Medical officers conditions and pay

This page provides information about general employment conditions in both the Top End Health Service (TEHS) and the Central Australia Health Service (CAHS).

The Northern Territory offers a great lifestyle, spectacular geography and unique medical opportunities not available elsewhere in Australia. With up to seven weeks recreation leave per year you will have the opportunity to experience everything our unique Territory has to offer and still have time to visit family and friends down south or overseas.

Medical officers are employed under the Medical Officers (Northern Territory Public Sector) 2018 - 2021 Enterprise Agreement (the Agreement).

An overview of the employment conditions are provided below, however for detailed information, please read the Agreement.


Ordinary hours of duty will as far as practicable be confined to 38 hours per week or an average of 38 hours per week spread over two, three or four week.

  • Shift penalties apply outside the normal span of 06:00 to 18:00 hours Monday to Friday.
  • After hours, standby, on call, and overtime allowances apply.
  • Overtime commitments vary between terms.
  • Primary Health Clinic hours are Monday – Friday 08:00 – 16:36.

Shift penalties

In addition to Medical Officer’s ordinary salary for the shift, a shift worker will be paid the following penalties for ordinary duty performed on shift which falls:

  • between 1800 and 2400 – 15%
  • between 0001 and 0600 – 22.5%
  • on Saturday – 50%
  • on Sunday – 100%
  • on a public holiday – 150%.

In addition, a shift worker who works ordinary hours continuously for a period exceeding four weeks on a shift falling wholly within the hours of 18:00 and 08:00 will be paid a penalty rate of 30%.

Part-time employment

Note: This is a summary. Part-time Employment is at clause 44 (pages 53-54) of the Agreement.

  • A part time medical practitioner will be employed for at least 16 hours per fortnight.  There will be an agreement in writing between the Medical Officer and employer on a regular pattern of part time work (agreed hours) including the hours worked each day, which days of the week and the start and finish times each day.  Any change to hours will be by mutual agreement.
  • A part-time Medical Officer will be entitled to all conditions of employment applicable to a full-time Medical Officer on a pro rata basis and incremental progression for part-time Medical Officers will be in accordance with clauses 15 and 16 of the Agreement.
  • The overtime provisions apply to part time Medical Officers the same as full time including that overtime will only be paid where work is performed outside the normal span of hours, is beyond the length of time normally required to work, is duty performed as Restrictive Duty or Emergency Duty or after working in excess of 76 hours per fortnight.
  • No Medical Officer who is currently employed on a full-time basis will be required to convert to part-time employment or transfer without their consent to enable part-time employment.

Casual employment

Note: This is a summary. Part-time Employment is at clause 18 (pages 20-21) of the Agreement.

  • Medical Officers employed on a casual basis will receive a casual employment loading of 20% in lieu of receiving personal leave, recreation leave and public holiday entitlements.
  • The casual loading will not be used to increase the hourly rate for payment of overtime or shift work penalties.


Salary will be determined in line with the Agreement.

On appointment to Katherine, Gove or Tennant Creek hospitals, salary will be paid as a trainee rural medical practitioner as per the Agreement for the period that duty is performed at that hospital.

Salary packaging

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has set guidelines and limitations on the availability of salary sacrifice for all employees. The ATO has granted additional options for salary sacrifice for employees who work in ‘Hospital Based’ positions.

Salary packaging which allows part of before-tax salary to be sacrificed for certain non-cash benefits, will affect your take home pay. You can sacrifice to items that either attract, or don’t attract Fringe Benefits Tax. Hospital Based employees have an exemption from paying Fringe Benefit tax on certain benefits up to an ATO set limitation.

Salary sacrifice is available for superannuation as well as up to $9,010 net per annum for purposes other than superannuation.

The salary sacrifice amount is capped at $9,010 net per annum ($17,000 grossed up) and is subject to any future changes to the relevant Commonwealth legislation.

Employees in total are able to sacrifice up to 50% of their salary in a Fringe benefit tax year (01 April to 31 March) even if you have already taken advantage of this benefit in other states and territories within Australia.

Novated lease and living/entertainment card

The Northern Territory Government has a panel contract for providing novated lease and living and entertainment card services that is managed by the Department of Corporate and Information Services. There are five providers which employees can choose from to establish novated lease and card services.

This information is managed by the Department of Corporate and Information Services Employee Benefits Unit and may be periodically updated. There are a range of other items that can be packaged directly with the Employee Benefits Unit.

The details of approved providers are listed below.


Approved service/s

Phone number and web address


  • Novated vehicle leasing
  • Meal and entertainment cards
  • Living expenses cards

T: 1300 224 488

Fleet Choice NT – JMAC (NT) Pty Ltd

  • Novated vehicle leasing

T: 8980 5799

Fleet Network Pty Ltd

  • Novated vehicle leasing
  • Meal and entertainment cards
  • Living expenses cards

T: 1300 738 601

Paywise Pty Ltd

  • Novated vehicle leasing
  • Meal and entertainment cards
  • Living expenses cards

T: 1300 132 532

Salary Packaging Australia

  • Novated vehicle leasing
  • Meal and entertainment cards
  • Living expenses cards

T:  8911 7700 or 1300 786 664

Other benefits

  • Zone A taxation concessions may be allowable
  • a Territory Allowance may be payable depending on family circumstances.

Refer to the Agreement and the Medical Officer Guidance Booklet for more information.

A generous relocation package is offered taking into account the commencement level and place of recruitment. Information is provided in the recruitment offer or can be requested from:

Medical staff are eligible to receive the professional development assistance (PDA)  package on commencement of employment, provided the Medical Officer is employed on contract specifying a minimum period of six months continuous service.

  • This allowance is paid fortnightly.
  • Part time Medical Officers will be eligible to receive PDA on a pro rata basis.
  • Additional PDA is also available for RMOs who have exhausted their annual PDA. Documentary evidence is required to support the claim.

For Professional Development Leave and Professional Development Allowances refer to the table in clause 31.18 of the Agreement.

Recreation Leave

NT Health offers Medical Officers up to seven weeks recreation leave per year and it accrues:

  • Your entitlement is six weeks recreation leave per calendar year,
  • and an extra 1 week if you are rostered to work 10 Sundays in that calendar year.

On commencement full time medical officers will also be granted up to four weeks recreation leave in advance, prior to accrual. If you are working for less than 12 months, this allocation of leave will be proportional.

Refer to the Agreement for more information.

Some restrictions do apply

  • For Interns, up to four weeks leave will be granted during the first year of service, subject to approvals and health service leave guidelines.
  • RMOs are granted up to five weeks leave in their first year of service of which two to three weeks are recommended to be taken during their relieving term at TEHS. CAHS does not have a relieving RMO term. All leave at either health service is subject to approval and health service leave guidelines.

Recreation leave loading

Note: This is a summary.  Recreation Leave Loading is at clause 49 (page 59) of the Agreement.

  • Leave loading is paid during periods of recreation leave in addition to normal salary.
  • The calculation is 17.5% of the value of recreation leave up to a cap in accordance with average weekly earnings or in the case of shift workers a calculation of shift penalties.

Professional Development Leave

You can receive up to 10 days professional development leave a year!

  • Professional Development leave up to five days per calendar year may be approved for PGY2+ Medical Officers and up to 10 days may be approved for Registrars and above, who have an employment contract of 6 months or more.
  • The amount of leave credited is pro rata based on the length of the contract and depends on the appropriateness of the course/seminar/conference/exam.

Refer to the Agreement for more information.

Personal and carer's leave

You can receive 15 days personal and carers leave per calendar year!

During the first year, sick and carer's leave is available for 10 days from commencement of contract and, after completion of six months service, another five days will become available.

  • Paid personal leave for ongoing full-time Medical Officer:
    An ongoing full-time Medical Officer is entitled to three weeks paid personal leave on commencement of employment and three weeks paid personal leave annually on the anniversary of their commencement.
  • Paid personal leave for fixed period full-time Medical Officer:
    A fixed period full-time Medical Officer is entitled to two days paid personal leave on commencement of employment; up to one week of paid personal leave for each period of two months service provided that the total leave does not exceed three weeks within the first 12 months of service; and three weeks paid personal leave annually on the anniversary of their commencement.
  • Paid personal leave for part-time Medical Officer:
    A part-time Medical Officer is entitled to paid personal leave on a pro rata basis in accordance with their agreed hours of work.

Compassionate leave

Note: This is a summary. Compassionate Leave is at clause 51 (page 65) of the Agreement.

  • This clause provides for three days paid compassionate leave in the event of the death of, or an illness or injury posing a serious threat to the life of, a Medical Officer’s immediate family or household member.
  • Casual Medical Officers may access two days unpaid compassionate leave.

Long service leave

Note: This is a summary. Long service leave is at clause 52 (page 66) of the Agreement.

  • Long service leave will be utilised as detailed in By-law 8 of the PSEM Act.
  • The PSEM Act provides for 3 months of Long Service Leave after 10 years of continuous service.
  • After 10 years of continuous service there is an entitlement to an additional 9 calendar days of long service leave per each additional year of service.

Parental leave

Note: This is a summary. Parental leave is at clause 53 (page 66) of the Agreement.

  • Unpaid parental leave of primary caregiver:
    Where an employee is the primary caregiver they are entitled to 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave before or from the birth or day of placement for an adoption.
  • Paid parental leave of primary caregiver (12 months to 5 years of service):
    Where the primary caregiver has completed at least 12 months but less than 5 years of continuous service they are entitled to 14 weeks at full pay (28 weeks half pay) of paid parental leave.
  • Paid parental leave of primary caregiver (more than 5 years of service)
    Where the primary caregiver has completed over 5 years of continuous service they are entitlement to 18 weeks at full pay (36 weeks half pay) of paid parental leave.
  • Partner Leave:
    A partner is entitled to up to 8 weeks leave at the time of birth or adoption or in separate period in the first 12 months where the employee’s partner is the primary caregiver.

Interrupted employment

Note: This is a summary. Interrupted Employment is at clause 63 (page 94) of the Agreement.

  • In recognition of the mutual benefit that can be gained through appropriate service in other organisations, Medical Officers whose employment with the department is interrupted as:
    • a consequence of engagement with a recognised humanitarian medical program, or
    • participation in a structured rotation as a registrar

    may be recognised as continuous service for the purposes of accrual of long service leave and professional development allowance.

Last updated: 19 June 2020

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