As members will be aware, in March this year, the PSA lodged a dispute in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in relation to the operation of the on-call provisions in the Award. As a result of the dispute, the PSA and the SES have met twice in order to develop a way forward. The draft guidelines, which the SES has issued, form part of this. These guidelines are based on the SES’s Award interpretation of the Region Staff Award 2017 and the Crown Employees (Conditions of Employment) Award.
More broadly, however, issues with on-call at the SES are wider than simply Award interpretation. As identified by delegates, a major concern is the practical application of the on-call provisions. In particular, the PSA has raised with the SES issues regarding:
- standard processes and procedures to support tasking from the NSW SES SOC to on- call staff
- the lack of differentiation and explanation around expectations to ‘actively monitor’ risks within the Zone or not
- the absence of any linkage of the on-call (stand by) or AHDO to EMCON
- the lack of guidance on the requirements, level of experience and qualifications for employees who are on-call
- equity issues in rostering of on-call responsibilities for staff across the Zone from all Directorates
- the absence of a claim form and procedure for processing claims for on-call and the introduction of a service standard to ensure timely payment of entitlements.
The PSA is also seeking clarity over specific examples of Award interpretation not set out in the current draft guidance. This includes whether overtime will be paid in various situations such as when flex has been suspended; how a place of work is defined; issues around recall when on leave; and instances where members have reached their contracted hours and are recalled to work.
Members are encouraged to send feedback about the guidelines or any other issues they are having difficulty with in relation to being on-call. It is important that any feedback from members is included in the PSA’s response to the SES on the matter.
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