Ministry of Health – Interim relocations, contractors, work, health and safety and more
The Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) met on 5 December 2018. Key issues discussed were:
Three interim relocations
John Clark, Project Director for the interim locations to Chatswood, St Leonards and North Sydney gave a detailed presentation. We were advised the move from 73 Miller Street will be staged from April to June 2019 with around 180-200 people moving at a time.
In relation to matters raised by members the Ministry advised:
- there will be sufficient numbers of accessible toilets;
- there will be a first aid room at Chatswood and St Leonards;
- Citrix protects government files and safeguards security of information when working agilely;
- Introduction of soft phones will be completed by February 2019;
- PSA noticeboards will be available at all three locations.
The Ministry agreed it would be useful to provide further guidance to staff about agile working, working from home and potential liability if laptops are lost, stolen or damaged outside of the workplace or when working from home. The Ministry was very clear that staff working from home must work to the Award and the flexible working hours agreement, including bandwidth and core hours.
The Ministry gave a commitment that there would be no further restructures while the interim relocations were taking place.
Contractors and recruitment
One hundred and six contractors are currently engaged by the Ministry. There were 37 ongoing appointments since the previous JCC. Refer HERE for contractor numbers by Division and further recruitment information.
Work, Health and Safety
The PSA remains deeply concerned about the psychological impact on staff of the interim relocations and the massive change in the work environment. We will continue to pursue work, health and safety matters in the new year. We are concerned that while the Ministry has a WHS committee there are no elected Health and Safety Representatives who have legislated responsibilities.
The Ministry has not yet developed its response to the NSW Government Work Health and Safety Sector Plan. This will be a priority for 2019 as the Secretary committed to its implementation.
Following the previous JCC, the Ministry amended its Flexible Working document which now highlights the Crown Employee (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award 2009 on page 1. The Ministry committed to providing all relevant documentation relating to flexible working to the PSA.
Transition to retirement
The Ministry does not agree that a policy is required. The PSA argued this is an important matter in view of the changes occurring in the workforce and requires a formal policy response. We will come back with proposals to discuss at the next JCC
Information in “Welcome Booklet”
The Ministry acknowledged that the point “Recreation leave accrues at the rate of 20 days per year (maximum accrual up 30 days)” was incorrect and will amend for future induction sessions.
The Ministry advised that staff are not being directed to take leave rather they are being advised of the closedown and resulting operational arrangements. The Ministry acknowledged staff can only be directed to take leave in accordance with the Award – Clause 77.2 Limits on Accumulation and Direction to Take Leave.