Ministry of Health and PSA Joint Consultative Committee – COVID-19, Return to 1RR and a semblance of normalcy
On 13 October, your PSA delegates and staff attended the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) with Ministry of Health Workplace Relations staff, to raise matters of collective concern to members.
Standing agenda items included WHS, recruitment reports and any planned changes to the workplace along with returning to 1RR and excessive leave balances post Covid-19.
EMS eApprovals proposal
The Ministry advised there has been communications regarding the changes to eApprovals. A Focus Group meeting was held in August and September with further information to follow.
Changes to Contact Tracing
With changes to the Public Health Orders and the ‘Road map’ to reduced restrictions and opening up the State there will be changes within the Contact Tracing team and impacts on staff working in the team.
For those working on a temporary or seconded basis there will be some movement back to substantive roles. This will initially be done as staff want and there should be no push yet for everyone to return to Business As Usual.
With staff returning to 1RR, we were advised that the contact tracing teams may be relocating to Christie Street to free up floorspace in 1RR.
Centre for Alcohol and Other Drugs
The PSA were advised that the proposed restructure and changes to the CAoD has been approved and the process will go ahead. There will be no ‘Stage 2’ as staff are being directly appointed. This will still leave ‘Stage 3’ for staff to apply for alternative roles that they are not directly appointed to or for those seeking a change.
If you are not directly appointed, have questions or concerns around the process, please contact the PSA on 1300 772 679 to allow us to assist you.
Returning to 1 Reserve Road
With the reductions to restrictions as we reach the vaccination targets, all Government agencies are starting to discuss returning to the office.
The Ministry advised the PSA that discussions will commence with teams and managers to work out a plan to suit each team’s specific requirement. There will not be a mandated full return to the office or an expectation that staff should return to 5 days a week in the office. There is an expectation for staff to be in the office at times, depending on the requirements of the role and team.
Excess Leave Balances
Due to lockdown periods and 18 months of not being able to travel interstate or internationally, some staff have accrued excess leave. The Ministry may direct staff to start planning leave if your accrual is more than 30 days. If more than 40 days a direction to take leave may be given.
The PSA recommends all members familiarise themselves with Section 6, clause 77 of the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009 which deals with recreation leave arrangements.
If you have been directed to take leave or to not accrue flex time, and have questions about the Award obligations and process, please contact us for further information and support.
Throughout this time, and in such a dynamic and changing environment, we understand some members are being asked to work extra hours and overtime. While there’s an expectation for staff to work a ’reasonable amount of overtime’, you should not be forfeiting hours or feel forced to work excessive hours.
You have a right to decline overtime for carers or personal responsibilities or if you have already worked, or may forfeit, hours additional to your contract hours. If you find yourself in this situation, the first step is to raise your concerns with your manager as they have an obligation to manage the workload. If you find yourself working excessive hours, please contact a Delegate or the Member Support Centre for further support and advice.
If urgent unexpected work is allocated at late notice and you are asked to complete it out of hours or on weekends, you should confirm with your manager in writing that the appropriate overtime rates will apply prior to undertaking the work.
The union can assist members in this situation with the appropriate way in which to raise overtime, please contact your delegate for further information and support.
Stay in touch with your PSA Delegates
In these strange and confusing times knowing you have your union behind you is more important than ever. PSA delegates are the union’s connection to the workplace and your connection to PSA staff. If you have questions or require support you can contact the Ministry of Health PSA delegates for confidential advice and assistance.
Your Ministry of Health Delegates Are:
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