Q&A’s about your employment

Employment Law is pretty confusing! Let’s break it down for you…

I’m a TI, how can I join STONZ?

As a TI it’s easy (and free), just sign up on our website ‘join now’ and you’re a member! If you are a member of another union, you do need to resign though. This can be done in the form of an email. We can then help you with any questions you have throughout your final med-school year and help navigate your transition into a House Officer position. 

I’m still making my mind up about joining a union – what should I do?

Our advice is that joining a union is a good thing. It means you gain a collective voice and we are there to offer help and support for you when you need it. Unions are also key in pushing for continued improvements to things like remuneration, training and working conditions. 

However,  you don’t have to join a union straight away, you can be on an IEA (individual employment agreement) for a period when you first start your job with Te Whatu Ora, so you can use the first few weeks to make a decision. Once you join a union you are unable to change the collective agreement you are covered by until the first union’s collective agreement is about to expire (60 days before) so take your time to make an informed decision.

Can I change unions as a TI?

There is a difference between changing Union membership and being able to change your terms and conditions. However, as a Trainee Intern you are not bound by the terms and conditions of the collective agreement and you are not considered an RMO yet so you can swap and change as much as you like. Note: As soon as you become an RMO the rules change.

I’ve received a contract for a House Officer position – I’m not sure where to start, where can I get advice?

Employment law is confusing. You are welcome to contact the team at STONZ at any time and we can assist you with any questions you have. Our RMO advisors have previously worked in RMO units and in HR teams within the districts so have a thorough understanding of RMO contracts. We also recommend talking to your friends, family and of course your colleagues. There are also services such as Citizen’s Advice Bureau who can offer employment related advice and if you have access to a barrister or lawyer who is experienced in New Zealand employment law, they may also be able to assist.

Some of the key things to consider when signing your contract are; start date, location of employment, Kiwisaver, Indemnity Provider and of course Union membership.

I’ve received a contract for a House Officer position – what’s the 30-day rule?

The 30-day rule requires new employees (who are not already a union member) to be employed on the same terms and conditions as the collective agreement for the first 30 days of employment. 

Essentially what this means for you, is that if you are not a member of a union when you start your new job, you will still be covered by the terms and conditions of the collective agreement with majority membership for the first 30 days. After this time you can choose to negotiate an IEA, or sign up to a union if you haven’t done so already.

What happens if I am a union member when I start my employment as a House Officer?

If you decide to join a union as a Trainee Intern, it’s really important to decide which union is best for you as a House Officer and beyond before signing up.

Why? Employment law dictates that if you are a union member when you start employment with Te Whatu Ora you will be locked into those terms and conditions and the 30-day rule doesn’t apply. You will not be able to change the collective agreement you are covered by until 60 days prior to the expiry of the collective agreement you are currently a member of.

What happens if I want to change unions once I am an RMO?

The Employment Relations Act 2000 states that you can only be covered by one collective agreement for the life of that collective agreement. What this means is that if you are a member of ‘Union A’, even if you resign from ‘Union A’ you can’t be covered by ‘Union B’s’ collective agreement until such time as 60 days before ‘Unions A’s’ current agreement expires. 

You can however choose to negotiate an individual agreement with Te Whatu Ora.

It is easy to change Unions, but not as easy to change your terms and conditions.

What’s an IEA?

An IEA is an Individual Employment Agreement and it is an agreement between yourself as an RMO and the employer (Te Whatu Ora) directly. Usually the terms and conditions are based on one of the collective agreements, but there will be subtle differences. It is up to you to negotiate any terms and conditions that you feel you should be entitled to. If you are a union member and want out, you have the right to request and negotiate an IEA with Te Whatu Ora at any time.

I’m thinking of joining STONZ but it’s a schedule 10 Roster – what are my options?

Following the STONZ 2021 contract we have negotiated that PGY1’s will work 10/4 rosters (have two days off - sometimes during the weeks surrounding the weekend worked) on schedule 10 rosters for quarters 1 and 2 of their PGY1 year. 

Under our collective agreement you can be required to work up to a maximum 12 days in a row. However, some hospitals offer alternative options to STONZ members who are working schedule 10 Rosters and would like to observe RDO’s (Rostered days off) such as:

  • Recalculating your salary individually so you can observe them. 

  • Balloting all STONZ member on a run and seeing what the overall preference is and then rostering for the majority e.g., everyone observes the RDOs or everyone works 12 days. 

  • Offering Annual Leave in order to observe the RDOs or scheduling Annual Leave during/after busy times in the roster

If you are wanting to know the options at your particular hospital, please discuss this with your RMO Unit prior to starting.

I’m looking at the salary scales in both collective agreements and can’t work out what I’ll get paid?

It can be difficult to compare the salary categories alone after the first 6 months when STONZ members may work up to 12 days, while NZRDA members may be rostered days off (RDOs). This is because as a result of observing RDOs, often a salary category will drop. And therefore, those observing RDOs may be paid a lower category than those working the additional days.

The easiest way to tell what you will be earning is to request the run descriptions from your hospital; at the end of each run description, it should outline your expected average hours and salary category similar to the example below.

In this example, those observing RDOs are paid category C vs those working RDOs are getting a category B which under the current rates is a $14,000 difference.

Average Working Hours (RDO's are observed)
Ordinary Hours – 40
RDO Hours – 5.33
Rostered (incl. nights, weekends & long days) – 14.67
All other unrostered Hours – 5.83
Total Hours – 55.17
 *The Salary for this attachment will be detailed at a Category C run.

Average Working Hours (RDO's are worked)
Ordinary Hours – 40
Rostered (incl. nights, weekends & long days) – 14.67
All other unrostered Hours – 5.83
Total Hours – 60.50
*The Salary for this attachment will be detailed at a Category B run.

  • RDA Year 1 HO – Cat B = $103,585. Cat C = $93,593

  • STONZ Year 1 HO – Cat B = $108,400. Cat C = $97,800.

*Based on CEA expiring December 2023.

If your District does not publish all Run Descriptions, you can get a sense of what a Run Description should look and contain on the Auckland Doctors Website.

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Contact us

Please get in touch with any questions you may have. We would love to hear from you.

E: support@stonz.co.nz 
P: 03 745 9258
PO Box 22656, Christchurch 8140

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