FAQs

General Questions

 
How do I check my pay rate?

The Agreement or Award under which you are employed will list your rate of pay. A copy of the Agreement or the Award must always be available in the work place; you are entitled to ask for a copy from the employer. Your workplace HWU delegate may be able to assist you or call the Union on (03) 9341 3300.

The Fair Work Commission pay rates calculator will tell you what your minimum rate of pay is. This can be found here

In some circumstances you may not be covered by an Award or an Agreement. The national minimum wage is currently $17.70 per hour or $672.70 per 38 hour week (before tax). Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 25 per cent casual loading.

 
 
I feel like I am being bullied at work. What do I do?

Workplace bullying is the repeated unfavourable treatment of a person by another (or others). It includes behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades, or humiliates. Workplace bullying is against Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws. The Union encourages reporting as early as possible.

Your first point of contact should be your workplace OHS representative.

There are a number of avenues you can pursue should you experience workplace bullying, the Fair Work Commission and Work Safe are able to investigate bullying in the workplace and your Union is able to assist you in this process.

As a HWU member you are also entitled to seek assistance from AdviceLine Injury lawyers, who can assist you in lodging a WorkCover claim should the bullying prevent you from attending the workplace whilst the Fair Work Commission or WorkSafe deal with the matter.

If you are being bullied in the workplace it is important that you do not remain silent about it. Seek out a support person such as your workplace delegate or Union organiser and your General Practitioner.

The Fair Work Commission recognises that depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nausea and musculoskeletal complaints and muscle tension are some of the symptoms of workplace bullying.

The Union can also help give you valuable advice and direction as to how to proceed with dealing with workplace bullying. Call (03) 9341 3300.

 
 
How many years do I have to work to qualify for long service?

Until recently, Australia’s Long Service Leave (LSL) provisions typically consisted of thirteen weeks (three months) paid leave after fifteen years of service with the same employer.  Current, LSL provisions enable employees to access up to two months paid leave for every 10 years worked for the same employer and more on a pro-rata basis the longer they stay with that employer.  However, in some states (Australian Capital Territory) and companies, long service leave can be accrued after seven years.

 
 
Do I need to have a medical certificate when I take sick leave?

If you take sick leave it is always best to obtain a medical certificate from your GP. Some Enterprise Agreements will allow you to take a limited amount of days per year on sick leave without obtaining a medical certificate, however if you are on sick leave it is strongly recommended that you obtain a medical certificate. Your Medical Certificate does not need to list the type of illness you’re suffering from.  A statement such as “Suffering from Medical Condition” will suffice.

 
 
My manager has changed my roster to shifts that I cannot work. What do I do?

Your personal circumstances must be taken into account when determining your roster. If you receive a roster that does not meet your personal circumstances contact your workplace delegate or immediate supervisor as soon as practicable.

Should you be unable to reach agreement with your employer, there may be an opportunity to have the matter dealt with by the Fair Work Commission.

 
 
My employer has reduced my hours without notice. Can they do that?

No. Notice must be provided and your minimum contracted hours must be met.

 
 
I want to resign. How much notice do I need to give?

Generally you have to give four weeks of notice. You may check your workplace agreement here.

Or your work contract will stipulate how much notice you must give your employer upon resigning from your job.

 
 
I work in the public sector. How do I transfer my long service leave to a different workplace?

If you work in the Public Sector your long service leave can be carried over should you be reemployed within the Public Sector again.

Current LSL provisions require an employee to maintain continuous unbroken employment with their employer.  However, an employee is not prevented from taking approved breaks from work, paid or unpaid.  That is, employees are entitled to take paid or unpaid parental leave (maternity, paternity or adoption leave) for up to 52 weeks at a time without breaking the continuous employment requirement.

Furthermore, LSL provisions accommodate an employee’s absence from work due to illness or injury (including a WorkCover absence) and annual leave.Other forms of paid or unpaid leave, such as study leave will also not breach the LSL qualifying conditions.

According to the Victorian Long Service Leave Act 1992, continuous employment will be broken where an employee resigns from employment (for whatever reason), even if the employee is subsequently re-employed.  Continuous employment will be broken where an employee is terminated by their employer and is subsequently re-employed after three months have passed.

 
 
Why is my EBA expired? When will a new one be signed?

If your EBA has expired you are still employed under the same terms and conditions until a new EBA is agreed to. The new HWU is currently working through hundreds of expired or lapsed EBA’s.  We are determined to have them all up to date as soon as possible.

 
 
I have been called into a disciplinary meeting at work. What should I do?

You are entitled to have a support person with you. Always make sure you have your workplace delegate or Union organiser with you.

 
 
Who is my union delegate?

The Union does not publicly list who Union delegates are. You can however ring the Union office on (03) 9341 3300 and this information may be provided. You will need your membership number handy.

 
 
How do I get in contact with my union representative?

The new HWU has employed more Union Organisers to better service our growing membership. Part of the responsibilities of a Union Organiser is to visit and speak to members at their worksite. If you need to speak to your organiser, please call (03) 9341 3300.

 
 
I work at two different facilities. Am I entitled to travel allowance to travel between worksites?

When an Employee is travelling whilst on duty, if the Employer cannot provide the appropriate transport, all reasonably incurred expenses in respect of fares, meals and accommodation will be met by the Employer on production of receipted accounts, or other evidence acceptable to the Employer.

An Employee shall not be entitled to reimbursement for work-related travelling expenses that exceed the mode of transport, meals or the standard of accommodation agreed for the purpose with the Employer.

Where an Employer requires an Employee to use their own motor vehicle in the performance of their duties, such Employee shall be paid the per kilometre vehicle allowances pursuant to Schedule E of the Victorian Public (Health Sector Health Professionals, Health and Allied Services, Managers and Administrative Officers) Enterprise Agreement 2011-2016

Furthermore, when an employee has to travel to a location that is distant from their nominated place of work, and such a travel is more than 30 minutes in excess of the normal travel from home to their nominated place of duty, or more than 30 minutes in excess of their normal travel from their nominated place of duty home, they’re entitle to compensation for the excess travel by:

  • Payment of overtime; or
  • Time off in lieu of overtime payment

Other Enterprise Agreements may not be consistent with the abovementioned EA.  Please take the time to check what your Enterprise Agreement, Individual Work Contract and Position Description state about the aforementioned FAQ.

 
 
My family member is ill. What carers leave am I entitled to?

In this case the employee might be entitled to one of the following:

  • Personal carers leave.
  • Compassionate leave.

Personal carers leave

This is taken when an employee is absent from their duty because of:

  1. Personal injury or illness.
  2. Personal illness or injury to an immediate member of the family or household.
  3. An unexpected emergency affecting immediate family or household member.
  4. Requirement to provide an ongoing care to another person who is entirely dependent on the employee provided that the care is not wholly or substantially on a commercial basis.

Employees classified under part 1, 2 and 3 (Management and Administrative Officers, Women’s Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital Management and administrative officers and Allied Health Services) of the Victorian Public (Health Sector Health Professionals, Health and Allied Services, Managers and Administrative Officers Enterprise Agreement 2011-2016) accrue leave as follows:

  • one day will be available for each month of service in the first year of service;
  • 14 days will be available per annum in the second, third and fourth year of service;
  • 21 days will be available per annum in each subsequent year of service.
  • In addition to this employees classified under part 3 of the agreement may have an additional 5 days to their personal carers leave if and when they’ve not taken the single day absences as sick leave.
  • Employees classified under part 4(Dental Health Services) may accrue 12 days of personal carers leave.
  • The employees in the classes shown above can actually transfer a maximum of 260 days from one public employer covered by this agreement to another public employer covered by the same agreement.
  • With the personal carers leave, an employee might be required to produce evidence supporting the claim depending on how many days taken and also the classification within which the employee falls under.

If the personal leave is taken during a period where a public holiday falls then the employee will not get paid for that public holiday. Also, the personal leave is unpaid if the employee has exhausted all his/her accrued leave.

Compassionate Leave

Employees are entitled to two days leave on each occasion when a member of the Employee’s immediate family or a member of the Employee’s household:

  • Contracts or develops a personal illness that poses a serious threat to his or her life.
  • Sustains a personal injury that poses a serious threat to his/her life.
  • Dies.

Any unused portion of leave will not accrue from year to year and will not be paid out on termination. Such leave does not have to be taken consecutively and may be taken unpaid by agreement with the Employer.

The Employer will require the Employee to provide satisfactory evidence to support the taking of compassionate leave.

 
 
What breaks am I entitled to?

An Employee shall not be required to work more than 5 hours continuously without a meal interval of not less than 30 minutes and not more than 60 minutes.

In the case of Employees classified under Dental Services (Part 4) of Schedule G, the usual meal break shall be 45 minutes after 5 hours of continuous work. The meal breaks shall not be regarded as time worked.

Employees classified under Part 3 & Part 4 of Schedule G who are not relieved from night duty (and on-call) during the rostered meal break shall be granted a meal break of not less than 20 minutes, to be commenced after completing 3 hours and not more than 5 hours of duty. Such meal break will be counted as time worked.

 
 
I am required to wear a uniform. Am I responsible for purchasing it?

Where an Employee is required to wear a uniform or any special clothing, the Employer will supply such uniform at no cost to the Employee and will replace it where necessary on a fair ‘wear and tear’ basis.

Employees classified under Part 3 of Schedule G shall be paid a uniform allowance in accordance with Schedule E for purchasing uniform and special clothing, where they are not provided by the Employer. The uniform allowance is payable for all absences on paid leave, other than absences on long service leave and sick leave beyond 21 days. Where, prior to the taking of leave, an Employee was paid a uniform allowance other than at the weekly rate, the rate payable is the average of the allowance paid during the four weeks immediately preceding the taking of leave.

Where Employees classified under Part 3 and Part 4 of Schedule G is responsible for laundering uniforms and special clothing, the Employer shall pay the laundry allowances set out in the rates table in Schedule E. The Employee will be paid a laundry allowance per day or part thereof on duty, or an allowance per week, whichever is the lesser amount. The laundry allowance is not payable for absences of any kind.

The Employer shall provide such gloves, masks, protective clothing and safety appliances as are required for an Employee to properly and safely perform their job function. Where the Employee is required to purchase such clothing and equipment, they shall be reimbursed in full by the Employer. The uniforms and protective clothing provided by the employer are the property of the employer.

 
 
I want to retire. What am I entitled to? How much notice do I need to give my workplace?

Notice of termination required by an employee is:

  • 1 month notice for Management and Administrative Officers.
  • 2 weeks’ notice for the Health and Allied Services employees.
  • 4 weeks’ notice for the Dental assistants, but this period of notice might be reduced by mutual agreement.

Failure to give notice will result to the employer withholding the monies entitled to the resigning employee. For instance the payment of any accrued leave or long service leave.

 
 
How many hours must I have between shifts?

An employee is entitled to a 10 hour break between each consecutive shift, if not taken the employee is entitled to be paid at double time until such a break is taken.

 
 
I’m going on maternity leave. How long must my workplace hold my job for me?

When going on maternity leave, an employee is entitled to 10 weeks paid leave or 42 weeks unpaid leave with a total of 52 weeks combined leave according to the agreement.

 
 
What type of shift allowance am I entitled to?

The following are the answers to the enquiries in reference to the Victorian Public (Health Sector Health Professionals, Health and Allied Services, Managers and Administrative Officers) Enterprise Agreement (EA 2011-2015)

There are several types of shift allowances:

Morning and Afternoon Shift Allowances

An Employee classified under Part 1 of schedule G (Management and Administrative Officers), whose rostered hours of duty finish between 6:00pm and 8:00am, or start between 6:00pm and 6:30am are entitled to 2% of their relevant base rate per rostered period of duty.

  • For example, if I am an Office Clerk paid at Grade 1Level of Classification i.e. $942.00 ($24.79 an hour) as on or after 1 October, 2013, then, my allowance for the start or finish at the above time will be an entitlement of: 942.00*0.02= $18.84

An Employee classified under Part 2 of Schedule G, (Women’s Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital Management and administrative officers),whose rostered hours of duty finish between 8:00pm and 8:00am shall be paid an amount equal to 2.0% of the relevant base rate per rostered period of duty.

  • For example, if I am an Office Clerk at one of the above Hospitals paid at Grade 1 level of classification i.e.  $992.70 ($26.12 an hour) as on, or after 1 October, 2013, then, my allowance for the start or finish at the above times will be an entitlement of: 992.70*0.02=$19.85

An Employee classified under Part 3 or Part 4 of Schedule G, (who are the Health and Allied Services Employees and the Dental Assistants respectively), whose rostered hours of ordinary duty finish between 6.00pm and 8.00am, or commence between 6.00pm and 6.30am, shall be paid an amount equal to 2.5% of the relevant base rate per rostered period of duty.

  • For example, if I am an Employee at either of the above classifications. For instance, a Food and Domestic Assistant at skill level 1 which is 747.50 ($19.67 an hour) as of or on 1 October, 2013 then, my allowance for the start or finish at the above times will be an entitlement of: 747.50*0.025=$18.69
  • For a dental assistant, for example, at Level 3 of his or her classification, the shift allowance as on or after 1 October, 2013 this is $772.00 ($20.32 an hour) is: 772.00*0.025=$19.  

Night Shift Allowance

Provided that, an Employee working on any rostered hours of ordinary duty finishing on the day after commencing duty or commencing after midnight and before 5.00am shall be paid for any such periods of duty an amount equal to 4% of the relevant base rate.

  • For example, in the case of an employee whose base rate is $793.10 starts a shift at 10:00pm and finishes the shift at 6:00am or starts the shift between midnight and 5:00am. The night shift allowance for that shift will be: 793.10*0.04=$31.724

Permanent Night Shift Allowance.

Provided further, that in the case of an Employee permanently working on any rostered hours of ordinary duty finishing on the day after commencing duty or commencing after midnight and before 5.00am shall be paid for any such period of duty an amount equal to 5% of the relevant base rate. Permanently working shall mean working for any period in excess of four consecutive weeks.

  • In other words, this Clause is directed to the employees who permanently work the Night Shift. Just like the example shown prior, the employee on the same base rate but who permanently works on Night shift will get 5% allowance for those shifts: 793.10*0.05=$39.655

Change of Shift Allowance

Management, Administrative Officers and Dental Assistants.

An employee of the above classification, who changes from working on one shift to working on another shift, the time of start of the changed shift which differs by four hours or more than from that of the originally rostered shift, shall be paid a change of shift allowance equal to 4% of the relevant base rate on the occasion of each such change in addition to any amount payable. Though the same this is not payable when:

  • The employer agrees to a request in writing from one or more employees for changes in shifts.
  • The employee has different contracted positions with the same Employer. Even though moving between those positions will invoke a change of shift.

Health and Allied Services Employees

A change of shift equal to that of 4% of the base rate for a Patient services Assistant Level 2 is payable to Employees classified under part 4 of Schedule G. The Change of Shift is payable whenever an employee changes from working on one shift to working on another the time of start which differs by for hours or ore. But it is not payable where:

  • An employee chooses and works additional shifts from a supplementary roster.
  • There is an absence of four or more weeks of continuous approved leave intervenes between relevant shifts.
  • One or more employees swap shifts between themselves on an ad hoc basis, and the swaps are approved by the employer in writing.
  • The employee has different contracted positions with the same Employer. Even though moving between those positions will invoke a change of shift.

Where a department has established a self-rostering system, and an Employee chooses his or her own shifts from a genuine choice of shifts, the Employee will receive a fixed payment of two changes of shift allowances per pay period (fortnight). Change of shift does not apply where an Employee chooses his or her own shifts from a genuine choice of shifts.

An Employee employed in the public sector as of 11 June, 2002, who receives change of shift allowances per pay period (fortnight) on the basis of an historical agreement that exceeds the entitlement arising from these provisions, such Employee shall be maintained at that entitlement for the duration of this agreement.

Where an Employer and the majority of Employees in a department genuinely desire an alternative system to the above, the Employer is to contact the HSU and any agreement reached shall be determined in accordance with the facilitative provisions of Section 3 of the (EBA).