Last Thursday, we met with disability service providers and people with a disability advocacy group Speak Out to talk about the latest developments across the disability sector. We updated the group on the COVID-19 allowance and COVID-19 Leave that we’re campaigning for and urged employers who haven’t yet committed to the entitlements to do so.
We also talked about COVID-19 testing and issues around this in the disability sector. One suggestion was for public health to have a designated contact point for the disability sector so we can try to improve the situation and get test results more quickly.
We know that self-isolating can have a big impact on people with a disability and can be associated with restricted practices, etc.
This Monday, we raised the idea of public health having a dedicated liaison officer who understands the sector directly with Health Minister Sarah Courtney. She agreed to set up a meeting between HACSU and relevant stakeholders to talk about it, so we will update you after we’ve had this meeting.
In the last newsletter we said that we’ve written to all disability service providers asking them to commit to paying the COVID-19 allowance, should a member need to support a client that has or is suspected of having the virus. The allowance would recognise the extra responsibilities and skills required to support someone with a disability that has COVID-19.
We’re pleased to say the following providers have already committed to paying the allowance:
• Hobart City Mission
• St Giles
We’re still waiting to hear back from several other providers,and some have acknowledged our letter and have said they’ll get back to us - hopefully more employers in the sector will do the right thing and commit to paying the allowance.
The matter is still before the Fair Work Commission, where we’re fighting to have the allowance put into the award so everyone can access it.
We’re also continuing to pursue getting paid COVID-19 leave for employees who need to self-isolate into the award via the Fair Work Commission.
We’ll keep members updated.
HACSU was able to help when a HACSU member working in disability services was stood down recently for an investigation into allegations of “serious performance and behavioural concerns” following a complaint about an interaction between the member, clients and another worker.
Potential outcomes for the investigation included disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
HACSUassist provided advice about responding to the allegations and liaised with the employer to set up a meeting where were presented the member while they responded to the allegations and challenged some points that had been alleged – we insisted termination of employment would be too harsh and requested for it to be withdrawn and suggested further training instead of any disciplinary action.
The employer didn’t commit to anything at the meeting but,by the next day, the member was sent a letter saying all allegations were unsubstantiated and no disciplinary action would be taken and, in the end, the employer simply offered further training around communication.
HACSUassist can give advice and support with both disciplinary and non-disciplinary matters so if you receive any disciplinary letter or if your employer requests to meet with you, please contact us on 1300880 032 straight away to discuss. We’re here to help.
Workers in the community and disability services sector deserve every dollar they earn, so members need to make sure they’re being paid correctly and are on the right level or pay increment to match their job description and years of service.
From a few recent issues, it appears some providers haven’t been paying the correct rate and some have failed to take qualifications or years of service into account when determining classification so, for anyone who’s been working in community or disability services for some time but hasn’t moved up a pay increment, it’d be worth looking at their agreement or award to see if they should’ve moved up a pay level, increment or pay point.
Members who are unsure, or who need help bringing it up with management, please let us know.
In the community and disability services workplaces it can be challenging for organisers to meet up with members given all the different places they work, not to mention the different days of the week and shifts worked,let alone how busy everyone is.
COVID-19 has meant that we can’t come and hang out in staff rooms or chat to members in workplaces like we normally would, so we’ve started to roll out virtual lunchrooms so we can still catch up.
Members can jump onto one of our Zoom meetings to let their HACSU organiser know what’s going on in the workplace or to just say hi – keep an eye out for a meeting invite!
If there hasn’t been one in your workplace yet and you’d like us to organise one, please let us know, and remember you can always give us a call on 1300 880 032 from 8am to 8pm or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org