Private health newsletter

Posted on
September 7, 2020
Health Services Industry

Your sector update.

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

Good meeting but still someway to go for Calvary members 

HACSU members at Calvary CSSD have been voicing their concerns around workload and staffing levels for a long time, so recently we met with Calvary management, along with members, to discuss the ongoing issues.

Members were well prepared with all documented evidence and went beyond to have all this available to present as proof at the meeting.  

We’ll be keeping management accountable to make sure the several new positions they’re recruiting for are actually put in place, and we’ve been assured a new CSSD manager has been hired but is still in transit with no date confirmed for her arrival. 

This proves the power HACSU union members have by standing together and persisting with their concerns. This is a win, but talk is one thing, the proof will be in the pudding.  

Look out for after-hours visits from HACSU  

HACSU visited the Hobart Private Hospital at 5pm for a routine site visit to contact members who work different shifts, but it did take our organiser 40 minutes to be allowed to proceed from the front foyer due to management’s confusion around why we were visiting at that time of night! 

Our federal right of entry allows us to visit the site during their operational hours, so keep an eye out for us as we can popup anywhere at any time. 

Hobart Clinic agreement finally approved 

The Hobart Clinic's new staff agreement has been passed by the Fair Work Commission with ‘undertakings’ - changes made because the commission didn’t agree employees would be better off than under the award- we’d raised some of these at the bargaining table and pointed out problems during the approval phase.

Here are those changes:

  1. The definition of Day Worker at Clause 7 of the agreement is replaced by: Day Worker means an employee whose weekly ordinary hours of work are performed between the period 6am and 6pm and on the days Monday to Friday inclusive.           
  2. Clause 11(c) (ii) is replaced by: Casual employees shall be provided with the minimum of three (3) continuous hours work or, alternatively, paid for a minimum of three (3) hours on each occasion they are required to attend work.
  3. Clause 25 (a)(iv) is replaced by: A shift worker, as defined in clause 7 above, is entitled to an additional week’s annual leave. 
  4. Hourly rates of pay for a level 11 year 3 employee in Schedule A are increased by 3%.
  5. Casual employees who work a shift are working a roster, therefore  will receive the shift penalties that apply in addition to the casual loading
  6. An employee of any grade who performs work between 6pm and 7pm Monday to Friday will be paid at a rate that is better off overall than the rate for that engagement that would be payable under the Health Professionals & Support Services Award 2020

The new agreement provides for annual pay increases of 2.35% after 1 October 2020 and 1 October 2021, which means we’re back to negotiate again in the first quarter of 2022.  

What a support person really does 

If you’ve been asked to meet with management to discuss your work conditions you have the right to union representation – and that meeting could be about hours, workload, workplace flexibility, rosters or any other issue that affects your working life. 

Don’t be fooled if told your support person can’t act as an advocate or speak on your behalf because that’s simply not true - your union can represent you, including assisting you in a meeting or talking for you. 

Ask management for a copy of all relevant information in writing before the meeting, and this includes your right to access your personnel file if needed. 

You need to give us notice about these types of meetings so we can help you properly, and the best way is to call HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 and may be chatting to a HACSU organiser before the meeting to properly prepare for it, including being clear about what you want from the meeting. 

HACSUassist also offers support and advice for members when representation isn’t required. 

Knowledge is power, so call us if in doubt - all calls are confidential. 

Hobart Pathology hours  

If your hours have been reduced – did you agree and is it in writing? For Hobart Pathology staff, Section 2.3, conditions of part-time employment, in their Diagnostic Services and Consultant Pathology Services Enterprise Agreement 2018 clearly states:

(d) Before commencing employment, the employer and the employee will agree in writing on a regular pattern of work including the minimum number of hours to be worked each week, the days of the week the employee will work and the start and finish times each day. The terms of this agreement may be varied by agreement and recorded in writing.

Anyone concerned about changes to their hours should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032.

Still waiting for front desk COVID-19 screens 

On our last visit to I-MED, members asked us to raise the lack of front desk protective screens with management, so we wrote to Krishna to have this issue addressed and get clarity around if, and when, these screens would be installed. 

We also reminded her that NWRH had been given protective screens, but they were the wrong size so were shoved in a room and that’s where they’ve stayed. 

Krishna wrote back to say, “The current Australian Government advice is that it is not necessary to install a screen between our reception staff and patients due to the short interaction time. We have, however, chosen to install screens to ease anxiety”. 

She also acknowledges the NWRH screens ordered in June weren’t fit for purpose and that, “Email communication was sent to all NW staff on the 12 August updating them on the progress of the replacement screens. We have contacted the manufacturer again following your email to get an update on their progress”. 

We’ve asked Krishna to send us an update on a time frame for them to be installed and will let members know as soon as we hear back - staff protection is everyone’s business! 

Something Krishna agrees with us about is that members have done an outstanding job during these uncertain times.  

Who can sign a statutory declaration?  

A member recently had an issue where Calvary would not accept a statutory declaration signed by a nurse from another organisation, where our nurse member also worked, as proof of absence for sick leave – they would only accept a statuary declaration by a justice/commissioner of the peace and they then contacted HACSU about the issue. 

On the Department of Justice website there’s along list of who can sign a statutory declaration, and a nurse is clearly one of them. 

A person who is licenced or registered in the following occupations is approved to witness your statutory declaration if they are licenced in Australia, or if they are registered to practice their work in Australia.

•      architect

•      chiropractor

•      dentist

•      financial adviser or financial planner

•      legal practitioner, with or without a practicing certificate

•      medical practitioner

•      midwife

•      migration agent registered under Division 3 of Part 3 of the Migration Act 1958

•      nurse

•      occupational therapist

•      optometrist

•      patent attorney

•      pharmacist

•      physiotherapist

•      psychologist

•      trademark attorney

•      veterinary surgeon 

Once this was bought to Calvary’s attention they apologised, said there was a miscommunication, and accepted the statuary declaration as evidence of absence. 

Always stand up for your rights!  


HACSU supports you 

Thanks for the amazing work you’re doing in this unprecedented, rapidly changing environment. Feel free to contact HACSUassist from 8am-6pm Monday to Thursday and 8am–5pm Fridays about anything in this newsletter or any other issue you have, regardless of how small you feel the issue might be. Be strong, take care and stay safe - we’re proud to represent you.

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