Representing public sector dentists in the EBA negotiations

The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) advocates for equitable employment conditions for public sector dentists. We fund expert industrial advice and representation for members in enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The ADAVB actively advocates in many ways to improve public oral health, including increasing government funding to the public dental sector to:

  • increase the capacity for service delivery and reduce waiting times to access public dental care
  • update public dental infrastructure
  • provide an equitably employed and sustainable public sector workforce.

03 July 2024 - Bargaining update: Government approves drafted agreements for Dentists and Dental Specialists in public hospitals to ‘go to ballot’

Yes, this has been excruciatingly slow… but we had some happy news this week, which is that the hospital agreements have been approved by Government and will shortly go to ballot.

Q: What can I as a dentist in the public sector expect from the balloting and voting process?

Ordinarily, the VHIA (representative of the employers, in this case, the hospitals that provide dental services) will select an external ballot provider and engage them to run the electronic voting process.

  • You will be advised by your employer that a 7-day ‘access period’ has commenced where you are provided with a copy of the proposed agreement (that applies to you) to review.
  • The external ballot provider may also contact you with specific voting instructions.
  • Immediately following the access period, voting will begin and be open for prescribed period, confirmed during the access period (for example, 7 days).

We are recommending that all dentists vote in support of the agreement that will be balloted at the earliest opportunity you have to do so.

Q: What happens if I vote no?

Voting no will not result in better entitlements. The agreement to be balloted reflects the maximum entitlements the Victorian Government is prepared to offer at this time. In the absence of the new agreement being approved, your current agreement continues to apply without any pay increases or improvements in conditions.

Q: What happens after voting closes?

If, when voting closes, more than 50% of people who cast a valid vote voted in support of the proposed agreement, then the agreement will go to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for final approval. This part of the process is expected to take about 6-8 weeks.

Q: Will I get back paid?

YES – hospital employed dentists will be back paid your 3% wage increase from 1 January 2024 in addition to receiving the lump sum payment, and another $2000 in recognition that you haven’t had access to Professional Support Allowance in the last financial year (FY 2023/24).

Seven (7) days after the FWC approval is the date that the agreement begins to apply and is referred to “the commencement date”. We are expecting the commencement date to be in late August or early September. Your back pay and $2000 Professional Support Allowance should be paid as soon as practicable after the commencement date. Your larger lump sum cash payment will occur a month or so after that.

Keep an eye on your payslips to be aware of what you’re receiving and be aware the extra payments are still taxed.

There’s a lot to dislike about how long and drawn out this process has been, but there is a significant advantage in that payments made in this financial year (FY 2024/25) will be subjected to less tax than they would have if the commencement date (and subsequent payments) had been made in the last financial year.

Q: What else is changing in the new agreements?

  • Your additional week of annual leave will have started to accrue from 1 July 2024.
  • The professional support allowance will be indexed to increase over the life of the agreement and will continue in operation after the expiry of the new agreements.
  • A Uniform and/or laundry allowance will apply (unless your workplace provides a uniform for you and launders it on your behalf.
  • Superannuation will be paid on 52 weeks of parental leave (even unpaid parental leave) from 1 Jan 2024.
  • Primary carer parental leave increases by 2 weeks and non-primary carer leave doubles from 1 to 2 weeks.
  • You will have earlier access to long service leave in a staggered approach (see below) and unpaid parental leave, unpaid leave for injury or illness AND casual service will all be recognised as contributing to long service leave entitlements.
  • An Independent Disputes Panel will be available to determine the outcome of classification and progression disputes.

And a series of other improvements on the conditions within the agreement (see the 23 February update below).

Please encourage your colleagues to vote yes on the agreement that goes to ballot.

23 February 2024 - Bargaining update: Government approves outcome for Dentists in public hospitals

We are pleased to announce that after more than two years of negotiations, a settlement has been reached with the Victorian Government in relation to enterprise bargaining for General Dentists and Specialist Dentists who work for public hospitals.

This settlement has been approved by the ADAVB Council and we are currently working to finalise the agreement with the representatives for public hospitals, the Victorian Hospital Industrial Association (VHIA), and the Department of Health. A formal process to approve the enterprise agreement is still ahead of us and will take some time to resolve, but the essential features of the agreement have been reached between the parties.

As you know, bargaining has been conducted in accordance with the Victorian Government’s very restrictive Wages Policy. We are confident the terms of the negotiated settlement reflect the best possible outcome under the policy for Dentists and Specialist Dentists, without the need to delay matters further through industrial action, further disputation or escalation.

We know you will have many questions about the proposed terms and conditions, and the process to formally make the new enterprise agreement. We have included an overview of the settlement below, with further information about the process from here. We also encourage you to view the recording of our most recent webinar (EBA update #13 from Thursday 22 February here).

We also have some Frequently Asked Questions here. If you have further questions you would like addressed during our next webinar, please email

Note: this settlement only relates to public hospitals, and work is continuing for dentists working in stand-alone community health agencies. Our objective is to replicate outcomes across the public sector, and we will keep you informed about our progress. 


Wages and allowances



Annual wage and allowance increases of 3 percent over four years:

1 January 2024: 3 % increase*

1 January 2025: 3 % increase

1 January 2026: 3 % increase

1 January 2027: 3 % increase

* the first payment will be back paid after the agreement is approved by the Fair Work Commission.



Lump sum cash payments



An additional, one-off lump sum cash payment to all Dentists and Specialist Dentists employed on commencement of the agreement.

We have an agreed pool of over $1.4 million to be equitably distributed across all Dentists and Specialist Dentists.

The value of this payment will differ dependent on your classification, and we are still finalising this information.


Annual Leave



An additional (5th) week of annual leave to commence accruing progressively from 1 July 2024.

Note: in order to achieve this outcome offsets were required, which mirror the approach taken in other Victorian public health agreements. See our FAQs for more information.  


Professional Support Allowance



A cash payment of $2,000 (pro rata) in lieu of being able to access the Professional Support Allowance reimbursement between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024.

In subsequent years, indexing the reimbursement available via the Professional Support Allowance and continuing its operation beyond the nominal expiry date of the agreement:

1 July 2024: $2,090

1 July 2025: $2,154

1 July 2026: $2,218

1 July 2027 (and thereafter): $2,285



Uniform and Laundry Allowance


For General Dentists, introduction of a uniform and laundry allowance of $9.14 per week for eligible employees.


Increased Parental leave



Increasing paid primary carer leave by an additional 2 weeks (to 14 weeks).

Increasing non-primary carer leave by an additional week (to 2 weeks).



Superannuation during parental leave


From 1 January 2024, superannuation will continue to be paid for up to 52 weeks of parental leave (including during unpaid parental leave).


Improved Long Service Leave



Making pro rata long service leave under the agreement accessible from 7 years by 2026, with a staggered approach to pro rata access:

  • from 1 July 2024, 9 years;
  • from 1 July 2025, 8 years;
  • from 1 July 2026, 7 years.

Ensuring unpaid parental leave counts as service for the purposes of long service leave.

Ensuring unpaid leave for injury or illness counts as service for the purposes of long service leave.

Recognising casual service for long service leave.


Disputes Panel


Establishing an Independent Disputes Panel to determine classification and progression disputes in an efficient, informal and expeditious manner.

Many improved conditions

The ADAVB has also negotiated significantly improved terms and conditions across many aspects of the enterprise agreement. By way of an overview, these include:


Flexible Working Arrangements


Improving the process for requesting flexible working arrangements.


Limitations on fixed term employment


Placing further limitations on fixed term employment, to limit its operations, and convert employees to permanent ongoing employment.


Casual Conversion


Setting out the process for casual employees, who have worked on a regular and systematic basis, to convert to permanent employment.


Casuals working on public holiday


Establishing a penalty rate of double time for a casual working on a public holiday.


Review of part time hours


Establishing a process for part time employees to increase their permanent hours, when they regularly work additional hours over a 26-week period.






Expanding the existing workload management clause, to establish a process for a review of workload concerns to occur.

Creation of obligations for the employer to do all that is reasonable to resolve workload concerns.



Occupational Health and Safety



Inserting a suite of measures relating to occupational health and safety, including:

  • risk management,
  • incident reporting/investigation/prevention,
  • occupational violence prevention and management, and
  • employee support and debriefing.


Performance Management

Creating a term that extends rights to employees during performance management.

Meal and rest breaks



Inserting rights to unpaid meal breaks of between 30 and 60 minutes, when working more than 5 hours.

Creating a right to a 10-minute paid rest break in each four hours of work. 

Creating a right to a 20-minute paid meal break after each four hours of overtime.



Hours of work



Establishing minimum rights regarding arrangements of hours of work. Including rights to a minimum 10 hours break between ordinary hours of work.






Clarifying the payment for on-call being 10 per cent of the hourly rate per hour of the on-call period.

Establishing expectations for 28 days advance notice of a requirement for being rostered on-call.



Annual leave



Outlining a process to deal with annual leave requests during high demand periods (for example, School Holidays or the Easter period) in a fair and equitable way.

Clarifying that annual leave can be taken in short periods, including part-days.

Extending mutual rights to employers and employees for managing excess annual leave accruals.



Compassionate leave


Expanding compassionate leave to include still birth and miscarriage.


Professional Development leave



Clarifying that any education or training deemed compulsory or mandatory by the employer will occur within an employee’s paid time, and that no deduction will be made to an employee’s professional development leave for mandatory training.  

Ensuring that an employer will not unreasonably without approval for professional development leave.


Fitness for work


Creating greater rights and protections for employees in situations where an employer has concerns regarding an employee’s fitness to perform work.

Protective equipment


Clarifying obligations on the employer to provide employees with PPE and to launder protective gowns at the employer’s expense.


Rectification of underpayments


Establishing obligations for employers to rectify underpayments to employees within prescribed timeframes.


Anti- Discrimination terms


Inserting anti-discrimination provisions into the agreement to inform its operation and application.


Rights for the ADAVB and its representatives



Inserting a suite of measures to recognise the right of the ADAVB to represent members.



Clearer classifications



Updated, clear and more contemporary classification descriptors.

In addition, there is a process to discuss more significant modernisation of the classification descriptors over the life of the agreement. This would inform future classification negotiations.



Renegotiation of the agreement


A term that requires good faith negotiations for a replacement agreement to commence six months prior to the expiry of the new agreement.


22 February 2024 - EBA update webinar #13

Hear the latest on the negotiations regarding the Victorian General (Public Hospital) Dentists and Specialists (and Specialists-in-training) Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.

Listen to the most recent webinar recording now here.


Negotiation update December 2023

On Friday the 24th of November 2023 we (ADAVB and Professionals Australia) received our first formal EBA offer from the Victorian Government since signing the interim agreement in October 2022. The offer (thought to be a ‘low-ball’) was described as “compliant with the current wage policy” but from our perspective would be a woefully inadequate outcome for our members.  The offer neglected to address most of our priority claims such as, payment for specialist-dentists-in-training, wage increases from 1 July 2023, increase in the amount of professional support allowance, expanded annual leave entitlements (enjoyed by other Victorian public health employees), and earlier access to long service leave.

In addition to rejecting that initial offer, we’ve also initiated a bargaining dispute with the Fair Work Commission to signal our profound disatisfaction with both the initial offer made and time it’s taken the Government to come to us with an offer of any sort. (Given the Government’s current wage policy specifies there will be no back-pay, and we’ve been waiting to receive an offer since we recommenced bargaining in April/May.)

We held the final EBA update webinar for the year on 6 December, and a recording of the webinar is available here.


The following day (7 Dec) we engaged in some more promising conversations with Government representatives regarding what an offer would need to include for it to be considered ‘acceptable’ to us.

It’s unlikely the offer will be changed to include back-payment of wage increases to 1 July 2023, which is when the interim agreement expired.  This is because the Government does not want to be seen to be breaking its wage policy (that specifies ‘no back-pay’) as it will set a prescidence that it cannot continue with other (larger/non-dental) agreements currently under negotiation.

However, a hearing has been set at the Fair Work Commission for 15 December for a commissioner to hear our case and help mediate the dispute.  We also have more meetings scheduled with Government Industrial Relations representatives between now and then, so IDEALLY there will be a more positive outcome to report prior to Christmas. 


Negotiation update October 2023

ADAVB and Professionals Australia continue to meet with VHIA and the Department of Health to negotiate a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) for public sector dentists. Despite a new Victorian Government wages policy being announced in April this year, progress has been slow, with an inflexible and rigid approach adopted by the Government to our claims.

We understand that a paper outlining the Department’s proposed offer has been submitted to a sub-committee of State Cabinet for consideration and approval, and we expect a formal offer to be made within the next few weeks. We expect that this process has been delayed with the recent resignation of the Premier.

We anticipate that the offer will be broadly in line with the Government's wages policy, with a 3% increase in base salaries. There is also an expectation that a range of other improvements to conditions will be approved, including flexible work arrangements, secure employment and casual conversion. We remain hopeful that other claims, including an additional week of annual leave and an increase to the professional service allowance, will also be approved.

This offer will be for those covered by the various Hospital agreements including dentists and dental specialists. Once an offer is received from the Government, our expectation is that expedited negotiations will occur with Community Health Centres. We have already met with the VHIA and outlined that we expect that Community Health Centres should adopt the same improvements achieved by those in public health services.

Once an offer is received, we will notify members and provide more information on the next steps, which will include a ballot to vote on the offer. We will also plan a webinar to provide more information when it becomes available.

Update April 2023 

The Andrews Labor Government today announced their new Public Sector Wages Policy, which increases the wages component from the previous 1.5 per cent per annum cap to now fund an annual increase of 3 per cent, with a lump-sum sign-on bonus equivalent to 0.5 per cent of total agreement costs (amount yet to be determined for the dental agreements).

The new policy is effective immediately, and ADAVB with Professionals Australia will recommence bargaining as soon as possible after Easter, with the hopes of finalising a new agreement before the expiry of the interim agreement currently in place.

Register now for our tenth EBA update webinar from this round of bargaining, to be held Tuesday the 23rd of May for further updates.

Negotiation update November 2022

On 21 October 2022, the ADAVB with Professionals Australia signed off on an 'interim administrative' arrangement with the Victorian Department of Health for hospital employed dentists and dental specialists covered by:

·       Victorian Public Health Sector (General Dentists’) Multi-Employer Agreement 2018

·       Victorian Public Health Sector (General Dentists’) Multi-Employer Agreement 2018 (No 2)

·       Specialists Dentists and Specialist Dentists in Training Dental Health Services Victoria Enterprise Agreement 2018-2022.

The interim arrangement is NOT the same as the 12-month 2% rollover option (also referred to as the 'secondary pathway' of the Government’s current Wage Policy) but does include:

1.      a 2% wage increase for this financial year (2022/23) back paid to 1 July 2022

2.      $2000 (pro rata based on time fraction) Professional Support Allowance and

3.      a single $5000 'scholarship payment' for specialist dentists in training to be paid on the first full pay period on or after 1 March 2023.

The interim arrangement is in recognition that we have been unable to reach agreement regarding our other claims prior to the Government going into care-taker mode (early November) and is contingent upon us agreeing to withdraw our applications to take protected industrial action and revoke all outstanding protected action ballots. 

We are currently working with the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association to ensure that we can have this arrangement mirrored for dentists employed in stand-alone community dental agencies covered by the other public sector dental enterprise agreements.

We are disappointed that the Government has refused to acknowledge the important work that public sector dentists and dental specialists undertake by utilising this hard-line approach to bargaining, but we will continue to negotiate in the new year and remain hopeful of achieving a more reasonable outcome under a new wages policy.

Members can view a recording of the webinar held on 27 October (update #9) on our website here, along with the other EBA update webinar recordings. 

We will keep you updated regarding further developments.

Please ensure you read email correspondence from ADAVB which may come from or, watch this page for updates, webinar information and frequently asked questions, and join our closed Facebook group

ADAVB have been holding regular information sessions online since September 2021.  Recordings of the EBA update webinars are published on the ADAVB website and available for members to review at their convenience. The sessions have provided the opportunity for public sector dentists and specialists to ask questions and better understand how they can be involved.

View previous information session recordings here.


Also in this section

Public sector EBA negotiations update webinars

View the recordings of past public sector EBA negotiations update webinars.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about the EBA negotiations as at 22 Feb 2024

Answers to the frequently asked questions on EBA negotiations