The fight continues - Unrostered Overtime


From L to R: Andrew Holland (Executive Director ASMOF), Hanna Schutz (Industrial Officer ASMOF), Danielle Thompson AMA, Dr Tony Sara (President ASMOF), Fiona Davies (Chief Executive AMA, Dr James Lawler (Co-Chair, the Alliance) and Dr SanjayHettige (Co-Chair, the Alliance)


We know that one of the major concerns for our Alliance members is not being paid for overtime worked. There is a very real and historic issue of entrenched workplace cultural expectations within hospitals from registrars up to senior staff specialists, JMO managers and even Heads of Departments that either implicitly or explicitly discourage and/or condemn JMOs claiming UROT. The problem is exacerbated by the current Policy Directive which restricts what overtime could be paid without having prior approval.

The DIT Committee (DITC) resolved in mid 2018 to address this issue and formed an Industrial Working Group (IWG).

Here’s a brief update on what the IWG has been doing to address unrostered overtime.

Negotiations to improve the Policy Directive -

The Alliance and the Ministry of Health (MOH) have been in negotiations about the unrostered overtime clause (cl 9) of the Employment Arrangements for Medical Officers in the NSW Health Service PD2017_042 (the PD) for several months now.

On 5 March 2019 the MOH provided the Alliance an updated draft version of clause 9 of the PD.While the MOH did not adopt all of our suggested amendments in the draft, we made progress and it is an improvement on the original PD.

What have we won?

Under the draft PD, prior approval to work unrostered overtime is now not required for:

  completion of outstanding patient transfer and discharge summaries

  late ward rounds

  mandatory training

  clinical handover

However, disappointingly, the MOH refused to adopt additional circumstances the Alliance wanted included in the PD. They refused to include:

  early ward rounds

  ongoing clinical duties and

  allocated clinics

The MOH maintains that the above circumstances are situations where it is not unduly onerous for the JMO to seek pre-approval. They also argue that it is important to monitor the hours being worked by the JMOs.

Meeting with the MOH

After consultation with Alliance members, it was agreed at the last DITC meeting that the amendments agreed to by the MOH were not enough and the Alliance would continue to purse the matter industrially.

On 20 May 2019 the Alliance met with the Ministry to put the case forward for further revisions to the unrostered overtime policy.

In particular, the changes sought are to include early ward rounds and allocated clinics to the situations in which prior approval is not needed to claim overtime. The MOH is currently considering their position and will provide their response.

The unrostered overtime is one component of a much larger strategy being worked on by the Alliance to solve the issue of unpaid overtime and unsafe working hours.

If you are currently having any difficulties in relation to overtime and would like assistance, please get in touch with The Alliance at