Environment Protection Authority bulletin - Public Service Association

Environment Protection Authority bulletin

In regard to mandatory vaccinations and return to work arrangements, the PSA has asked the agency to apply a more reasonable and fair timeframe, 31 January at least, for vaccinations to be administered (for those who wish to return to work) and for staff to return to their workplaces in accordance with the Flexible Working Policy.

The PSA also notes that under the current requirements, if you intend returning to the office, you must be fully vaccinated and your manager or director only needs to view your immunisation certificate. If you have only received your first vaccination shot, you do not need to wait 10 days to return to the office, as advised by some managers.

Christmas closedown

The Christmas Closedown period for the 2021-22 Christmas and New Year period will be Monday, 27 December 2021 – Friday, 7 January 2022 inclusive.

Can I work during the closedown period?

While the NSW Government encourages all non-‘frontline’ areas to shut down over the Christmas and New Year period, you are not required to put up a justification or a ‘business case’ to explain why you do not want to take leave.

Staff who intend to work should contact their relevant manager with their proposed dates.

Some agencies will be required to maintain full or reduced services. This means at least some staff may have to work through this period.

Unless you can be directed to take leave (see below), it’s your choice whether you work or not.

If your office is going to be shut, a reasonable alternative work arrangement must be made available for you. If practicable, this could include working from home for some or all of that time. You may have to work at a different location, but you cannot be expected to travel unreasonable distances and you may be entitled to be reimbursed for the additional cost of your travel.

Can I be directed to take Recreation Leave due to the closedown?

You can be told to take Recreation Leave only if you have an ‘excess’ balance as defined by clause 77.2 of the Crown Employees (Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009.

This is usually defined as more than six weeks’ accumulated leave, in which case you can be directed to reduce your balance over a period of three months by mutual agreement; or over eight weeks’ leave, in which case you can be directed to take leave.

The PSA encourages members to regularly take Recreation Leave for their own health and welfare. Christmas and the New Year are a great time to do so.

Can I be directed to take extended (long service) leave or leave without pay?

You cannot be directed to take extended leave, long service leave, or leave without pay under any circumstances.

Christmas Concessional leave

If you work on the morning of Christmas Eve (Friday 24 December), you are entitled to concessional leave for the afternoon after you have worked a standard half day.

If you are required to work the afternoon as well, you can take your concessional leave on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve (Friday 31 December) instead.

Public holidays for Christmas and New Year

The following dates are public holidays in the 2021 Christmas closedown period:

  • 2021 Monday 27 December and Tuesday 28 December 2021
  • 2022 Monday 3 January 2022

Many agencies also have a Public Service Holiday around this time, usually on the day following the Boxing Day public holiday. Please check with your manager for the local arrangement.

Should you have any questions about the Christmas closedown period please contact the PSA’s Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679.

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