Public sector newsletter

Posted on
April 23, 2020
in
Public Sector

Your fortnightly union update

As the COVID-19 situation evolves we’re working hard to ensure your rights and safety are at the forefront of everything we do, providing timely advice about your rights and your employer’s obligations,extending our HACSUassist working hours to 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, and lobbying state and federal governments hard to ensure you aren’t financially disadvantaged should you contract the virus.

We are union. We stick together, we look after each other, and it’s how we’ll get through this.

In unity,

Tim Jacobson

 

Returning to work after quarantine

This is a trying time for everyone as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, with HACSU working hard to address all the issues as they come up, and one concern that many members in the north west are contacting us about is returning to work after quarantine.

It’s difficult because most quarantine periods are based on when you were last at work, or in contact with a particular person, and it’seven more challenging with the ever-changing response to the pandemic.

We’ve written to the secretary of your department to ensure you’re not forgotten through this extraordinary phase and we expect that supervisors and managers will be keeping in contact to make sure you’re coping as best you can and to discuss returning to work.

At this stage, you shouldn’t return until you‘ve talked with your manager, or are directed to return, and if you’ve finished or are nearing the end of your quarantine period and haven’t been contacted you should contact your manager.

If you have concerns about any advice you get in your workplace, particularly if it contradicts advice from public health officials or us, you can discuss that with our team at HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or assist@hacsu.org.au

Thanks for all the vital work you do helping your fellow Tasmanians.

 

COVID-19 and workplace safety

We've heard lots of questions about workplace health and safety and the government’s pandemic advice - in simple terms, your employer must identify and control any risk and must consult with you and your union when doing that.

We continue to seek advice and updates about the following issues:

•  PPE protocols and procedures

•  Procedures for visiting people in quarantine, especially those in hotels

•  Transporting patients in community health vehicles

•  The availability of hand sanitiser and wash stations

•  Additional emotional and psychological supports for workers

•  Limiting sharing of work stations

•  Working from home

Expert advice must be heeded, and what happens in your area depends on your job, but the bottom line is there should be additional safeguards to protect you from transmission of the virus no matter what workplace you’re in, and measures in place to make sure you’re coping with the extra stress of this situation.

If you have concerns about any advice you get in your workplace, particularly if it contradicts advice from public health officials or us, you can discuss that with our team at HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or assist@hacsu.org.au

 

Workers compensation and COVID-19

The essential test is whether or not your employment contributed, to a substantial degree, to you contracting COVID-19, and this maycome to a test of how infection risks at work were controlled.

The main things to consider are:

•  Close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, or something they touched

•  Failure of measures to increase social distancing

•  Breaches of infection control measures, such as cleaning surfaces people are in contact with such as reception desks, meal tables, kitchen areas etc, and easy access to soap and water or hand sanitiser

•  Inadequate Personal Protective Equipment

If you think your employer isn’t providing adequate responses to the above, do these 3 things:

•  Contact your HSR if you have one, preferably via email

•  Inform your supervisor (employer) of your concerns, again preferably via email

•  Contact us at HACSUassist assist@hacsu.org.au and send us the email you sent your supervisor

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you must give your employer notice.

You need to do this via an incident report, if these exist at your workplace, and also email your supervisor ASAP that you reasonably believe you’ve been exposed during the course of your duties - you may also need to make a Workers Compensation claim.

After you’ve done this, contact us for advice ASAP via assist@hacsu.org.au or 1300 880 032.

 

Health & community workers are the real heroes

When workers are called heroes we often imagine doctors in hazmat suits and soldiers in uniform, but across the public sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, HACSU members have found themselves essential parts of the machine that keeps Tasmania in motion, and they’re still required to do their jobs despite the great risk many face every day.

As the pandemic continues to unfold HACSU members are working harder than ever to ensure patients are being cared for, at times doing this at times with limited PPE, strained resources and at great risk to their own safety, and we couldn’t be any prouder of each and every one of you out there working to ensure the health and safety of vulnerable Tasmanians.

We know this is a really stressful time for all health and community workers, but in these uncertain times you can rest assured HACSU has your back and, while you’ve been busy helping the community through all the adversity this pandemic has brought, we’ve been working hard to protect your working rights and entitlements.

HACSU is dedicated to ensuring all health and community workers have a safe workplace, even during a global pandemic, and we’recommitted to ensuring advice is applied and heeded consistently and committed to ensuring the real heroes aren’t forgotten through any of this.

Thank you for the sacrifices you make and the risks you continue to take to care for us all – we think you’re amazing, and it’s clear that when the chips are down you’re the people we can rely on.

Be strong, take care and stay safe - you’re all the real MVPs and we’re proud to represent you.

HACSU supports you

Thanks for the amazing work you’re doing in this unprecedented and rapidly changing environment.

Feel free to contact HACSUassist between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday regardless of how small you feel your issue might be.

Please take care.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email assist@hacsu.org.au or complete our online contact form

Public Sector