FAQ

I’m a registrar in a rural practice with frequent on-call shifts in the local rural hospital. My practice rolls both the on-call allowance and the billings from the rural hospital into the 13-week cycle. Is this correct?

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ANSWER

According to clause 10.11 of the NTCER, a registrar may be rostered to be on-call. The NTCER states that this is considered to be “a normal part of general practice”. By clause 10.10, a registrar will be paid for on-call hours “as per ordinary hours”. In addition, if registrars are rostered to be “on-call” and other practitioners at the relevant practice receive an “on-call payment” (that is, an allowance for being on call, as distinct from a payment made for the performance of on-call work), the registrars must also receive that payment (clause 10.11).

Advice GPRA has obtained from legal counsel with expertise in IR law is that the payment of an “on-call allowance” is not in exchange for the performance of work. It is a payment made to compensate the practitioner for holding themselves ready to work outside of ordinary working hours. A doctor does not “bill” an on-call allowance. Therefore these allowances do not fall within the description in Schedule A of “billings or receipts” and so should be paid stand-alone. Furthermore, The NTCER provides a registrar should receive the same allowances as other doctors for being on call (clause 10.11) or, in the case of hospital work, a percentage of such allowances (clause 11.4), noting that this is distinct from payment for work performed when called-in.

Therefore, on-call billings can be included into the 13-week cycle but you should have also been paid at base-rate for the (after) hours when you actually performed work while on-call (as per clause 10.10). However, it is incorrect for the on-call allowance to also be rolled into the 13-week cycle – this should be a stand-alone payment.