NSW to increase public sector pay rise

Health employees are also set to receive one-time payment, and a workforce boost

NSW to increase public sector pay rise

The New South Wales government announced that it’s increasing the public sector wage cap to three per cent this financial year. It is set to take effect on new industrial agreements that are struck starting July 1, 2022, according to a media release, with a possible 0.5% as an additional offer in 2023-24 for employees with substantial contributions to productivity enhancing reforms.

The new wage policy is also expected to cover public sector employees including nurses, teachers, and paramedics. Treasurer Matt Kean called the increase "an affordable and sensible policy" to maintain competitive wages.

"NSW is currently enjoying the lowest unemployment on record and it is important to maintain competitive wages to attract and retain the best talent. In the context of a strong and growing economy this two-year increase to wages is an affordable and sensible policy," he said in a statement.

Employee Relations Minister Damien Tudehope also said it is a "win for workers and the community."

"To deliver the best public services we need to adapt to new technology and ways of working. In this wages policy, we are putting additional pay increases on the table for workplace reforms that deliver better outcomes for the public – a win for workers and the community," he said.

'Appreciation' payments

Meanwhile, the state government also announced that it is extending $3,000 as one-off payment to NSW Health Service as a token of gratitude for their efforts amid the pandemic.

"The health workforce went to extraordinary lengths during the pandemic and has earned the admiration and gratitude of the entire state," said Tudehope.

The "appreciation" payment will cover paramedics, midwives, cleaners, and other permanent staff employed by the NSW Health Service.

"Our sound economic management allows us to invest in our people through higher wages and more frontline workers and continue to deliver the best services in the country and a brighter economic future for the people of NSW," said Premier Dominic Perrottet in a statement.

Read more: NSW employers 'no longer in crisis mode' but 'still cautious'

Health workforce boost

The announcement of the one-off payment to health workers came as the government unveiled its $4.5-billion plan to recruit more employees in what it claimed is the "largest health workforce boost in history."

It said that a record 10,148 full-time equivalent staff will be recruited to hospitals and health services across the state in over four years.

"This record investment will help us care for health staff across the State, providing the respite and back-up they need. It will also boost staff numbers in hospitals to deliver quality health care closer to home, ensuring better health outcomes and a brighter future for NSW families," said Perrottet.

Out of the 10,000 workers, a total of 7,674 of them will be recruited in the first year to alleviate the burden on over worked health staff due to the pandemic.

The additional staff will include nurses and midwives, doctors, paramedics, pathologists and scientific staff, pharmacists, as well as allied health professionals. It will also include support and ancillary staff who ensure the continuous operations of NSW hospitals, according to the state government.

The health workforce boost is under the state government's $4.5-billion investment over four years, which aims to ensure that there are appropriate levels of health staffing in the sector.

"Backing in our existing staff with additional staff to support them is critical.  As the NSW Government has delivered 170 hospitals and health facilities since 2011, with a further 110 underway, this funding will also ensure those new hospitals will have the workforce of today and the future," said Health Minister Brad Hazzard in a statement.

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