Health-e (Cape Town)

16 January 2008

South Africa: Nurses' Salaries to Increase By March

Cape Town — The more than 100 000 nurses employed by government are expected to benefit from salary increases before the end of March, the health department had confirmed.

Health department spokesperson Sibani Mngadi reported that the Department of Health was making progress in the implementation of the Agreement on Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) for nurses as negotiated with five trade unions.

The OSD agreement was signed with health sector unions in September 2007 after a lengthy engagement on how the resources made available by government for improvement of nurses working conditions in the current financial year should be utilized, said Mngadi.

In the OSD agreement, all parties agreed that there would be two phases to the salary adjustments. Firstly, it is the minimum adjustment in line with the OSD and secondly, it is the re-calculation and progression based on recognition of relevant experience.

As part of phase one, entry level salaries for Staff Nurses are being increased by 20% while entry level salaries for Nursing Assistants and Professional Nurses in general nursing have both been increased by 24%.

Phase two of OSD salary adjustment will be based on the number of years of relevant experience of nurses in the various categories.

Both these OSD salary adjustments represent an increase which is over and above the 7.5% general salary adjustment reached following negotiations at the end of the public service strike in June last year.

Mngadi confirmed that these increases will be effected retrospectively from July 01 2007.

"The implementation of this agreement is an enormous task as there are about 100 000 nurses employed in the pubic service and for each of these employees, a separate translation transaction has to be effected for phase one and approved for phase two following the recalculation of relevant experience.

"Most provinces also had to adjust their nursing organizational structures to allow for the transition from the old dispensation to the OSD," said Mngadi.

At least two provincial Health Departments - Limpopo and Northern Cape - have completed implementation.

The OSD will affect the entry level salaries of the various categories of nurses as follows:

CURRENT JOB TITLE

STARTING SALARY BEFORE 7.5% ADJUSTMENT

STARTING SALARY AFTER 7.5% ADJUSTMENT (PRE-OSD)

OSD STARTING SALARY

PERCENTAGE IMPROVEMENT

NURSING ASSISTANT (AUXILIARY NURSE)

R40227

R43 245

R53 757

24%

STAFF NURSE

R54222

R58 290

R70 140

20%

PROFESSIONAL NURSE

R79407

R85 362

R106 086

24%

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