Monday 18 May, 2021
Employers illegally forcing pharmacists to pay for COVID-19 vaccine training
Professionals Pharmacists Australia has warned employers that forcing pharmacist employees to pay for their own training to administer the COVID-19 vaccine is a serious a breach of the Fair Work Act and must immediately cease.
Professional Pharmacists Australia President Geoff March said the union had been contacted by pharmacists who had been asked by their employer to pay for their own COVID-19 vaccination training, or were not reimbursed for their time doing so.
“While we support the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination program through community pharmacies, it is the responsibility of employers to pay for the training and for the time taken by staff to complete that training.
“It is a clear breach of the Fair Work Act to require an employee to pay for a training activity that is for the benefit of the employer.
Dr March said that over the last few months, Professional Pharmacists Australia has been contacted by pharmacists seeking advice on their rights in relation to who pays for training on administering the COVID-19 vaccine that they are required to undertake by their employer. He said the law was very clear.
“Section 325 of the Fair Work Act 2009 makes it clear that if the employer requires the employee to undertake the training the employer must pay for it.”
“When an employer requires an employee to undertake training they must pay for the training and pay the employee for the time they took to undertake that training if they did so outside of working hours.
“Where an employee undertakes training and or study that is not directed by the employer, the employer may agree to subsidise that training or study but they are not required to do so because such training is of benefit to the employee and may or may not necessarily be of benefit to the employer.
Dr March said that pharmacy employers should avoid a situation where, having failed their legal obligations, they are required to backpay employees in training fees and wages.
“It appears that pharmacy employers have forgotten the lessons learnt by Chemist Warehouse when the Fair Work Ombudsman required them to back pay in excess of $3 million to employees who they required to attend training outside of working hours and did not pay them for it.
“With the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine likely to occur in some community pharmacies it would be wise for pharmacy employers to heed this lesson, and ensure they are paying to train their staff in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine and compensating them for their time, in accordance with the law.”
Professional Pharmacists Australia advises members who are not being paid for the training they are required to undertake by their employers to contact PPA Workplace Advice and Support Centre for advice from our lawyers on how to recover the money owed to them.
Media Contact: Darren Rodrigo – 0414783405