Collective Employment Agreement

The current STONZ Collective Employment Agreement (CEA) was implemented on the 14th December 2021. 

This CEA will be in place from 14 December 2021 to 13 December 2023. We have created a quick view highlights and summary document for those who do not wish to read the entire new CEA.

If you have any questions that you can’t find the answer to here, please email us on

Our Collective Employment Agreement (CEA) at a glance

Medical Education Leave

Under the STONZ MECA, Registrars on a Vocational training programme receive 12 weeks MEL. House Officers PGY2 or more and Registrars not on a training programme are entitled to a maximum of 5 days per year. Plus an additional one-off three-week (15 days) MEL.

Conference Leave

Registrars in a recognised vocational programme who have passed their Part 1 exam or equivalent shall be granted a total of 10 days additional leave to attend appropriate conferences during their vocational training. There is no cap on the amount but districts will apply the actual and reasonable test.

Annual Leave

Under the STONZ collective agreement, RMOs are entitled to 6 weeks Annual Leave each year.

Sick Leave

If you transfer union membership to STONZ you can transfer your entire SL balance. As a member of STONZ, the collective agreement allows for up to 10 days of Sick Leave per year plus an additional 10 days of discretionary sick leave. The first 5 days of discretionary leave are to be approved in the same way normal sick leave is approved. 

Up to 20 days of sick leave can be transferred between districts and then on appointment to a new distric you will be entitled to a further 10 days Sick Leave.

Parental Leave

If you are the primary caregiver and have been employed by Te Whatu Ora for more than 12months you are entitled to take up to 52 weeks leave. If you have been employed for less than 12months you can apply up to 6months leave. 

As the Primary Caregiver you are able to apply for 14 weeks paid parental leave (the district will pay the difference between the weekly statutory payment and the equivalent weekly value of your base salary.) And as the non-primary caregiver, you are entitled to up to 2 weeks paid leave on your ordinary salary, this is in addition to the 2 weeks unpaid partner leave available under the Act. 

For more information see our Parental Leave page and the Best Practice Parental Leave Guidelines in Appendix 6 of the collective agreement.

Registrar Implements to Aid Training (Clause 10.8.2)

This fund is available to all Registrars. This fund of $2000 (before tax) and accruable up to $6000 is available for each full year of service. The CME fund has a common anniversary date of the 10th of December each year. If you use this fund to pay for something other than IT equipment and it was purchased in NZ, the district will pay GST. If you purchase IT equipment, the government classifies this as Income, and you will be deducted the GST. There is a 6month limit to claim items after the date of purchase. Note, if you buy something before becoming eligible it will not be reimbursed. This fund can also be used to attend conferences but is not intended for courses.

Extra Training Support for House Officers (Clause 10.9)

House Officers can now access an additional $500 to aid training. Eligibility is that anRMO must have completed 12months of service. This grant is to assist with acceptance into a New Zealand or Australasian Training Programme.  

Accessing this fund should be discussed with the relevant educational supervisor or senior medical officer with an understanding of the entry requirements of the particular vocational programme, and should be part of a House Officer’s documented career plan. 

This grant can be claimed for two years ($1000) and can be transferred between districts. It cannot be used to reimburse the purchase of IT equipment or medical/surgical equipment.

Employment related expenses

As a permanently employed RMO you are entitled to have your APC, ACLS, Indemnity Insurance, your In-practice or Australasian colleges fee’s reimbursed. Membership of Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa is also reimbursed up to $300 per annum. 

Under the STONZ collective agreement, RMOs (PGY2+) not on a training programme will be entitled to the costs pertaining to attending approved courses and events that facilitate their acceptance onto a vocational training programme, subject to support from the appropriate clinical lead and based on the pre-requisites set by the colleges. RMOs on a training program are entitled to actual and reasonable training expenses associated with college requirements. 

Reimbursements of training and employment related expenses should be reimbursed within 4-6 weeks as per the STONZ collective agreement.


Our rostering guidelines are evidence-based and founded on the guidelines for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian Medical Association. Our guidelines give significant flexibility at a local level.  

Limits on hours are 72 hours for a week and 140 for 14 days (if both of these limits are breached, both penalty payments can be claimed). A maximum of 12 days can be worked in a row (after which you require a 48-hour break). Most rosters will have split night shifts of 3 and 4 nights. Up to 7-night shifts can be rostered but only with RMO agreement and only if there is regular opportunity for rest (more details on rostering 7 nights can be found in Appendix 4 of the collective agreement). STONZ Rosters can be changed unless there is a disagreement by 1/3 of the RMO’s working the roster (previously you required 2/3 agreement to change).

If a roster is not published within the sufficient notice period then STONZ collective agreement has an agreed escalation pathway as a way to hold Services and districts to account.

STONZ Collective Agreement successes

A few of the 2021 negotiation highlights:

  • Flexibility of Transfer expenses - increased access
  • The new CA now includes that RMOs who write/manage rosters should be remunerated
  • PGY1s in the first 2 quarters can observe RDOs in schedule 10 rosters
  • Acknowledgement that Registrars should have sufficient time to complete administrative work
  • Ability to request to have no long days in first month of returning from Parental Leave
  • Best Practice Guidelines for Psychiatry Trainees working in the community
  • Easier access to discretionary sick leave. The first 5 days approved like normal sick leave.
  • We’ve added miscarriage or still-birth under the definition of bereavement leave

In recent years we have seen restrictive working hours introduced to the New Zealand health system for junior doctors.

Although these were done with the best intentions and under the guise of "Safer Working Hours", they have not proven to be safe and they have resulted in some major implications for the training of many junior doctors. Unfortunately, we are not the first group of junior doctors to tread this path. This has occurred in both the USA and the UK. In both cases to the detriment of junior doctor training. Our Collective Agreement is designed as an alternative to these restrictive hours and protect our training. This ensures that all junior doctors have the opportunity to train without compromise to themselves, or their patients.

The true cost of restrictive working hours

  • Rostered week days off following weekend work leads to complicated handovers, dilution of training and loss of team structure.
  • Dilution of training has a detrimental effect on the quality of training and length of time required to complete training
  • Increasingly complex and frequent handovers putting patients at risk and costing the hospitals time and money
  • The loss of team structure and team dynamics, a cornerstone of medical and surgical training
  • Hour restrictions increase the demand for relief role RMOs which can be dissatisfying for RMOs and dangerous for patients.

Finding the right balance

“Safer” working hours need to be proven to be safe for both patients and those working the rosters. 

What our members and TI’s have told us is that it takes about 6-months to find your feet and that the role of a new House Officer is changing to what it was even 5/10 years ago. We’ve recognised that there are different needs at different stages of training so, in order to help the transition to House Officer and better support our new RMOs we have negotiated that new PGY1s will work 10/4 rosters for their first 2 quarters.

At STONZ we agree junior doctors don’t have the best work life balance and our commitment is to continue to work with our employers to improve working conditions overall for our members as well as continuing to work towards creating rosters that are collaborative, adaptive and safe for both doctor and patient.

Supporting all Specialties

Our aim is to work towards a Collective Agreement (CA) designed to drive change and provide greater benefits that supports all junior doctors across New Zealand. 

The more we continue to grow, the more voices we represent and the more we can change. For a fresh take on RMO support, consider becoming part of STONZ today.

Still have questions?

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Our normal office hours are 9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

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Contact us

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

P: 03 745 9258
PO Box 22656, Christchurch 8140

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