Your PSA representatives recently met with the Department of Customer Service (DCS) for the Recurring Joint Consultative Committee (RJCC). The following is a report back to members on matters that were discussed.
In response to concerns with returning to office, DCS is reviewing and updating the COVID-19 safety plans for each of the work sites. In the interim, current safety measures such as additional cleaning, hygiene, and encouraging travel on public transport outside of peak hours (where available), will continue.
Healthy hybrid habits
DCS has not set requirements for a fixed number of days in the workplace. Instead, senior leaders and managers have been tasked to set up a pattern of work for their team in attending the workplace. Such hybrid working arrangements should now be finalised, and have taken into account consideration of what activities need to be done in the workplace, team collaboration, and staff well-being and needs. There is an additional program of work being undertaken to support staff who have moved regionally during COVID-19.
Any members who are concerned with the team arrangements are encouraged to raise the issue locally in the first instance. If the matter remains unresolved or if the response is unsatisfactory, please contact the PSA Member Support Centre for further assistance.
COVID special leave
The 20 days’ COVID special leave is still operative. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and are unable to work, you will have access to available COVID-19 special leave in the event that you have exhausted accrued sick leave. Additionally, if you are unable to work due to isolation or caring for a family member, you can access available COVID-19 special leave. All information is contained within the DCS COVID SharePoint Hub, which is accessible to all employees.
Revenue NSW Artificial Intelligence (AI) Numberplate Recognition
Your industrial representatives were alerted by our workplace delegates of an announcement made by Director Evans on 17 March 2022 regarding the use of AI Numberplate Recognition in processing camera fines. Your union raised strong concerns that the PSA was not consulted prior to the announcement being made. The Department responded advising that the AI Numberplate Recognition project is still in the very early stages, with reports from Subject Matter Experts and the Automation team still to come, and that there would be no job losses. The PSA will continue to pursue this with the Department to ensure members’ interests are protected, and that proper consultation is occurring.
We want to remind members who are affected by the floods that there are special leave arrangements in place. If you have been affected by the floods, for example through road closure, public transport issues, or have been evacuated, and are unable to make alternative arrangements for work you are able to access FACS leave in accordance with clause 71.2 of the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award.
DCS has advised that it may grant up to five days’ additional FACS leave on a case-by-case basis, and may also look to granting special leave for the extremely effected staff members. Employees are encouraged to speak with their managers in the first instance.
Machinery of Government changes
Business Connect and the Small Business Commission’s transition to DCS occurred on 1 April 2022. At the end of the current settlement period, both agencies will move onto the Service NSW or DCS Flexible Working Agreement respectively.
The PSA has been alerted that there are a number of Revenue NSW staff wjo have had their pay withheld, without notice, in efforts to recoup an overpayment. Although not the appropriate forum to raise this, your union took the opportunity to discuss this serious concern with the Department.
We remind our members that under the conditions set out in the IR Act Ch. 2 pt. 10 – Payment of Remuneration, if an overpayment occurs the money cannot be automatically recouped from wages by the employer. In cases of overpayment an agency should determine, with the employee, a suitable period over which the repayment is to made.
PSA’s 2022 Wages Claim
Your union will always recognise the hard work and dedication that our members bring to the public sector. This again just highlights that you deserve a decent pay rise to stay afloat with the ever-rising cost of living. For that reason, the PSA has launched a campaign to push for a decent pay rise to meet the cost of inflation and challenge the NSW Liberal-National Government’s unfair Public Sector Wages Policy cap of 2.5 per cent. To learn more about the campaign, go to www.psa.asn.au.