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Emergency Animal Diseases / Outbreak.gov.au

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There is a  useful resource for vets produced by the Department of Agriculture and Australia’s Animal Health Laboratory.

The EAD field guide provides information on important emergency animal diseases that either are rare or do not exist in Australia, to help vets include appropriate EADs in their differential diagnoses. Early identification and reporting is critical to minimise harm and to identify currently high risk exotic diseases such as African Swine Fever.

https://www.outbreak.gov.au/for-vets-and-scientists/emergency-animal-diseases-guide

There is also information on the Outbreak website about emerging diseases for vets to watch out for – which may be particularly useful for vets who are travelling Australia performing locum work, or who graduated overseas.

  1. Hendra Virus
    https://www.outbreak.gov.au/for-vets-and-scientists/hendra-virus
  2. Ehrlichia canis
    A ban on the inter-state movement of dogs is currently being considered in an effort to reduce the spread of Ehrlichia canis in Australia. Please raise public awareness about the importance of checking for and treating ticks. More than a third of all dogs in some remote Top End communities have died after being infected.
    https://www.outbreak.gov.au/current-responses-to-outbreaks/ehrlichiosis-dogs

Author:

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

15/03/2021 |

Employing Overseas Vets & Vet Nurses

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Visa pictureWith the shortage of vets and vet nurses in Australia, many clinics are now considering sponsoring an overseas vet or vet nurse. At the start of October 2020 some slight changes were introduced to the requirements for Labour Market testing. Information below has been sourced from the Department of Home Affairs website www.homeaffairs.gov.au in April 2018 and Feb 2021.

In addition, employers should be aware of the current international border controls due to COVID – for more information on how this affects visa holders, and people applying for visa, visit https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/

Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)

The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa was replaced with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) in March 2018

TSS visa holders can work in Australia in their nominated occupation for their approved sponsor under one of three streams:

Short-term stream

  • Length of stay – up to 2 years
  • Vet Nurses are currently on the Short term Skilled Occupation list (STSOL)
  • Requirements for eligibility include English language requirements, skills assessments (by VETASSESS for VNs), nomination by an employer, health and character requirements.
  • Must have worked in the nominated occupation, or a related field, for at least two years
  • There is no age requirement

Medium-term stream

  • Length of stay – up to 4 years
  • Vets are currently on the Medium term Skilled Occupation list (MLTSSL)
  • Requirements for eligibility include English language requirements, skills assessments (by AVBC for vets), nomination by an employer, health and character requirements.
  • Must have worked in the nominated occupation, or a related field, for at least two years
  • There is no age requirement

Labour Agreement stream

  • This stream is available if your employer wishes to sponsor you (as an overseas worker) and has entered into a labour agreement with the Department

Application for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) involves a three-step process:

Step 1: a sponsorship application by the employer

Step 2: a nomination application for a skilled position by the employer

Step 3: a visa application by the proposed employee

Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa – Labour Market Testing requirement

For a nomination to be approved, the Department must be satisfied that a suitable qualified and experienced Australian worker is not available to fill the nominated position.

Advertising must meet all of the below (further requirements may apply – please see www.homeaffairs.gov.au for up to date information):

  • the nominated position has been advertised in Australia
  • the advertisement was in English and included the following information:
    • the title, or a description, of the position
    • the name of the approved sponsor or the name of the recruitment agency being used by the sponsor and
    • the annual earnings for the position (unless the annual earnings will be greater than the Fair Work High Income Threshold – from July 2017 this is $142,000)
  • at least two advertisements were published:
    • on a national recruitment website. Note: a general classifieds website is not an acceptable method
    • in national print media
    • on national radio or
    • if the sponsor is accredited – on the businesses’ website.
  • if the advertisement is published on a website, it is expected that the advertisement would have ‘remained live’ for at least 21 consecutive calendar days

Kookaburra Veterinary Employment can supply a statement on request with information regarding your job advert, the period that it was listed, and the total cost of advertising.

Additional Requirements for nominations lodged on or after 1 October 2020

In September 2020, the Australian Government introduced new labour market testing measures for employer sponsored applications. 

In addition to the 2 advertisements mentioned above:

  • the nominated position must be advertised on the Government’s jobactive website ( https://jobactive.gov.au/ )
  • the jobactive advertisement must have included all of the information required to be included in the other 2 advertisements mentioned above
  • jobactive advertisements are expected to have run for at least 4 weeks
  • applications or expressions of interest for the advertised position must have been accepted for at least 4 weeks

Note: advertising may have been undertaken by a third party if authorised to do so by the sponsor (for example, an associated entity or a contracted party, such as a recruitment agency) – there is no requirement that the sponsor placed the advertisement themselves

Evidence of a total of 3 advertisements, including an advertisement published on the Government’s jobactive website, must be provided at the time the nomination is lodged.

Meeting TSMIT requirements

Both the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) for the nominated occupation and the guaranteed annual earnings that will be paid to the nominated overseas worker, excluding any non-monetary benefits (for example, accommodation or car provided to them as part of their salary package), must not be less than the TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold).

TSMIT is currently AUD 53,900 as specified in the relevant legislative instrument (14 Oct 2020)

The requirements and process for visa application can be very complicated and there are more conditions than are listed in this article – you can find more information at www.homeaffairs.gov.au

Author:

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

15/02/2021 |

Ten Top Tips for Advertisers

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"Top Ten" image

There is a lot of competition between clinics to fill practice vacancies for vets and vet nurses at the moment. These are Paula’s Ten Top Tips to consider when advertising:

  1. Boost your extramural studies program: you may pick up a new graduate vet;
  2. Have a strong vet nurse team: boosting the role of your nurses makes your practice more attractive to potential applicants;
  3. Reply promptly to applicants: communicate in a timely manner;
  4. Sort out your social media: applicants are looking for practices with a strong online presence;
  5. Put your team online: pictures of your happy, sociable team can play a role in attracting applicants;
  6. Give everyone a lunch break: this will impact on your team’s work/life balance and outlook on their job;
  7. Undertake regular social activities: encourage your team to be socially engaged with each other and their community;
  8. Promote your location: applicants are looking for somewhere they can settle so provide them with reasons why for your area;
  9. Talk openly about the full benefits package: advertise your salary range on offer; and
  10. Pictures of equipment are to be avoided: this is unlikely to attract applicants as most practices use similar equipment.

My current rule of thumb is to take the emphasis in the ad off what you want from your new employee and instead put it on what you are offering.

Author:

Paula Strong
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

08/12/2020 |

Working as a Locum – Part 2

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This article covers information specific to working in Australia as a locum vet, and is taken from fact sheets produced by Kookaburra Veterinary Employment.

Registration as a Vet

Locum Vet photoYou need to register in each State in which you want to work* (see information below about National Recognition of Registration), and you must be registered prior to your first day of work. The contact details for all the Vet Boards are listed on our website at http://www.kookaburravets.com/Australia/Ozlinks.htm on the links page. The requirements vary from State to State but basically you’ll need to fill out the forms, pay the fee, provide proof of your ID and degree certificate, and probably provide a letter of good standing from the last place you were registered with) The Fee varies a lot, contact the state boards for current pricing. Some States have pro rata registration which is really handy for locums, and WA has temporary registration on a month to month basis (maximum 3 months).

Most vets doing locum work register in just one State to start with until they see where they want to work, and then register as required in others. It doesn’t usually take very long in any of the States (a couple of weeks at most).

Note that in WA you have to present in person at the Board Office in Perth in order to register.

You will get a registration number, and it’s good practice to print the number with your signature when signing any forms in Practice.

*NB: There is currently National Recognition of Registration in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and the ACT – Veterinary surgeons who currently hold primary registration and reside permanently in another Australian state or territory are entitled to practise as a veterinary surgeon in these States on a part-time, casual or locum basis without having to register with the local Veterinary Board. In Northern Territory, secondary registration is now free of charge although vets intending working in the NT should still fill the paperwork out to apply for secondary registration.

Tax

Contact your accountant or the ATO for advice regarding the most tax effective way for you to work as a locum.

Casual Employee

You have to fill out a form notifying your TFN (tax file number) to each employer when you start work, and they then deduct tax from your pay. You have to fill out a Tax Return at the end of the Financial year (June 30), and you may get a tax refund.

Your employer should also pay Superannuation (a compulsory pension) for you into a Super fund, usually of their choice, although once you have a Super fund you can give the details to your next employer and request that they pay into that one as well. Super is currently 9.5% of salary.

Contractor/Self-Employed

Australian locums have historically worked self-employed, however, you have to register as a business and get an ABN – Australian Business Number. You must provide this ABN to the clinic before they can pay you as a contractor/self employed locum. The clinic then pays you in full, and you sort out your own tax. You can find more info at www.ato.gov.au You may also have to register for GST. Unless you are a registered company, for normal locum work it’s likely that the clinic should also pay superannuation for you under the Superannuation Guarantee – consult your accountant or contact the ATO for more information. However, even if you supply the clinic with an ABN and an invoice for your work, it is still possible that for both tax and superannuation purposes you should be treated as an employee. You can find more info and an online calculator to assess whether you are an employee or a contractor at www.ato.gov.au/business/employee-or-contractor/how-to-work-it-out–employee-or-contractor/

Pay Rates

Locum rates range from $35 to $80 an hour (average $55/hr) at the moment (October 2020). If you do out of hours work you should get paid an on call allowance for having the phone for each period up to 24 hours, and then get the relevant hourly rate if you do any calls. Some clinics still pay a % of the professional fee for any out of hours calls. Quite a lot of city practices use out of hours emergency centres now so there’s no OOH duties. Minimum employment conditions are set by the Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2010 – you can find copies online by Googling the Award name.

To see 2019 Salary Survey Results compiled by Kookaburra, visit http://www.vetsuppliersdirectory.com.au/2019-salary-survey-results-part-1/

Professional Indemnity Insurance

The Practice Insurer may cover all vets working at the practice – locums should ask the clinic to check. However, it is a good idea to have your own PI Insurance. If working in South Australia, any vet must be covered by either their own or third party PII arrangements as a requirement of registration – and this also applies to vets practising under interstate registration.

Providers include:

  • Veterinary Defence Association 02 8355 9900 info@vetdefenceco.com
  • Guild Insurance 1800 810213
  • Petplan Professional 0411 265746 petplanpro@petplan.com.au

Workcover Insurance

Workcover comprises work health and safety and workers compensation laws. Work-related injuries should be covered by the compulsory insurance required for every employer. Contractors may be covered also, depending on their working arrangements.

Other Professional Registration

Radiation

State legislation requires vets to be licensed in order to use Radiation Equipment. The process varies from State to State – ask the clinic that you are going to be working at. There is now a Mutual Recognition Act that may cover applications for a licence in other States or Territories.

Microchipping

microchip dog photo

Some States have compulsory microchip identification of companion animal cats and dogs, and implanters are required to be licensed in Qld, NSW and Victoria. You may also be required to be licensed to implant microchips in horses.

Author:

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

28/10/2020 |

Locum Vet Checklist for Employers

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Employing a locum vet can happen in a rush – but there are several things that an Employer in Australia should check prior to the locum starting work. This article is based on the “10 Things to ask your Locum Vet” factsheet written by Kookaburra Veterinary Employment.

Stack of CVs1. Visa.

An overseas vet should have a valid work Visa. It is an offence to employ someone without a valid work visa, so it’s the employer’s responsibility to check. Most overseas vets should have their passport with them or be able to provide details about their visa. See www.border.gov.au for more information. You can now check to see if a worker has work rights in Australia at www.border.gov.au/Busi/Visa – you should ask for consent to check the worker’s visa details first.

2. Tax File Number.

If a vet is going to be working for you as an employee, you will need their Tax File Number. See www.ato.gov.au for more information

3. ABN.

If a vet says that they are self employed, they should provide you with their ABN – Australian Business Number. See www.ato.gov.au for more information, or consult your accountant for individual information about the best way for your practice to pay locums. Some locums are employed as casual employees, some locums are engaged as independent contractors. It’s likely that either way, the clinic will have to pay superannuation under the Superannuation Guarantee. There are Calculators online on the ATO website that help you work out whether your locum is an employee or a contractor, and in either case whether you should be paying superannuation for them. Keeping a record of your use of these calculators can support your decision if necessary.

4. CV and References.

Locum vets should be able to provide contact details for 1 or more recent veterinary referees. Clinics should make sure that any locums introduced to them have the required experience for a particular locum job. Kookaburra Veterinary Employment can provide CVs for all locums listed on their register – these CVs are provided by the locum vets to Kookaburra, and Kookaburra doesn’t provide any warranty as to the accuracy of any CV. We recommend that clinics take up one or more references for a locum prior to booking them for any work.

5. Vet Board Registration.

Following mutual recognition implementation in many States, you can now search for a particular registered veterinarian on the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council website at www.avbc.asn.au and find the State that they have primary registration with. It is good practice for vets to use their board registration number after their signature when signing certificates etc. See www.avbc.asn.au for information about registration of overseas qualified veterinarians.

NB: In Western Australia there is the requirement for a veterinary surgeon who appoints a locum to give written notice to the WA Vet Surgeons’ Board of the name of the locum, and the period of the appointment before, or as soon as possible, after the appointment commences.

6. Professional Indemnity Insurance.

The practice insurer may cover all vets working at the practice, or the Locum vet may have their own PII. It’s a good idea to make sure that all your locums and employees have adequate cover. In South Australia this is a requirement for all vets registering with the SA Vet Board.

7. Workers Compensation.

The locum vet may or may not be covered by the Practice workers compensation scheme – check with your Insurer.

8. Medical Insurance.

The locum vet may have their own medical insurance or, if from overseas, may be covered by a reciprocal agreement with Medicare.

9. Other Professional Registration.

For example, some States require vets to be licensed to use Radiation equipment.   Vets may also need to be registered or licensed to perform other duties such as microchipping, preg testing, certification for export etc.

10. Contract

Although practices and locums may not decide to formally enter into a contract, it could be a good idea to set down terms of employment and working conditions in writing prior to the start of the locum period. Things to consider include:

  • Pay rate;
  • after hours remuneration;
  • days off;Signing a Contract
  • overtime;
  • normal hours of work;
  • type of payment arrangement and when the vet is to be paid;
  • type of employment (casual employee, contractor);
  • Superannuation;
  • GST;
  • Travel Costs;
  • Professional registration costs;
  • Responsibility for keys – for the clinic and for scheduled drugs
  • Accommodation and responsibilities of the locum with respect to the accommodation and use of facilities if applicable (eg phone, internet, food in the pantry);
  • provision of vehicle for work – and private use – and fuel costs;
  • any provision for short term cancellation of the locum period by either party.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Contact the AVA HR Hotline for more information on 1300 788977 or email avahrhotline@whr.com.au (you must be an AVA member).

Author:

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

17/08/2020 |
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