You will have recently received a communication from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as to the entitlements when traveling overnight (clause 26 of the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award (“the Award”))) and entitlements when traveling on a one-day journey (cl 29 of the Award), which outlines the Department’s policy for employees who regularly travel and the use of the PCard.
This communication is part of an agreed outcome from the long-running dispute between the PSA and the Department which arose from the introduction of the PCard in late 2017.
In brief, the PSA filed a dispute in the IRC in 2020 and reached an agreement which has been signed off between the parties in May 2022.
In addition to the CFO’s communication the PSA brings to your attention the following:
The agreement was made on a without admission basis. This means the PSA has not relinquished its position with respect to the interpretation, or application of clauses 26 or 29 of the Award.
However, after extensive surveying of our members, we did not consider that now was the appropriate time to take this matter to arbitration.
One area where the PSA remains in stark disagreement is with regard to whether a “field worker” is entitled to an allowance under cl. 29 of the Award.
Some clear wins for members from this dispute has been the following:
- Acknowledgement that the allowance not actuals are payable on one day journeys (clause 29),
- Acknowledgement that where staff incur expenses personally (e.g. because a PCard has not been issued or a PCard was not accepted by a vendor) then the allowances are payable in respect to overnight travel (clause 26)
- DCS to consult with PSA to better define ‘incidental’ expenses to provide greater clarity to staff and management,
- Staff will have the ability to purchase bulk meals and incidentals to cover multiple days of travel (on a trial basis for now),
- DCS to review possible underpayments of both Clause 26 and 29 since the introduction of the PCard.
This now concludes this dispute and despite the amount of time it has taken we hope that it provides greater clarity for members at this time going forward.