Are you being paid what you deserve?
Every year, we conduct a survey to paint a picture of the pay & conditions of employee pharmacists.
We use the 2018 Community Pharmacists Report to track and predict trends in wages, conditions and employment in community pharmacy.
The report provides simple tables and graphs with pay information relating your industry, gender, level of experience, responsibility level and many others.
There are two models of pharmacy in Australia. They both offer health services & products but, there is a key difference. One model relies on government funding for allied health services like medication reviews.
The other model focuses on retail sales of health products at heavily discounted prices. This model is prominent across pharmacy in Australia.
Discount pharmacies like Chemist Warehouse are leading the race to the bottom on wages. They use low rates of pay to support their focus on profits. To compete, more traditional pharmacies and banner groups like Amcal & Priceline are also lower their wages.
This shows there is a blurred line between professionalism and commercialisation in pharmacy.
Many pharmacists are turning their backs on the industry, saying they see no future in the profession.
Rates of pay
Despite completing at least five years of tertiary study, pharmacy remains one of the lowest paid health professions. Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, pharmacists earn nearly $5,000 less than nurses.
Depending on classification, hourly rates fell between $32 – $39. It’s rare to find a pharmacist paid an annual salary with 93 per cent of pharmacists being paid per hour.
As hourly rates are most common in the industry, penalty rates are important for a pharmacist. Penalty rates were cut again this year with scheduled cuts to continue to 2021. The Australian Labor Party has committed to stop and reverse the cuts if elected.
Enterprise Bargaining Agreements
An enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) allows employees to bargain collectively with their employer on their wages and conditions.
Pharmacists covered by an EBA earned more than their uncovered colleagues. Excluding Pharmacist Managers, those covered earned between $36 – $40 an hour compared to $32 – $39 (rates of pay relative to classification).
Other than pay, EBAs cover employment conditions such as parental leave, flexible working hours and annual leave.
A major benefit of EBAs is they exceed the conditions in the governing Award i.e. the Pharmacy Award. Nearly 60 per cent of National Pharmacies members felt their conditions were far superior under EBA coverage in comparison to the Award.
If you want the benefits of an EBA at your workplace, you will need the approval of 51% of the workforce, or the support of your employer.
EBAs can be negotiated for banner groups such as National Pharmacies, if they are single enterprises. We will provide initial advice and ongoing support for all our members who wish to begin bargaining.
If you think an EBA might be useful in your workplace, contact us and get the support of our expert organisers to advise you how to negotiate with your employer.
Change the Rules
The enterprise bargaining system was meant to provide workers with fair wages and conditions in exchange for improving productivity.
However, with EBA numbers declining, it proves the system is broken.
If you’re unable to enter an EBA, consider supporting the ACTU campaign to change the rules. This campaign is looking to expand bargaining beyond the workplace to the industry level.
The rules around EBAs are too restrictive, they limit your bargaining power and protect the employer’s interests. Businesses are exploiting the system. Examples include: refusing to offer pay rises until other conditions are traded off, stalling bargaining to freeze wages and many more.
Right now, the focus of bargaining lies in wages and wage competition between employers. It’s also a time of conflict between employee and employer over wages and job security.
Industry wide bargaining will allow pharmacists to negotiate across the industry to establish a base for secure jobs and a fair wage. Then, pharmacy owners and pharmacists can come together to maintain and improve their services, ensuring not only reliable, safe provision of medicines, but also expert advice on their use in hospitals, institutions and the community.