Private health newsletter

Posted on
April 22, 2020
Health Services Industry

A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks.

Here's a snapshot of what's been going on in private health workplaces and how HACSU can help.


Shutdowns have been occurring due to COVID-19, especially along the North West Coast, and many have been asked to quarantine for a 14 day period but what exactly does that mean for you?

Firstly of course it means the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll be paid for staying home and whether you have enough leave to cover the times you aren’t going to be paid – and this is something that’s a real concern for those who work as casuals.

Not only does going into quarantine affect you and your place of work it also affects those living with you – many have said their partner’s had to isolate with them, and younger working adults who still live at home have had to isolate alongside their parents – and many casuals won’t get paid while being at home.

Then there’s the effort of trying to feed all those mouths stuck in your house 24 hours a day for 14 days, and some who don’t have helpful family on the ‘outside’ have told us that grocery deliveries can take up to a week.

There are also the phone calls from the health department and the defence force to check that you’re still in your home, as well as drive-bys from police and the fire department asking you to stand at your window and wave so they can do a head count.

Staying active in both body and mind has required some creativity for many of you in isolation. But what’s shone through the difficulty of these times is the tenacity, sense of family, love, humour,togetherness, inventiveness, positive attitude and resilience of all our HACSU members.

So stay safe and if you need assistance, or pointing in the right direction to find help, give us a call.

Are you unhappy about a change in hours?

Most employees at I-MED, Australia’s largest medical imaging network, received a very simple legalistic letter suggesting broad changes to hours of work, so HACSU took them to the Fair Work Commission because we were unhappy with the content of this letter.

The FWC's compromise was that the company had to issue a letter clarifying that what members could agree to was changes that had already been the subject of consultation - a change in hours broadly speaking of 10-20%as discussed and essentially agreed - but also that no employee was unilaterally required to give up hours if they didn’t want to, despite the effect this may have on I-MED plans.

I-MED appears to not qualify for the JobKeeper program because it’s either too large or hasn’t reached the required reduction in turnover, and it’s our understanding they haven’t applied for it.

If you have concerns about any changes you agreed to in your workplace, and whether the information about your new roster is deficient, then please contact us at HACSUassist.


Private hospitals and other shutdowns

The closure of North West Coast hospitals has forced a flow-on effect at the NWPH and diagnostic and imaging services and, if you’re affected, your employer should be providing you with information about what happens with your pay.

In some circumstances your employer may not pay you if the facility is closed, but employers must act in a reasonable manner, and this may open up an entitlement either via the JobSeeker or JobKeeper temporary schemes set up to help workers disadvantaged by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alternatively, employers may pay special leave or allow access to annual leave or sick leave for the relevant periods if unable to facilitate you working from home.

If you've got concerns about shut-downs, please get in touch with our HACSUassist team on 1300 880 032.


COVID-19 leave

We’ve written to employers several times over the last month to ask about leave arrangements in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak or if staff need to be isolated or quarantined.

Unfortunately one employer, Diagnostic Services, chose to never provide that information - and look where we are now - quarantined with staff being told to use sick, unpaid or annual leave. We have raised issues around this with management and we're fighting for the best possible outcome for HACSU members.

If you are in a similar position with your employer, please contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 so we can help.


Personal protective equipment

PPE has always been vital for many working across the health sectors and now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's even more important.

What exactly is PPE?

•  Protective clothing

•  Masks

•  Goggles

•  Aprons or other garments or equipment that protect the wearer from injury or infection

The hazards addressed by PPE include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals biohazards and airborne particulate matter.

Many workers across all health sectors are calling out for not only PPE gear, but also for items that work in conjunction with it to protect workers’ and clients’ safety such as hand sanitiser and single use paper towels.

HACSU is fighting for every worker to have access to proper PPE and we’ll continue to keep the pressure on employers to ensure PPE is readily available for vulnerable workers.

If you're concerned about access to proper PPE, please contact us on 1300 880 032 ASAP.

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

Health Services Industry