PSA News - 1 August 2014 - Public Service Association

PSA News – 1 August 2014

Recreation leave reduction not open license for managers

A recent circular issued by the Treasury directs public sector agencies (including related entities and State Owned Corporations) to make all “reasonable attempts” to reduce the recreation leave balances of employees to 30 days or fewer by 30 June 2015.

This is not, however, an open invitation for managers to direct staff to take leave whenever they see fit.

Awards and agreements negotiated by the PSA set out the circumstances in which employees can be directed to take leave.

For members covered by the Crown Employees (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009, such a direction can only be given when the balance exceeds 30 days.

In this case, the leave should be taken within three months of the employee receiving written notification, or within six weeks if the balance exceeds 40 days.

The Award states that whenever possible, the staff member’s wishes should be accommodated as to when leave is taken.

The PSA can assist members in making sure this intention is respected when measures are put into practice by agencies and employers.

In a climate of ongoing job cuts, a major reason for high leave accrual across the sector is of course that large workloads prevent staff from taking time off.

The general sense of insecurity that hovers over the public sector can also make absences more stressful than restful.

If you feel that you are being treated unfairly because of your agency’s approach to reducing leave balances or approving leave, or if you have any questions regarding your entitlements, please speak with your union delegate or contact the PSA Member Support Centre (1300 772 679).

It’s worth noting that the Crown Employees Award and other awards and agreements negotiated by the PSA allow members to purchase additional annual leave by reducing their salary by a proportionate amount.

These arrangements may assist members looking to plan for longer periods of leave.

Worse than WorkChoices in Tasmania

Tasmanian Premier Hodgman, Treasurer Gutwein and their cabinet colleagues have shamefully abused their legislative powers to override state service agreements and awards.

The Community & Public Sector Union (SPSF Group) Tasmania Branch were not briefed in any meaningful way by Government, but understands that Cabinet:

  • will reduce all headline salary increases to 0% for a period of 12 months from the enactment of legislation. These increases were to be 2% for most employees or $1,000 for those on the lowest classifications
  • has further determined it will freeze any incremental progression and performance-based increments

In addition, the Government:

  • will stop workers from meaningfully bargaining for wages after the one year pay and increment freeze. This appears to apply in perpetuity.
  • will introduce two separate Bills to achieve its objectives. One creates a new statute to over-ride the current negotiated and agreed salary increases & increments and the other amends the Industrial Relations Act 1984 to render bargaining on wages meaningless.
  • aims to have the Bills through both houses of Parliament by October.

Workers first heard of this decision about their future from the media.

The Tasmanian Industrial Commission will be limited to only making wage decisions that conform to Government policy.

Sound familiar?

There is no guarantee or commitment from Government that these vicious measures will save even one job.

What’s clear is these measures will make savings independent of the job losses the government has already flagged.

So, in essence, they will attack agreed wages and conditions AND further compromise already stretched services to the community by targeting 1,500 FTE positions.

The Community & Public Sector Union (SPSF Group) Tasmania Branch are exploring all legal options to challenge the legislation and will lobby the Legislative Council to vote down the Bills.

The union is holding a rally on Budget Day, 28 August.

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Hands off public health

Truth behind the GP Fee & user-pays model

The Save Medicare Committee are hosting a public forum to discuss the fight for universal public health.

Speakers are:

Coral Levett, President of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association

Ben Spies-Butcher (Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Macquarie University)

Jason Williams (Construction worker from the US on the American health system)

The forum will be held:

Wednesday 6 August
6.00 for 6.30pm
Trades Hall Auditorium
4 Goulburn Street, Sydney

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