Public sector newsletter

Posted on
August 5, 2020
Public Sector

Your sector update.

As the pandemic response continues to evolve, and things in other jurisdictions remain unstable, we’re still working hard to make sure our members are supported and represented and we’ll continue to lobby the state and federal governments to ensure that workers are at the forefront of plans for the recovery. We’re union, we stick together, we look after each other and it’s how we’ll get through this. 

Fixed term workers 

As part of the negotiations for the various public sector agreements there was an arrangement between the parties for a review of fixed term employment across the state service. 

If you’re an allied health professional, a health service officer, a nurse or midwife the following criteria for conversion applies: 

·  employed in a fixed term position for 24 months or more

·  three or more consecutive contracts

·  a position where there’s a requirement that the duties or similar duties are continued  

Earlier this week we met with employer representatives to continue to progress the issue and THS and DoH are working through their systems to identify fixed term workers and asses their status. 

We’re collating a list of fixed term members that we’re aware of and will give this to the employer at the end of next week. After this, workers should receive correspondence about their status which will include any proposal for conversion or reasons why a conversion may not occur. 

Whilst the agreement only applies to those in the above groups we’re keen to know if you meet the criteria and are employed in THS or the Department of Health.  

We also received great news of a commitment to review the use of casual workers in areas across health, that will begin once the fixed term workers have been identified and dealt with. 

If you’re a fixed term worker we want to hear from you so please contact HACSUassist so we can add you to the register of fixed term workers and keep you fully informed as the review unfolds. 

Special pandemic leave 

We’ve had concerns raised about the advice being given regarding special pandemic leave, with workers being directed to be absent from the workplace until they return a negative COVID test, and our position has been clear and consistent since the declaration of the pandemic.  

If a worker is directed to stay away from the workplace as a precautionary measure, they’re eligible for special pandemic leave and this includes if a worker presents for work as normal and is precluded due to screening, and it’d be a serious risk and retrograde step if workers have an incentive to not be entirely honest during screening. 

The other factors relating to special pandemic leave are: 

·  If directed to self-isolate or stay away from the workplace, you’ll be paid your regular salary without using leave entitlements  

·  If required to provide emergency support to children or a member of your household, you’ll need to use your personal leave entitlements. If you don’t have a sufficient balance or run out of personal leave the agencies will accept an application for special pandemic leave 

·  If you’re unwell, including if you contract COVID-19, you’ll need to use your personal leave entitlements. If you don’t have a sufficient balance or run out of personal leave the agencies will accept an application for special pandemic leave. Remember you can claim workers compensation if you contract any illness in the course of your duties, including COVID-19 

·  If you’re a casual or sessional worker asked to self-isolate or stay away from the workplace, you’ll be paid for any shift you’ve already accepted and the agencies will accept an application for special pandemic leave 

·  Payment for special pandemic leave will be your normal rate of pay. For casuals it’ll be based on regular hours for those who work regular and systematic hours or based on an average of the last two pay periods or the two pay periods that occurred prior to the declaration of the pandemic

HACSU will continue to fight for arrangements to protect workers, especially health and community workers, who shouldn’t be disadvantaged by the pandemic.  

COVID-19 recovery survey 

HACSU and other unions are working hard to protect your rights and ensure we see a better Tasmania coming out of the pandemic, so Unions Tasmania are looking for your views on our state and your work and want to hear any specific ideas for recovery that you have.

The survey takes just under 10 minutes and you’ll be helping set the union movement’s priorities and feedback to government, your responses will remain confidential, and Unions Tasmania will be giving away a $200 hamper of local food and drink to one lucky participant - the survey closes Saturday 15 August. 

Take the survey:

Whatever the circumstances, you must be consulted 

A number of members have recently contacted us about changes being made without any real consultation occurring beforehand. 

When a workplace change is proposed, you have a right to be consulted, a right to seek clarification on any part of the proposal and a right to be represented by your union.  

Members also have a right to provide feedback on the proposal or make alternative proposals that must be considered before the implementation of change, and this includes any changes or review of your statement of duties. 

If change is occurring or has been proposed in your area and you’re concerned the correct process isn’t being followed, contact us immediately.   

HACSU supports you 

Thanks for the amazing work you’re doing in this unprecedented and rapidly changing environment. Feel free to contact HACSUassist from 8am to 6pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 5pm on Fridays about anything in this newsletter or about any other issue you have, large or small. 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

Public Sector