Unfortunately, it appears that HACSU Members have again been caught carrying excess ADO hours beyond the 26th pay of the financial year.
The ADO clause in the Award is complex.
You don’t technically accrue hours; instead, you accrue value ($$$) and hours, even though on paper AT only track it as an hourly amount. The value accrued ($$$) is the rate at “the hourly rate when working those hours”.
When your leave is taken you are paid out at the ‘substantive rate’; i.e. the rate at which you have been paid if you had worked normal hours (38 of them) at the time. Traditionally it always goes up, but not necessarily so.
“The money accrued in excess of that required for the payment of the 76 hours each year at the employee’s substantive rate shall be paid as an allowance in the 26th pay of each year.”
You accrue ADOs at a rate of 2 hours per week (less weeks where you take Annual or ADO leave weeks i.e. you only accrue when “working” against the Composite or Higher Factor Roster).
Example: Paramedic 5 with a balance of 84 ADO hours as of last week.
Your 84 hours in “the bank” has the nominal value of $3830.46.
To take 84 hours it would cost 84*$46.40 (current rate) = $3897.60. This is what you’d be paid if you took the ADOs as ADO leave.
76 hours costs (at your current rate) $3526.40, so the excess is: $3830.46 (value accrued) - $3526.40 (76* your current rate) = $304.06.
Your balance is reduced to 76 hours and you get paid the ‘excess’ which is $304.06 which is only worth to you an hourly rate of $38.01 which is less than any rate you accrued it at. This is because you’re not being paid the hours you’re being paid the “excess value”.
But it’s even more complex than the above. If you act up, change roles get a “band” promotion etc. during the year or do multiple different things, the effect can be much more extreme. And a further complication is that they take the last in first out when determining the value of the leave, so your value differential can be more extreme if you never get to a zero ADO balance.
We have seen examples where people ‘owe money’ to maintain the 76 hours of ADO despite having 80+ hours on the ADO balance tracker (no debt recovery has been attempted), but the excess hours are removed anyway. There have also been disputes about not having enough ADO leave to take the fortnight after being “paid the ADO allowance” in pay 26.
It is also more problematic in years where pay rises are positive.
We understand this method was developed and agreed to when it was commonplace to have ADO balances exceeding 150 hours. It was developed to encourage people to take the leave and not to use it as a savings measure.
We support the premise that you should take your ADO leave when it’s accrued and take it as often as you can. Don’t get caught in excess in pay 26!
What can be done about this if you have a problem?
If you have ADO leave rejected or cancelled in the past 6 months and have been negatively affected by the ADO allowance, please contact your Workplace Delegate or Industrial Organiser, Chris Kennedy, with the details.