HACSU will be celebrating Disability Workers Week from 6 December through to 12 December this year, highlighting to the community that disability workers are essential workers too.
Far too often, disability support workers are overlooked compared to other frontline workers like doctors, nurses and paramedics. This pandemic has brought a lot of attention to hospitals and aged care, but the disability sector should have been in the spotlight too.
Throughout Disability Workers Week, we’ll be visiting workplaces, running BBQs and holding other community events to highlight the invaluable and essential work that disability support workers do. We’ll also be running competitions where disability workers can win cash prizes in gift cards and enter a draw to win one of 3 major prizes.
We’ll be advertising Disability Workers Week and the competition soon, so keep an eye out for more details shortly!
HACSU often hears from workers in aged care who feel they are being bullied in the workplace.
Running short-staffed with difficulties in filling shifts, tempers seem to be tense and as a result we sometimes do see an increase in bullying.
Just this week, we heard from a manager who had been given an anonymous letter, slipped under their door, alerting them of potential bullying. Unfortunately, because the letter wasn’t signed, it didn’t allow the manager to conduct a proper investigation. In order for due process to occur, thing like the day, shift and names of any other witnesses (and the person making the notification) need to be included.
Without the ability to verify the details and see if there’s substance to the allegation, the workplace isn’t able to open an investigation. Most organisations would be left with no option but to disregard the complaint.
If you’re worried about bullying, here’s a snapshot of what workplace bullying looks like.
Bullying is “repeated, unreasonable behaviours directed towards a worker or a group of workers.”
Bullying and harassment can be verbal, physical, written or electronic and can include:
• Insults and constant criticism that makes someone feel humiliated or intimidated
• Deliberate and repeatedly being undermined
• Cruel and malicious rumours, gossip and innuendo
• Deliberate and repeatedly being ignored or excluded
• Behaviours or language that frightens or degrades someone such as swearing, threats and yelling
An employer or manager is bullying a worker if they deliberately:
• Give work that’s unreasonably above or below the workers ability
• Give meaningless work that’s unrelated to a worker’s job
• Give inconvenient rosters or change hours on a whim or to inconvenience a worker
• Deny information or resources a worker needs to do their job
• Scrutinise work excessively and unreasonably
If you believe you’re experiencing bullying at work, your first point of call is to ring HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email email@example.com. One of our organising team will be able to help set you on the best course of action to get the matter resolved.
Recently we have assisted some members who’ve received disciplinary letters relating to their conduct on social media websites.
While our representation has saved a number of employees, you should always think twice before posting anything related to work on social media, as it’s generally classified as a public space, even when you have privacy settings set to only friends.
Sometimes groups or pages might not be private due to other people’s settings, or because other group members choose to share the content online or in person.
Even if you haven’t posted the content, if it contains something identifying your employer and you comment, like or share it you may still face allegations for breaches of their social media policy.
You have the right to a private life and to post content on social media, but get permission to post any content identifying your employer and be sure you’re not bullying or harassing anyone from work.
Remember, as your mother told you, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all.”
Recently we’ve heard from some SCHADS Award-based employees in the disability sector who are concerned about being told by management that they’ll have to start using their own personal mobile phones and data to access their work rosters and input client and service user data for NDIS reporting purposes, real time billing purposes, behavioural issues and more.
We understand that some staff are happy to do this, but there are also many workers who only use their phones for family contact and might only use prepaid plans. However, even if you have a decent calls and data plan, smartphones are expensive and you shouldn’t feel the pressure to upgrade your phone (or plan) –especially if you might only be working a few hours a week.
The SCHADS Award doesn’t have any provisions that allow your employer to direct you to use your own devices for work purposes. If you’re concerned, you can and should request that your employer provide a work phone if they want you to enter data daily.
Employers are getting very innovative in how they’re trying to implement reductions to workers’ classifications. We’ve seen comments like, “The NDIS doesn’t fun us for a level 3 DSW, so you need to go back to a level 2 DSW,” and claims that workplaces need restructures and roster changes just to keep you in a job.
Sometimes everything is not as it seems. Some of the dodgy employers out there in the marketplace will do anything to reduce their financial obligations to you, and that might include reducing your SCHADS classification or even cutting your contracted hours – which would reduce your fortnightly income and your accrued entitlements like sick leave, annual leave and long service leave.
The SCHADS Award has a clause in it that mandates your employer consult before implementing any of the changes above.
If you’ve heard whispers of anything like this at work, you need to contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 right away so we can step in and help you and your colleagues work through it.
If you need any more information, just give us a call on 1300 880 032 or reply to this email.