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May 03, 2009

PUBLIC hospital nurses will seek their first night shift allowance increase in more than 30 years at a NSW Industrial Relations Commission hearing this week.

The NSW Nurses Association (NSWNA) wants night shift penalty rates increased from 15 per cent to 25 per cent and for the penalties to apply on weekends.

This would mean an extra $130 a week for nurses or midwives who do an entire week of night shifts.

Witnesses from the union, NSW Health and nurses from hospitals around the state will give evidence in Sydney from Monday.

Nurses are expected to tell the commission about the difficulties of working night shifts including poor sleep, health problems and disruption of family and social life.

Union president Brett Holmes said night duty penalty rates hadn’t increased for public hospital nurses since 1975.

“The NSWNA does not believe the current rate of 15 per cent fairly and adequately compensates nurses for the social, domestic and health disadvantages experienced when they work night shift,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25422045-5006784,00.html

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