At our recent PSA members’ meeting to discuss the Department’s offer to create an Award, the following questions were put to the PSA for clarification on the Department’s position:
Are employees’ hours of work calculated from arrival at their first ‘job’, be that picking up the MP, staff, and other duties? Hours of work begin from arrival at your first job – be that picking up the Minister, a staffer, or related duties. While a staffer (advisor, EA etc) may assign jobs on behalf of the Minister, they must notify the Department of Premier and Cabinet and follow proper process to ensure jobs are assigned in a manner that complies with Workplace Health and Safety policies.
Are employees covered by insurance when driving to their first job? Yes, for related work duties, to and from first and last job. Use of cars for personal purposes will not be covered.
Are drivers covered by workers’ compensation when driving to their first job?
- The employer believes you are covered by workers’ compensation when driving to your first job. The employer’s view is not determinative of the entitlement to compensation.
- The correct question is whether the injury is compensable under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) (WC Act) and Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW).
- Section 10 of the WC Act provides that, subject to various exceptions, that an injury is compensable if there is a real and substantial connection between the employment and the accident resulting in the injury.
- Some of the exceptions include where the injury is attributable to employee misconduct, the employee is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or the injury is caused by a medical condition.
- Specialist personal injury advice will need to be obtained on a case-by-case basis in the event of an injury to determine whether it is compensable.
Will the employer still pay Fringe Benefits Tax for the use of the car? Yes., employer will continue to cover this cost.
Will travel time to an employee’s first job be calculated as part of the WHS and Fatigue Management calculations? No. To minimise further driving to and from work, Drivers are currently being assigned Ministers as close as possible to their homes and management will work with Drivers where possible to facilitate this. Drivers wanting to drive a specific Ministers will have to take this into account.
Clarify if the employees can claim a breakfast allowance from and before 6:00am. The Department’s new position is as follows:
Overtime meal allowances: Monday to Friday:
- A breakfast meal allowance will be paid to employees who are directed to commence work at or before 6:0am;
- A lunch meal allowance will be paid to employees who are located more than 75km away (as the crow flies) from 52 Martin Place, Sydney, at the time of taking a normal lunch break;
- A dinner meal allowance will be paid to employees who are directed to finish work at or after 7:00pm; and
- A supper meal allowance will be paid to employees who are directed to finish work at or after 11.00pm.
Clarify that where an MP lives more than 75km from 52 Martin Place that the employee start time is turn of key
- The Department’s position is that employees should not be paid for home-to-work journeys, either directly via paid hours or indirectly through claiming allowances. This is consistent with the practice across the public sector and private sector that employees are not paid for journeys between their home and work.
- The Department will recognise the start time as the time of pick up, or final drop off. The Department will not recognise the start of a shift being the time of leaving the driver’s place of residence.
- The exception to the above is where a driver needs to pick up or drop off a Minister or other user outside of the 75km radius from 52 Martin Place. If the pickup location at the beginning of a shift is outside the 75km radius, the driver will commence work at the time of commencing the drive. If the drop off location at the end of a shift is outside the 75km radius, the driver will finish work at the end of the drive home. These start and end times will be reflected in the Booking Services system as the rostered start of the shift, or conversely, the rostered end of shift.
- As the drivers receive an out-of-hours allowance for Monday to Saturday, this will not impact the overall salaries of the drivers. This will only impact the eligibility of the meal allowances and penalty rates for Sundays and Public Holidays. The same practice set out at (1) to (3) above will be applied on Sundays and Public Holidays. That is, the Department will recognise the start time as the time of pick up, and the finish time as the time of drop off, unless the pickup or drop off location is outside of the 75km radius from 52 Martin Place.
The above change to the ‘turn of the key’ practices will change the calculation of hours for Casual Drivers.
Clothing allowance. For the sake of clarity, the cash amount of this allowance has been included in the proposed Award. The payment will be two equal six-monthly instalments of $450 net to be paid each year.
The link to a previous PSA bulletin which outlines PSA’s position is HERE. Following the matter being heard in the Industrial Relations Commission on 26 April, the PSA understands members’ hesitation to reject the current proposal. This would result in arbitration by the Commission given the risks outlined in our members’ meeting last week. Whatever you decide, the PSA will back you all the way.
PSA also takes this opportunity to thank your Delegates Floyd Swindley, Grahame Brown and Glenn Smith for their time and efforts during this process. Please remember to thank your Delegates for their advocacy on your behalf.
You have until Monday 15 May 2023 to cast your vote for or against the Department’s proposal via the below Survey link. You will be asked to provide your name when you vote, this is only to ensure those voting are PSA Members. If you are currently not a PSA member and would like to vote, there is still time to join.
This vote will close at 5.00pm Monday 15 May 2023. The results of the vote will be conveyed to members shortly after.
Yes Accept Department’s offer and proposed Award with change in conditions identified above.
No Reject Department’s offer and proceed to arbitrate the Award in the Industrial Relations Commission.