The PSA met with management on 4 October to discuss the issue of short term relief in electorate offices.
We raised examples of concerns that included workload issues and work health and safety matters.
We were advised of the following:
- next year’s Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal (PRT) should remove the clause that prevents the backfilling of the third position unless 2 people are on leave
- backfilling when only one staff member is absent has been occurring on an ad-hoc basis so far this financial year but available funding is limited. This has not been advertised by Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) to MPs or staff
- efforts are being made to obtain agreement from Treasury to fund this backfilling between now and the next PRT. An answer is anticipated in the next few days.
Whilst we are hopeful of a positive outcome in this matter both long term and short term, the PSA urges its members to provide management with reports on incidents that occur in offices that involve issues of work health and safety.
This should include near misses and incidents of verbal abuse as well and should continue to be provided regardless of the amount of staffing available. We need to keep management aware of these concerns.