Community & disability services newsletter

Posted on
April 26, 2021
Social Community and Disability Sector

Your sector update.

Vaccine rollout update

Last week we met state government representatives who are responsible for the state government part of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Unfortunately, we still have no real information from the federal government about the vaccination rollout in aged care and disability services, since they still refuse to engage with us.
So far, there have been around 42,500 vaccinations in Tasmania (not including what has happened in the last week or so). The state government have given 23,270 of these, GP clinics have given around 13,000 and just over 5,000  were given to aged care residents and workers. As far as we know, the only disability provider that has had vaccinations is Multicap.
The federal government announced late last week that AstraZeneca is no longer recommended for people under the age of 50. This means that the state government is currently revising its rollout plan.
It is likely that the state government will focus on vaccinating people under 50 using the Pfizer vaccine, while GP clinics will concentrate on people over 50. The state government will also keep getting their own workforce vaccinated.
The state government representatives are meeting with the federal government representatives over the next few days to finalise the new plan. We’ll keep you up to date once we hear more about the meeting.
In the interim, we are keen to hear from you on how the vaccination is going in your workplace.
Please call HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email with any updates or issues you may want us to know about.


Your employer has an obligation to meet      your contracted hours

If you are a permanent (part-time) employee, you should generally have a contract which states your minimum contracted hours per week or month, the days of the week you work and your starting and finishing times.
If your employer is not meeting your contracted hours, they must pay you for those hours, and they cannot:

  • Make you take annual leave
  • Make you bid for shifts to make up the shortfall
  • Make you work shifts outside your pattern of work unless you agree

If there are issues with finding you ongoing work due to things like a client leaving the provider, your employer needs to sit down with you and try to reach an amicable solution.
Remember, you are entitled to have representation at these meetings with management. Don’t let your employer bully you into accepting what you don’t want to accept.
If you are having issues with your contracted hours and need help, please contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email


Union win: Backpay secured for underpayment over two years

Due to the introduction of a new payroll system about two years ago, 48 staff were regularly being paid less than their entitled overtime penalty rate in a high-profile community and disability services organisation.
When we heard about this, we contacted the employer immediately and asked them to do a full audit on the payment owed to all affected staff and arrange the backpay.
Now management has finished the audit process and all affected staff have received a letter outlining the amount of backpay they’ll receive. This also includes past staff who worked in the disability arm of this organisation. We’ve requested them to make sure no one is left out during the audit process.
The employer also said that the Eziway payroll system errors have been corrected so that this will not happen again.
This is an important win – for HACSU members and all staff working in this organisation! By bringing the issue to us and staying strong with us during the process, workers finally got the backpay owed to them.
Remember, you’re entitled to overtime rates whether you’re full time or casual. If you’re unsure about whether you’re paid correctly, you should give us a call and we’ll investigate it for you. If you’re paid less than you should have been, you can count on us to get the pay and entitlements owed to you!


Welcomed changes to drug and alcohol policy at NWSS

Staff at North West Support Services (NWSS) recently raised their concerns around NWSS’s new drug and alcohol policy that was soon to be implemented.
Thanks to workers who have asked questions rather than letting NWSS put the policy into effect, after we brought workers’ questions to NWSS, they’ve adjusted the policy to address several areas of concern.
NWSS have clarified that the intent is not to automatically terminate the employment of workers if they fail one test.
They’ve made it clearer that workers will have an opportunity to explain why they believe they returned a non-negative result and to have a support person before NWSS make a decision about taking disciplinary action.
Instead of signing a statutory declaration as an admission that they returned a non-negative result at screening (if that happens), workers now just need to sign a form before a test to say they’ve had the testing process explained to them.
Although we fundamentally don’t agree with the random testing policy and insist workers should be tested only if an employer believes they are at work under influence, and there are still issues within the policy we would like to see addressed, it is now far better because union members have put forward their concerns. Workers should celebrate this achievement.
If your employer is bringing about new policies and you think there are areas of concern, let us know so we can ask questions for you and try to make it a better policy for all. 

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

Social Community and Disability Sector