HWU MEMBERS NEWS BULLETIN AUGUST 2021

HWU MEMBERS NEWS BULLETIN AUGUST 2021

 

93% OF PUBLIC SECTOR MEMBERS WANT HWU TO CONSIDER INDUSTRIAL ACTION

The HWU has had an overwhelming response to a survey to our public sector hospital members about their next workplace Agreement.  The HWU finalised negotiations for your next workplace Agreement back in March. Since then, we’ve been waiting for an official Victorian Government response.
 
It is now up to the Victorian Government to approve the Agreement so that public sector hospital workers can get the full benefits of it. The government is currently the ONLY roadblock to their next pay rise.
 
Our members and the HWU are growing increasingly frustrated with the Victorian Government’s delays. 
 
We asked our public sector members whether the HWU should consider applying for a Protected Industrial Action Ballot. This question received overwhelming support, with 93.3% of our members in agreeance. We have written to Premier Andrews informing him of our members’ views. 
 
The Fair Work Act requires that industrial action occur only when there is an expired enterprise agreement and both parties are negotiating in good faith.  Those requirements are met.

Protected action can include many different forms, such as:

  • Provide patients, their families and the community with written campaign material during working hours;
  • Speaking to patients, families and the community about your Agreement;
  • Wearing campaign slogans or badges during work hours;
  • Refuse to do additional hours beyond ordinary rostered hours, or 
  • Engage in stop work bans for a period from 2 hours and up to 24 hours (providing the HWU give the employer 7 days’ notice).
We are hopeful that a formal government response is coming soon. In the meantime, we are preparing to proceed to the next phase in our push for a fair pay deal for our members.
 

NDIS DEADLINE FOR WORKER SCREENING TESTS EXTENDED TO 31 JANUARY 2022

The transition period for the NDIS Worker Screening Check in Victoria has been extended. This will allow registered NDIS providers to continue to engage workers with an acceptable check for an additional six months, to 31 January 2022. 
 
Key points:
  • Registered NDIS providers in Victoria can continue to engage a person in a risk assessed role, who has not applied for an NDIS Worker Screening Check, until 31 January 2022 if that person has an acceptable check.
  • To have a valid acceptable check in Victoria, workers must meet the Victorian safety screening requirements which are described below.
  • The transition period in Victoria has been extended to ensure the workforce that provide supports and services to NDIS participants in Victoria remains appropriately staffed during the transition period for NDIS worker screening.
  • Workers can apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check through Service Victoria.
 
Extension of the transition period
 
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (Practice Standards – Worker Screening) Rules 2018 (Worker Screening Rules) have been amended to extend the transition period in Victoria by six months. This extension will allow registered NDIS providers in Victoria to continue to engage a person in a risk assessed role, if that person has not applied for an NDIS Worker Screening Check, until 31 January 2022 if that person has a valid acceptable check.
 
From 1 February 2022, registered NDIS providers in Victoria must ensure that all workers engaged in a risk assessed role (except for those required to have a Working with Children Check) have made an application for an NDIS Worker Screening Check.
 
What is an acceptable check in Victoria?
 
Victoria has a single type of acceptable check based on the Victorian Safety Screening Policy (Word, 490KB). Registered NDIS providers must comply with all relevant requirements in the Victorian Safety Screening Policy. These are  that the worker holds:
  • Police record check; and
  • Disability Worker Exclusion List Check; and
  • VIC Working with children check if one was required under the Working with Children Act 2005 (being the applicable legislation prior to 1 February 2021).
Workers in risk assessed roles must have had an acceptable check prior to 1 February 2021 for a registered NDIS provider to have current safety screening that is in accordance with the Victorian Safety Screening Policy.
 
Workers engaged in a risk assessed role on or after 1 February 2021 by a new employer must apply for an NDIS check under the Worker Screening Act 2020. Under the Worker Screening Act 2020, a person who holds an NDIS clearance and who is engaged in ‘child-related work’ must also hold a WWC clearance.
 
Workers can apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check through Service Victoria. Enquiries about an application, including issues with the application process or the status of an application should be directed to the Victorian Worker Screening Unit. For more info, call 1800 035 544 or go to www.ndiscommission.gov.au. 
 

LATEST PPE REQUIREMENTS IN AGED CARE

As you are aware, changes to Victoria’s restrictions came into effect from 8:00pm on Thursday 5 August 2021. As part of these changes, the Care Facilities Directions have been updated and the key changes are as follows in relation to PPE for aged care staff:
 
Metropolitan Melbourne:
  • Face shields are required in addition to surgical masks for all COVID Negative residents.
  • Tier 3 PPE required for all residents Low Risk Suspected (plus HR SCOVID and Confirmed COVID).
Rural Victoria:
 
  • Tier 1 PPE to be used for: routine care of residents (COVID negative).  Note: eye protection not required for routine care of COVID negative residents. 
  • Tier 2 PPE to be used for: routine care of low-risk suspected COVID. 
  • Tier 3 PPE to be used for:  
    • Providing care for low-risk suspected COVID residents where:  
    • There is a risk of aerosol generating behaviours 
    • An aerosol generating procedure needs to be performed 
    • All exposure/care/contact with high-risk SCOVIDs and confirmed COVIDs.
This is the latest information that the Department of Health has provided to the HWU (5 August 2021). If you have any questions, or are not sure about your workplaces policies, please speak to your employer in the first instance. If you have any further questions, please call the HWU on (03) 9341 3300. 
 

SIGN PETITION: UNIONS FIGHT FOR 10 DAYS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE

Family and domestic violence is a national crisis. And it mainly affects women. 
 
On average a woman is killed each week by a partner, ex-partner or family member in Australia. 
 
Hundreds of thousands report facing violence at home – figures that have surged during the pandemic, as many women were trapped further into abusive relationships. 
Escaping a violent relationship takes time and money. 
 
It is estimated that moving to find a new, safe place for yourself and your family costs can cost up to $20,000 and take more than 140 hours – but Federal laws currently only provide for five days of unpaid leave.
 
The Federal Government must act to give every worker access to paid family and domestic violence leave.
 
Workplaces have a key role to play in supporting a woman facing family and domestic violence. 
 
Paid family and domestic violence leave can give a woman – and it nearly always is a woman – the time, support and job security she needs to escape and recover from an abusive relationship. 
One in three employers now offer this leave. All State and Territory Governments do as well. But two out of three employees are still missing out. A woman's safety shouldn't depend on her employer. 
 
The Federal Government is yet to support this leave. They must give all workers access to paid family and domestic violence leave. 
 
It takes paid leave to leave. And we won't wait - because women can't wait! 
 
To sign the petition, click on the following link: https://www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/we-won-t-wait-because-women-can-t-wait
 

PATHOLOGY WORKERS PAY RISE FLOWS THROUGH

Our HWU Dorevitch members have started receiving their latest pay increase in their most recent pay. 
 
The HWU and Dorevitch Pathology reached a negotiated Agreement without the need for protected industrial action. This negotiated Agreement had the overwhelming support of our Dorevitch members.
 
The HWU secured a 6.75 pay rise and a sign-on bonus of $600 (pro-data for part-time employees).
 
The pay deal was only reached because of the resolve and collective strengh of hundreds of Dorevitch HWU members. The more members we have at a workplace, the greater our collective strength and our bargaining position. Together, we are always stronger!
 
Thank you once again to our proud, united and strong Dorevitch HWU members. 
 

MEMBERS STICK TOGETHER AND WIN AT ROYAL FREEMASONS

Workers at Royal Freemasons have had a big win at their workplace. Workers were sent a Change Impact Statement saying management were going to remove laundry and uniform allowance. The proposal would have financially disadvantaged workers at the facility. HWU members immediately contacted the union in protest and to help fight for their workplace rights.
 
The HWU lodged a formal grievance that the laundry allowance still stand and that the status quo remain. That is, that Royal Freemasons will continue to pay the uniform allowance and the laundry allowance in accordance with their workplace Agreement.
 
The HWU met twice with Royal Freemasons. In response, management rescetly wrote to the union, confirming that “after much consideration, we have decided to continue providing a uniform and laundry allowance to our staff in line with the EBA...meaning no staff will be financially disadvantaged by this change process.”
 
They have officially retracted their proposal. When workers stand united and join their union, they can win - no matter how small or big the workplace issue may be!
 
Together, we are always stronger.
 

AGED CARE SINGLE SITE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS EXTENED UNTIL AUGUST 27

The Federal Government has just extended its funding for aged care single-site workforce arrangements until 27 August 2021.
 
This funding means if you are 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. This funding is (currently) only available for workers in the following areas:
 
  • Greater Melbourne (all Metropolitan Melbourne local government areas).
  • Moorabool Shire
  • City of Greater Geelong; and
  • Surf Coast Shire
We are continuing to lobby the Federal Government, via our Support Hub Advisory Committee, to ensure all Victorian Regional aged care workers have access to this funding – not just workers Greater Melbourne and these three Local Government Areas.  Afterall, if the entirety of Victoria is currently in lockdown, then all Victorian aged care workers should have access to this funding. That is fair and reasonable.
 
In the meantime, aged care providers are asked to adjust their rosters to ensure staff are only working at one residential aged care facility within this region during this period. Workers are encouraged to speak with their primary employer and look to work all shifts during this period with the residential aged care provider where they were working the most hours prior to the outbreak.
 
To the greatest extent possible, the employer should seek to match any hours no longer being worked with a secondary employer to ensure the worker is not financially disadvantaged. 
 
In the first instance, please have a direct conversation with your primary employer if you are affected by this current single-site arrangement.  If you are eligible for funding and your employer refuses to make and application on your behalf, contact the HWU immediately on (03) 9341 3300.