Hygienists come under the Award

In this circular we discuss the upcoming change for Hygienists. From 1 July 2021, Hygienists working at private practices will be covered by the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020.

This is a major change for employers as historically Hygienists were specifically excluded from the Award. We suggest employers provide new contracts to Hygienists that comply with the Award.

Since they will be covered by the Award, they will now be entitled to allowances, annual leave loading, overtime rates and penalty rates depending on their hours of work and type of employment (ie full-time, part-time or casual). You should also review your Hygienists’ pay rates to ensure you pay them at least the minimum Award rate for health professionals, taking into account their experience and acquisition of skills.

ClinLegal is here to support you and we have updated our contracts, available on the member portal, to comply with this change. If your Hygienist is already being paid above the Award rate, you may not be required to increase the pay, providing the contract makes clear that the rate includes (and equals or exceeds) the specific Award allowances, any annual leave loading, penalty and overtime rates. Members of ClinLegal can access these contracts now, which already include these provisions.

The Commission also decided that ‘[t]he work of dental prosthetists, dental hygienists and oral health therapists seems to us to resemble in character or kind work already covered by the HPSS Award’. The Commission’s decision and determination explicitly include Award coverage for Hygienists, Oral Health Therapists and Dental Prosthetists, which provides clarification for employers moving forward. As you know Dental Therapists are already included under the Award.

If you need legal advice on how to effect these changes, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

This circular is produced for guidance purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Legal advice should be sought for individual circumstances. For tailored advice for your Practice, please contact us.

Here is the link to the full decision on the coverage issue: Decision

Here is the link to the determination issued by the Fair Work Commission: Determination