HWU MEMBERS NEWS BULLETIN 10 DECEMBER 2021

HWU MEMBERS NEWS BULLETIN 10 DECEMBER 2021

UPCOMING PUBLIC HOLIDAY RATES

The HWU Member Assist Call Centre has received hundreds of calls enquiring about public holiday rates on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

These public holidays have now been officially gazetted by the Victorian Government.  The gazetted public holidays will fall on Monday 27 December and Tuesday 28 December for Chistmas Day and Boxing Day. New Year’s day is also a public holiday. As it falls on the Saturday, Monday 3 January 2022, will be observed as a public holiday.

If you work on these 3 days (27 & 28 December and 3 January) you should be paid public holiday rates. What this rate is will depend on your workplace Agreement.

If you work on Saturday 25 December (Christmas Day), Sunday 26 December (Boxing Day) or Saturday 1 January (New Years Day) you may not necessarily be paid penalty rates for working on these particular dates. It will depend on what is in your workplace Agreement. Workplace Agreements do vary. If you are unsure about what your workplace Agreement says about this matter, please contact the HWU to receive the correct advice.

Please check your pay slips carefully after the holiday period to ensure you have been paid correctly.

If you have not been paid correctly, contact the HWU on (03) 9341 3300.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR AGREEMENT CLOSE TO FINALISATION

The HWU thanks all public sector members for their patience with respect to their next workplace Agreement. It’s been a long wait.

The Victorian Government outsourced the final drafting of the new Agreement to a legal firm, which has meant the process for approving the Agreement has taken longer than expected. This is the main reason for the long wait.

Please note that the Agreement has an effective start date of 1 July, 2021. This means that once the Agreement is approved, allowances and payments will be owed to you from 1 July, 2021.

Before the new Agreement (which affects up to 55,000 Victorian public hospital workers) comes into effect, it must first be voted on by all affected employees (including non-union members).

The HWU and the Victorian Hospital Industry Association (your employer’s representative) anticipate that the Agreement will be out to vote in February 2022.  Other public sector health Agreements, which recently went out to the vote, also experienced similar delays with respect to timelines. The wheels of government have moved slowly. We understand the frustration of members waiting to receive their next pay rise. The HWU is confident about this February voting timetable.

In order for your public sector Agreement to be approved by the Fair Work Commission, the majority (over 50%) of affected employees must vote in favour of the new Agreement. Once this occurs, and the Fair Work approve your Agreement, pay and allowance increases, allowance payments, and any money’s owing will be paid to you.

Thank you again for your patience. If you have any questions, call the HWU on (03) 9341 3300.

 

END TO AGED CARE SINGLE SITE ALLOWANCE

The Federal Government’s single site allowance for aged care workers has now ended.

The Chief Medical Officer signed off on the ceasing of single site arrangements in Victoria, with full cessation from 3 December 2021.

The funding arrangement meant that if you were working across multiple aged care workplaces, your primary employer can apply for Federal Government funding to ensure you are paid for lost hours at your second facility.

ALL Victoriana aged care workers are NOW FREE to work across multiple worksites.

The HWU is aware of one private sector residential aged care employer attempting to stop a member from working across multiple sites. This employer has no leg to stand on on this issue. The HWU has lodged a formal grievance against this employer.

The HWU is also aware of some employers who have previously refused (or been slack) to make an application to the Federal Government for funding. We have assisted many affected members to rectity this. Even though the allowance has now closed, employers can still make applications on your behalf and receive funding from the Federal Government for hours worked prior to 3 December 2021.

If you are owed outstanding moneys from the single site arrangement, please contact the HWU on (03) 9341 3300.

 

FIXING THE UNFAIR HOSPITAL SURGE ALLOWANCE

In our last update, the HWU asked all public sector members who believed they were entitled to receive the Victorian Government Hospital Surge Allowance (but not receiving it) to email the union.

Hundreds of members, from public hospitals all over Victoria, have contacted the union. Thank you to all these members who took the time to do so. This Victorian Government’s botched administration of the allowance was also voiced by members during recent regional members meetings attended by HWU leaders. This allowance must be fixed.

The HWU had initially lobbied the Victorian Government for a once-off lump sum payment for Victoria’s non-clinical public hospital workers. Such a payment would have recognized EVERY non-clinical worker and would have been simpler to administer. Instead, the Victorian Government chose, without consultation, to introduce a tiered and discriminatory ‘’Surge Support Allowance”. Since then, payment of this allowance has been completely botched.

The wording of the Department of Health guidelines with respect to eligibility for this allowance is very clear. Unfortunately, some health providers have chosen to mis-interpret these clear guidelines and have made excuses as to why some workers should not receive the allowance. (See attached Department of Health Fact Sheet below at bottom of page).

It is disgraceful that many employers are being difficult about the clear Department of Health guidelines. The funds for this allowance are paid to the health provider by the Victorian Government after payments are made to workers. Some health providers are being miserly for no apparent reason.

The HWU have now provided to the Victorian Government a list of these mean-spirited and difficult employers who are mis-interpreting the payment guidelines. It is the government’s duty to ensure that the Department of Health fix this matter with these relevant health providers.

The HWU will give employers an opportunity to rectify their mistake after liaising with the Department of Health. The Victorian Government promised that eligible health workers would receive this Surge Allowance. They are obligated to keep that promise.

The HWU will fight for our members to receive their legal entitlements.

 

LISTENING TO REGIONAL HWU MEMBERS

Thank you to all our regional HWU members who came to workplace member meetings with our leaders, HWU Secretary Diana Asmar and HWU Assistant Secretary David Eden, over the last month.

We heard from members from Swan Hill, Kerang, Echuca, Cobram, Yarrawonga, Albury, Wodonga, Bright, Myrtleford, Beechworth, Wangaratta, Benalla, Shepparton, Mildura, Kaniva, Edenhope, Natimuk, Nhill, Warracknabeal, Hopetoun, Red Cliffs, Kooweerup, Wonthaggi, Leongatha, Korumbarra, Foster, Yarram, Bairnsdale, Orbost, Maffra, Sale, Traralgon and Warragul.

There’s still many more regional leaders meetings scheduled in the New Year across Victoria - such as Hamilton, Casterton, Warrnambool, Coleraine, Colac, and the Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo regions.

Some of the issues members raised with HWU leaders during these meetings included the unfair hospital surge allowance; their next workplace agreements; the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations; OH&S issues relating to understaffing and fatigue; and potential job losses due to the Victorian Government’s proposed regional hospital mergers.

After a lengthy COVID lockdown (with strict onsite visitor requirements now being lifted), our HWU leaders are determined to visit as many health workplace across Victoria in 2022 as possible. Listening to members is one of the most important part of their job.

 

HWU MEMBER ASSIST CALL CENTRE OPEN DURING HOLIDAY PERIOD

The HWU Member Assist Call Centre receives over 250 calls from members every day.

Whilst the HWU office will be closed from Monday 20 December to Friday 7 January, the Member Assist Call Centre will remain open during this period (excluding public holidays).

If your matter is urgent or you require immediate representation over this period, you can also email info@hwu.org.au.

 

Factsheet - Hospital Surge Allowance for Non-clinical Public Staff