Ambulance news

Posted on
November 17, 2020

Roster problems 4 years after the clause changed!

We’re hearing more and more anecdotes about roster problems, particularly short notice changes and concerns with the application of what constitutes ‘day work’.
Firstly, rosters are covered by Clause 11 of the staff agreement, although we recently had a manager insist they’re in the award so that’s what they were following - but this is wrong, the agreement has precedence over the award – and clause 11 of the agreement says rosters are:

  • To be provided with at least 56 days’ notice
  • Must show location, start time and duration of shift
  • Must show days off
  • Must show any periods of ‘on call’

It’s not ok to be ‘rostered as a spare’ with a location, start time or shift duration left blank, so ‘unknown/TBA’ is not on, and rosters must be published with a minimum 56 days’ notice in advance - some business units actually give more notice.

Changes to rosters once published can be made with 56 days’ notice, or for other reasons such as training/skill mix/sick leave cover etc but, as per the staff agreement, ‘such a change shall be discussed with the employee/s concerned prior to the change being made’.

It’s not good enough to simply say ‘I’ve changed your roster’ or, even worse, make a change to the crew sheet or muster without even a discussion, and we’ve heard sometimes this happens for the following day’s shifts without any consultation – this is wrong and unlawful.

It’s also important to understand how line changes work - you must always get ‘equal days on and off’ or more days off than on, never less.

Day shifts are not the same thing as day work even if they fall in the Mon-Fri period. Day work is ‘non-operational work’ such as training or admin or project work, it’s not operational dayshift work. Operational dayshifts are always shift work and this requires equal days on and off, not exceeding 4 shifts as a maximum run of shifts.

If you’re rostered into periods of day work you must get the equal days off (for the period before day work begins, you earned them from working shift work). When moving from day work back to shift work you must always get the ‘clear weekend off’ - It’s a ‘day work week’ and day workers get the weekend off, so a clear Saturday and Sunday.

A day work week can’t ever exceed 40 hours, this is 38 normal day work hours and 2 ADO hours. True day workers can also do a 40-hour week when accruing RDOs.

The total hours worked from day work and shift work periods must never exceed 336 hours in any 8-week period. (42 hourly week average at Higher Factor Pay + Accrued ADOs).

So working 4 X 10 hour operational dayshifts at HQ on a Mon-Thu or Tue-Fri rotation to enable training to occur is not day work – you’re a shift worker and entitled to equal days on and off either side of that sequence.

If you agree to a roster change there’s no requirement for the original roster to somehow remain active in the background - once the change is accepted it’s now your published roster and it’s reasonable to make changes to your personal plans based on your published roster.

If a task such as training gets cancelled, you’re not fair game to be put anywhere at any time, so all changes to published rosters require consultation including when things get cancelled.

If you have any concerns about this information please contact your delegate or HACSU on 1300 880 032 or email If any duty manager or roster clerk has concerns also refer them to us for clarity.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form