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New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission
(Industrial Gazette)

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Orthoptists in Private Practice (State) Award
Page No.585
DescriptionVIRC - Variation by Industrial Relations Commission
Publication No.C7257
Award Code 1574  
Date Posted10/29/2009

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Orthoptists in Private Practice (State) Award




Application by Health Services Union, Industrial Organisation of Employees.


(No. IRC 1496 of 2009)


Before Commissioner McKenna

2 October 2009




1.        Delete definitions of "Orthoptist - Grade 1" and "Orthoptist - Grade 2" in clause 4, Definitions, of the award published 10 March 2006 (357 I.G. 922), and insert in lieu thereof the following:


"Orthoptists-Level 1"


An Orthoptist - Level 1 means a person having orthoptic experience and/ or holding appropriate tertiary qualifications recognized by the Orthoptic Association of Australia and the Orthoptic board of Australia who is appointed to the position of orthoptists and who generally performs any of the following functions:


(a)      Orthoptic assessments and treatments as specified in the curricula and courses of instruction of the Australian schools of Vision Sciences in the discipline of Orthoptics;


(b)      Ophthalmic investigatory procedures and therapy under the direction of an Ophthalmologist;


(c)      Paramedical tasks incidental to the efficient management of the an ophthalmic practice;


(d)      Detailed preparation of patients for ophthalmic investigations and procedures;


(e)      A wider range of duties including work which is incidental or peripheral to the ophthalmic practice;


(f)       Any other duties allied to the profession not specified herein.


(g)      Exercising independent professional judgment;


(h)      Evidence of attending continuing education activities on an annual basis;


(i)       Have Accreditation with the Australian Orthoptic Board;


(j)       Demonstrate to the employer the ability to independently (after a qualifying period) operate all ophthalmic equipment necessary to fulfil the requirements as an Orthopist and be competent at all ophthalmic duties required in the practice;


(k)      May be required to clinically supervise junior and/or new orthoptic employees;


(l)       To be in charge of and be involved in the training of other/new Orthopist employed in the practice;


(m)     Supervision of students from an Orthoptic Training School.


"Orthoptist - Level 2"


A person appointed to this level will be an experienced employee who would be required to work under only general directions from the Practice Manager and/or the Opthalmologist


Orthoptists at this level may have a clinical, education or management focus , or elements of all three, where they are in charge or responsible for between 5-10 other health professionals or other technical and support staff.


Staff at this level perform novel, complex and critical discipline specific work with a high level of professional knowledge and by the exercise of substantial professional judgement. Work is usually performed without direct supervision with a discretion permitted within the boundaries of broad quidelines to achieve organisational goals


Discipline specific clinical specialists are recognized experts in their field at an advanced level of clinical expertise and practice. This advanced level of expertise will be demonstrated by the fact that the health professional has extensive experience in their field, and may be actively contributing to their clinical field of expertise by presenting papers at conferences and contributing to peer reviewed journals. In recognition of their superior clinical expertise, a position at this level is responsible for development of better practice and clinical research within the facility and is actively involved in teaching staff and students in their field of expertise.


2.        Delete subclause (iii) of clause 5, Area, Incidence and Duration, and insert in lieu thereof the following:


(iii)      The award will take effect from the beginning of the first pay period to commence on or after 2 October 2009 and will remain in effect until 30 June 2011.


3.        Delete clause 7, Wages, and insert in lieu thereof the following:


7.  Wages


(i)       Wages


This Award permits for the progressive recognition of professional rates for Orthoptists through adoption of the transitional arrangements detailed hereunder.



Rate from 1.7.2009

Rate from 1.7.2010





Per Annum

Per annum







Level 1



1st year of service



2nd year of service



3rd year of service



4th year of service



5th year of service



6th year of service



7th year of service



8th year of service



Level 2



1st year of service



2nd year of service




Provided that:


(a)      An employee who holds the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science (Orthoptics) and who has a minimum of 12 months orthoptic experience shall be entitled to be classified as a Level 1, 2nd year.


(b)      An employee who holds or is qualified to hold the degree of Master of Applied Science (Orthoptics) shall be entitled to be classified as a Level 1, 3rd year.


(c)      An employee who holds or is qualified to hold the degree of Doctor of Philosophy shall be entitled to be classified as a Level - 2 1st year.


(ii)       In-Charge Allowance - An employee who is required to supervise at least two other permanent staff members covered by this Award and employed at a practice shall be paid at Orthoptist-Level 2 status. Where an employee is required to supervise other staff and is already recipient of the rate applying to an Orthoptist Level 2 will, in addition to his/her rate, receive an additional weekly allowance of 10 per cent of the weekly wage of an Orthoptist-Level 2.


(iii)      Acting or Higher Grade Duties - Where an employee relieves a person in a higher paid classification or acts in such classification, the employee shall be paid the higher rate of pay for the time so spent relieving in the higher position.


4.        Delete subclause (i) Meal Allowance, of clause 8, Allowances, and insert in lieu thereof the following:


(i)       Meal Allowance - An employee shall be supplied with a meal or meal allowance of $23.60 when overtime in excess of one and one half hour is worked after the usual time of ceasing work for the day.


5.        Delete subclause (i) and (ii) of clause 17, Long Service Leave, and insert in lieu thereof the following:


(i)       Every employee after ten years' continuous service with the same employer shall be entitled to two months' leave of absence on full pay and for each additional five years' continuous service thereafter, to an additional one and one-half months' leave of absence on full pay.


(ii)      Any employee who has completed ten years of continuous service with the same employer shall be entitled to take such leave.  Such leave in all cases to be taken at a time to be mutually arranged between the employer and the employee.


6.        Delete clause 21, Parental leave, and insert in lieu thereof the following:


21.  Parental Leave


(1)      Refer to the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW).  The following provisions shall also apply in addition to those set out in the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW).




(a)      Paid Maternity Leave - an permanent full-time or permanent part-time employee is entitled to four weeks at the ordinary rate of pay from the date maternity leave commences. This leave may commence up to four week prior to the expected date of birth.


(b)      Eligibility - to be eligible for paid maternity leave an employee must have completed at least 40 weeks continuous service prior to the expected date of birth.


(3)      An employer must not fail to re-engage a regular casual employee (see section 53(2) of the Act) because:


(a)      the employee or employee's spouse is pregnant; or


(b)      the employee is or has been immediately absent on parental leave.


The rights of an employer in relation to engagement and re-engagement of casual employees are not affected, other than in accordance with this clause.


(4)      Right to request


(a)      An employee entitled to parental leave may request the employer to allow the employee:


(i)       to extend the period of simultaneous unpaid parental leave use up to a maximum of eight weeks;


(ii)       to extend the period of unpaid parental leave for a further continuous period of leave not exceeding 12 months;


(iii)      to return from a period of parental leave on a part-time basis until the child reaches school age;


to assist the employee in reconciling work and parental responsibilities.


(b)      The employer shall consider the request having regard to the employee's circumstances and, provided the request is genuinely based on the employee's parental responsibilities, may only refuse the request on reasonable grounds related to the effect on the workplace or the employer's business.  Such grounds might include cost, lack of adequate replacement staff, loss of efficiency and the impact on customer service.


(c)      Employee's request and the employer's decision to be in writing


The employee's request and the employer's decision made under 4(a)(ii) and 4(a)(iii) must be recorded in writing.


(d)      Request to return to work part-time


Where an employee wishes to make a request under 4(a)(iii), such a request must be made as soon as possible but no less than seven weeks prior to the date upon which the employee is due to return to work from parental leave.


(5)      Communication during parental leave


(a)      Where an employee is on parental leave and a definite decision has been made to introduce significant change at the workplace, the employer shall take reasonable steps to:


(i)       make information available in relation to any significant effect the change will have on the status or responsibility level of the position the employee held before commencing parental leave; and


(ii)       provide an opportunity for the employee to discuss any significant effect the change will have on the status or responsibility level of the position the employee held before commencing parental leave.


(b)      The employee shall take reasonable steps to inform the employer about any significant matter that will affect the employee's decision regarding the duration of parental leave to be taken, whether the employee intends to return to work and whether the employee intends to request to return to work on a part-time basis.


(c)      The employee shall also notify the employer of changes of address or other contact details which might affect the employer's capacity to comply with paragraph (a).


7.        The variation takes effect from first full pay period on or after 2 October 2009 but by administrative action the rates displayed herein become payable from 1 July 2009.




D. S. McKENNA, Commissioner






Printed by the authority of the Industrial Registrar.

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