members who wish to receive the terms and conditions of the MECA and the second will be the ratification vote. Because of legal requirements around bargaining fees the start date of the MECA can not be until after the bargaining fee vote is carried out.

The start date as of ratification in no way disadvantages members as the first pay increase and increase to the PDRP allowances are effective from 6 July 2015.

(Whilst the term of the proposed MECA is 2 years and 5 months from the expiry of the current MECA it is 11 months shorter than the term of the previous DHB offer)

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Discretionary sick leave

Included in the Terms of Settlement (ToS) is a reminder to DHBs of their obligations as well as two agreed statements:

"DHBs financial position or, within reason, other statutory leave balances, should not be used as a deterrent to apply for discretionary leave or as a reason not to grant discretionary leave."

"National Bipartite Action Group (National BAG) will develop guidelines for the discretionary leave approval process to ensure transparency, fairness and consistency of decision making."

This wording will provide our local teams with greater opportunity to enforce the current discretionary sick leave provisions as well as enabling National BAG to examine the issues and make recommendations for consistency.

NZNO will develop an organising plan with delegates to ensure that this happens during the term of the MECA.

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Patient assaults on staff

Agreed to request that National BAG explicitly consider the issue of Patient Assaults as part of their current work on developing guidelines for DHBs on "Violence in the Workplace."

Agreed it is appropriate that local BAGs take the opportunity to discuss patient assualts and see what local initiatives can be put into place.

National BAG includes representatives from other health unions including PSA, SFWU, APEX and ASMS. Mitigating the risks of patient assaults is a health and safety issue shared by all unions and solutions will be worked on both a local and national level.

Add to the discretionary leave clause: "extenuating circumstances will include instances where an employee has exhausted their sick entitlement as a result of top-ups to earnings related compensation as a result of injury sustained in an assault by a patient in accordance with Clause 14.11."

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Wage and salary increases, and salary scales

A 2% salary increase from 6 July 2015 and a further 2% salary increase from 4 July 2016.

Salary scales (click relevant link below to view)

Registered nurse and registered midwife salary scale

  From 1/03/2014 From 6/7/2015 From 4/7/2016
Step 5 64,163 65,446 66,755
Step 4 57,748 58,906 60,081
Step 3 54,657 55,750 56,865
Step 2 51,449 52,478 53,528
Step 1 (New Grad) 47,528 48,479 49,449

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Enrolled, obstetric and karitane nurse salary scale

  From 1/03/2014 From 6/7/2015 From 4/7/2016
Step 3 48,717 49,691 50,685
Step 2 45,153 46,056 46,977
Step 1 42,776 43,632 44,505

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Health care assistants and hospital aide salary scale

  From 1/03/2014 From 6/07/2015 From 4/07/2016
Step 4 40,994 41,814 42,650
Step 3 40,268 41,073 41,894
Step 2 37,744 38,499 39,269
Step 1 35,520 36,230 36,593

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Caseload midwife salary scale

  From 1/03/2014 From 6/07/2015 From 4/07/2016
Step 1 85,831 87,548 89,299

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Community mental health, district and public health nurse and community midwife salary scales

  From 1/03/2014 From 6/07/2015 From 4/07/2016
Step 8* 70,844 72,261 73,706
Step 7* 69,483 70,873 72,290
Step 6* 68,119 69,481 70,871
Step 5 64,163 65,446 66,755
Step 4 57,748 58,903 60,081
Step 3 54,657 55,750 56,865
Step 2 54,449 52,478 53,825
Step 1 47,528 48,479 49,449

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Designated senior nurse and midwife salary scale

  From 1/03/2014 From 6/07/2015 From 4/7/2016
Grade 1 68,119 69,481 70,871
  69,483 70,873 72,290
  70,844 72,261 73,706
Grade 2 69,483 70,873 72,290
  70,844 72,261 73,706
  72,208 73,652 75,125
Grade 3 75,691 77,205 78,749
  78,603 80,175 81,779
  81,514 83,144 84,807
Grade 4 80,058 81,659 83,292
  82,969 84,628 86,321
  85,880 87,598 89,350
Grade 5 84,424 86,112 87,834
  87,337 89,084 90,866
  90,247 92,052 93,893
Grade 6 87,337 89,084 90,866
  90,247 92,052 93,893
  93,159 95,022 96,922
Grade 7 90,247 92,052 93,893
  93,159 95,022 96,922
  95,056 96,957 98,896
Grade 8 95,056 96,957 98,896
  100,205 102,209 104,253
  105,355 107,462 109,611
  110,503 112,713 114,967

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Safe Staffing and Healthy Workplaces

The Safe Staffing, Healthy Workplaces (SSHW) Agreement will be amended to include the following:

  • Reaffirming the parties commitment to achieving healthy workplaces through the implementation of Care Capacity Demand Management (CCDM)
  • A nationally consistent CCDM approach
  • Timely response to data which shows a need to adjust staffing levels to meet demand
  • An acuity tool that is validated according to the SSHW Units Validated Patient Acuity Standard
  • Adequate resourcing to progress implementation and maintaining the CCDM program
  • Transparency of information including the sharing of data reports and NZNO participation at relevant meetings
  • Reference to nursing and/or midwifery clinical judgement.

These improvements strengthen DHBs obligations to deliver CCDM over the term of the MECA and provide NZNO with greater enforceability.

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PDRP allowances

RN Expert increases from $4,000 p.a. to $4,500 p.a. effective from 1 July 2015

RM Leadership increases from $4,000 p.a. to $4,500 p.a. effective from 1 July 2015

RN Proficient increases from $2,500 p.a. to $3,000 p.a. effective from 1 July 2015

RM Confident increases from $2,500 p.a. to $3,000 p.a. effective from 1 July 2015

The increase for the confident and proficient allowances addresses relativities with the PSA. The increase for the expert/leadership allowance does not achieve full relativity with the PSA allowance. We were unable to progress this issue further without impacting on the wage increases for all members. At mediation we made it clear to DHB representatives that NZNO will be pursuing full parity with the PSA expert allowance when we renew the MECA in 2017.

We were unable to persuade the DHBs to progress increases for the EN PDRP as they maintain there is no evidence to support increasing the EN allowances in comparison to other collective agreements in NZ. To endeavour to progress this in the future the NZNO team identified we do need to evidence what is happening in enrolled nursing overseas and other comparator groups.

Professional development leave

Agreement that mandatory training does not get deducted off the 32 hours Professional Development Leave.

DHBs administration systems record PDL approvals but not applications that are declined. This is an area NZNO is keen to work with delegates and members on to ensure we have evidence of those that are declined.

Senior nurses PDRP

The DHBs have proposed that NZNO discuss a programme with PDRP co-ordinators in DHBs that currently don’t have a programme, in an endeavour to achieve as much national consistency as possible.

National consistency in terms of RN/EN PDRP processes

It is proposed that the issue be dealt with at the national PDRP coordinators meetings.

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Fairness at work

Leave for NZNO membership committee members of up to 6 meetings per year. This provision is limited to no more than one employee from any one individual DHB to attend.

On-call telephone allowance

A telephone allowance of $10.00 per call when rostered on-call.

Over the term of the MECA DHBs will review the cost implications and monitor the use of telephone on- call as well as establish a record keeping process.

This provision is included in the MECA as a Pilot from the date of ratification to 30 June 2016. The parties will meet after 30 June 2016 to review information obtained through the pilot and consider future operation of the telephone on-call. This may result in a variation to the MECA.

In the meantime this offer goes some way to recognising telephone work and provides for consistency and the development of record keeping processes.

Clothing allowance

Uniform or clothing allowances will now also apply to HCAs.

Access to higher duties allowance

Whilst there is not a definition of "substantial" in the proposed MECA the DHBs did indicate at the negotiations that there was no expectation that people acting up would need to be involved in performance appraisals or any performance management to receive the allowance.

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Approval of overtime

Whilst we were unable to gain a more defined approval process for overtime in the MECA, since the start of negotiations NZNO has made significant progress addressing problems with overtime approvals at individual DHBs. Members are encouraged to contact us regarding problems with getting overtime approved.

Payment of wages

Errors that have occurred but not as a result of the employer action or inaction will be made as soon as practicable but no later than the next fortnight pay period.

The financial impact on the employee must be taken into consideration when determining when payment will be made.

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Employment Relations Act changes

This issue will be referred to the Health Sector Relationship Agreement Committee for resolution with all the health sector unions.

We will need to be proactive recruiting new staff as members of NZNO to avoid them being employed on different terms and conditions to the MECA.

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Bargaining Fee

This provision is included in the proposed MECA and will be separately voted on at the member meetings.

Other Issues

Due to the amendments in the proposed MECA and further cost implications we were unable to progress the shift leader allowance, the remaining issues for on call, sick leave and salary relativities in this proposed MECA.

Other amendments to the MECA

There were a number of amendments to address legislation changes or to improve clarity and reading of the MECA. These can be found on the NZNO website and will be provided at member meetings.

All other current MECA terms and conditions are to be retained.

Download a copy of the July 2015 MECA Ratification Bulletin (PDF, 169KB)

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