Community Health

Community Health Workers

The Health Workers Union represents many of the hard working people that work within Victoria’s Community Health Centres (CHCs). The Health Workers Union has been working very hard to make sure that the workers within CHCs are paid decent wages and have reasonable working conditions. 

The Health Workers Union is currently engaged in Enterprise Bargaining in relation to the Victorian Stand-Alone Community Health Centre Enterprise Agreement. We will be visiting Community Health Centres in the coming months and encourage all workers to attend our meetings. We also appeal to CHC HWU members to encourage their peers to join our union so that you can all have a say about what you want changed in relation to your professions, position descriptions & work conditions.

Please bear in mind that, collectively, workers in a union have greater negotiating power than they do individually!

CHCs operate across the state and provide a broad range of services and health promotion activities to local communities, particularly those who have or are at risk of the poorest health and have the greatest economic and social needs.

CHSs receive Community Health Program funding from the Department of Health. There are approximately 100 CHSs in Victoria operating from approximately 350 sites. 

Within a typical CHS, you can find General Practitioners and mental health clinicians (either directly employed by the CHS or possess their own provider number and use Medicare to Bulk Bill patients) and privately funded services, and other health and support services, to make up the majority of the primary health sector in Victoria.

The Victorian Government primarily funds the following services through CHS:

  • Dental services
  • Allied health clinicians (including audiology, dietetics, exercise physiology, physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
  • Counsellors
  • Medical and Nursing services (Enrolled and registered) and
  • Health promotion experts.

Some CHS offer other services and supports which can include:

  • Disability services
  • Aged care services
  • Alcohol and drug programs
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Maternal and child health services
  • Outreach services
  • Problem gambling programs
  • Carer respite
  • Mental health programs
  • Support for self-help

Who can access Community health services?

CHSs offer affordable health care, particularly for people on low incomes. Services are available to all local residents, regardless of income, although fees apply (usually $20-$35 per session). These fees are charged for services according to the client’s ability to pay, and can be negotiated or waived if payment is difficult. Health Care Card holders are charged a heavily discounted fee.


Community Health Services 2018 - Enterprise Agreement Update

Item

In-principle agreement

Specific Requirement

Proposed expiry date

NOT AGREED. EMPLOYER PROPOSES EARLIER DATE BUT THIS WILL LEAD TO SHORTER AGREEMENT

1st February 2022

Anti-discrimination

YES

Parties to ensure principal objectives of section 3(e) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) are achieved and make every endeavour to ensure that when fulfilling obligations with respect to dispute resolution – that the provisions or operation aren’t directly or indirectly discriminatory in their effects.

Multi-cultural awareness

YES

Parties are to commit to a workplace and society free from cultural insensitivity; prevent cultural misunderstandings and foster more harmonious workplaces that are sensitive to the needs of our diverse community, by increasing awareness of Employees in cultural customs and cross-cultural communication.

Consultation

YES

Introduction of a structured consultative process with indicative timeframes.

Consultation and major change is defined.

Discipline

EMPLOYER WISHES TO ROLL OUT ASU CLAUSE IN LINE WITH ASU COMMUNITY HEALTH AGREEMENT. WE WILL CONSIDER ON RECEIPT OF PROPOSED CLAUSE.

Amendments made to the process and structure of disciplinary processes – including the separation of investigation and disciplinary processes.

Definitions inserted for performance, misconduct and serious misconduct.

Provides for a HWU representative at any time during the process

Secure Employment

YES

Inclusion of a clause that provides that an employer will give preference to ongoing employment arrangements over casual and fixed term arrangements wherever possible

Part-time review of hours

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Provides that an employee or employer can apply, in writing, for a review of hours where, over 52 weeks or more, an eligible part time employee regularly and systematically works more than their contracted hours. The request cannot be unreasonable refused.

An employee is not required to wait for 52 weeks following the commencement of the Agreement to make an application.

The hours worked must be vacant hours and not replacing an absent employee (ie. Short term or long term leave replacement) or a flexible working arrangement.

The employee or employer must respond in writing within 21 days and if refused, be accompanied by the reasons for refusal.

Where a change in hours occurs as a result of this process – a Letter of Appointment will be provided to the employee setting out the revised employment arrangements.

Casual Conversion

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Provides that an employee or employer can apply, in writing, to convert to permanent employment where, over 26 weeks or more, an eligible casual employee regularly and systematically works more than their contracted hours. The request cannot be unreasonable refused.

An employee is not required to wait for 26 weeks following the commencement of the Agreement to make an application.

The hours worked must be vacant hours and not replacing an absent employee (ie. Short term or long term leave replacement) or a flexible working arrangement.

Where an employee converts from casual to permanent employment – their minimum hours will be those worked on a regular and systematic basis.

The employee or employer must respond in writing within 21 days and if refused, be accompanied by the reasons for refusal.

Where a change in hours occurs as a result of this process – a Letter of Appointment will be provided to the employee setting out the revised employment arrangements.

Redundancy and Associated Entitlements

YES

Employer wants ASU model term. But, have agreed to retain State Government IR policy entitlements (as opposed to ASU NES entitlements)

Transition to retirement

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Introduction of a process that facilitates an agreed transition to retirement where an employee intends on retiring within five years.

The employee or the employer can propose a transition to retirement in accordance with the clause.

Where the employer proposes a transition to retirement – the employer will provide details of the proposal – including any relevant information.

An employer should encourage the employee to obtain advice – and allow them reasonable time to do so.

Salary Increases

NOT AGREED

The rates of pay will be adjusted by:

  • On first full pay period commencing on or after (FFPPOA) the date of a valid vote – 5% 
  • FFPPOA 1 July 2018 – 3% 

  • FFPPOA 1 July 2019 – 3% 

  • FFPPOA 1 July 2020 – 3%
  • FFPPOA 1 July 2021 – 3% 


FURTHER INCREASES PROPOSED FOR DENTAL AND CLERICAL

Once off lump sum payments

NOT AGREED. SIGN ON BONUS MAY INCREASE IF FURTHER DELAYS.

Full time and part-time Employees who are employed upon commencement of this

Agreement will be entitled to a lump sum payment of (est) $1947.00 pro-rata for part-time Employees). The amount will be payable in the FFPPOA commencement of the Agreement.

Payment of wages

AGREED

Introduction of flexibility with previous “late payment upon termination” clause to facilitate salary packaging arrangements/payments

Superannuation

AGREED

Superannuation contributions made on paid parental leave for the primary carer – including special maternity leave.

Accident Pay

AGREED

Amendments/updates to wording. No changes to benefits.

Trainees

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Insertion of wording from ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ which was attached to the previous EBA.

Provides that the HWU must be consulted on intake numbers/placement and training of trainees.

The inclusion of trainees in the workplace shouldn’t displace existing temporary or casual employees or where the arrangement may adversely affect redeployees.

Junior, Trainee and Apprentice Wage

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Amalgamation of percentage payments and the insertion of adult apprenticeship wages.

Allowance Adjustments

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Unless otherwise specified – monetary based allowances will increase by:

  • On FFPPOA the date of a valid vote – 5% 

  • FFPPOA 1 July 2018 – 3% 

  • FFPPOA 1 July 2019 – 3% 
With further increases in line with our     claimed general increase in the years 2020 and 2021: 

  • FFPPOA 1 July 2020 – 3% 

  • FFPPOA 1 July 2021 – 3% 


Pre-adoption leave

AGREED

Introduction of a new clause that provides unpaid leave for the purposes of attending any compulsory interviews or examinations as necessary as part of the adoption process.

The employee and employer should agree on the length of unpaid leave – however where the parties cannot agree, the employee will be entitled to two (2) days unpaid leave.

An employer may require an employee to take a form of accrued paid leave instead of unpaid leave.

Parental Leave

NOT AGREED TO CASUAL

Introduction of a revised clause that provides paid parental leave to casuals who work regular and systematic hours over a twelve (12) month period.

Amendments to clause to remove gender-specific terminology from access to parental leave for the primary carer.

Additionally, modernisation of ‘transfer to safe job’ entitlements, including ‘paid no safe job leave’ and introduction of ‘keeping in touch days’ in accordance with the NES.

Breastfeeding

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Introduction of a paid break so an employee can express breast milk or breastfeed their child within the workplace. The employer is required to provide a place in the workplace where the employee can express or feed – in addition to appropriate storage.

The employee can access this entitlement for one year after the birth of their child.

Long Service Leave

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Introduction of a clause that provides for the ability for employees to take long service leave in blocks of one (1) week with the exception of a scenario that involves a Transition to Retirement arrangement.

Public Holidays

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Provides the ability for an employee to, with the prior agreement of the employer, substitute a public holiday provided within the relevant clause for a religious public holiday not prescribed within the EBA. Claim also to remove weekend substitution arrangements

Family Violence Leave

AGREED

Introduces twenty (20) days paid leave (pro-rata for part-time) for an employee (excluding casuals) experiencing family violence for counselling appointments, medical appointments, legal proceedings or;

appointments with a legal practitioner, and other activities related to, and as a consequent of, family violence.

An Employee who supports a person experiencing family violence may

utilise their personal leave entitlement to accompany them to court, to hospital, or to care for children.

A casual employee may access unpaid leave for the purpose of this clause.

An employer is required to ensure that guidelines are developed which provides a designated contact for employees within the workplace.

Union matters

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Expansion and clarification of entitlements from the previous EBA; provides that/the:

  1. HWU office holders and HWU representatives (including HWU Branch Committee of Management and National Council Delegates) can access time off without loss of pay
  2. Unpaid leave provided to undertake a secondment with HWU
  3. Potential for electronic noticeboard
  4. Requirement for the establishment of an Agreement Implementation Committee
  5. HWU electronic communication will not be hindered such as websites being blocked
  6. HWU may address employees as part of induction,
  7. Where the employer has online induction – the HWU and employer may agree to an alternative arrangement so HWU can access new employees.
  8. The clause allows for the employer to make payroll deductions for HWU fees
  9. Maintenance of paid Union meetings

Payroll deduction of Union dues

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

Provides that an employee can request, in writing, that their employer deducts HWU membership dues from their after tax wage.

The employee must indicate their category of HWU membership to determine the applicable amount of dues to be deducted.

An employee can change their nominated category of membership for the purpose of deductions once a year.

The money collected by employers in accordance with this clause will be forwarded to the HWU monthly together with all necessary information to enable the reconciliation of crediting of subscriptions to members' accounts.

The HWU will inform the Employer and Employees who are members of the HWU of changes to the HWU membership dues when there is a change made in accordance with its rules.

Access to Computers

EMPLOYER CONSIDERING

An Employer will provide reasonable access to computer and printing facilities for Employees for work-related use, where those Employees are not ordinarily employed in classifications that use computers.

Nothing in this clause limits an Employer’s right to implement policies on the appropriate use of information technology in the workplace.

Classifications

AGREED

Introduction of a requirement for employers to notify employees in writing of alterations to their classification.

Transition of Clerical Workers (WC) to Management/Admin structure (HS)

NOT AGREED. EMPLOYER RESISTING.

Employees classified within the Clerical Worker structure to translated to Managers & Admin structure in accordance with the following:

  1. Clerical Worker Grade C to translate to Management and Admin Worker Grade 1A
  2. Clerical Worker Grade B to translate to Management and Admin Worker Grade 1
  3. Clerical Worker Grade A to translate to Management and Admin Worker Grade 2

Over the life of the Agreement all classifications to be reviewed.

AGREED

Remove classifications that do not exist in Community Health. Amend existing classifications to reflect actual work performed (currently hospital related)

Supported Wage System

AGREED

Introduction of revised wording and removal of HWU in assessment – however the requirement to report to HWU when an employee is engaged in accordance with this clause remains.

Savings clause

AGREED

Ensures that no employee would be worse off under this Agreement

Use of gender neutral terms

AGREED

Caters for same sex relationships.

Introduction of a clause relating to Aboriginal workers participation

AGREED

HWU seeking improvements in Aboriginal workforce participation.

Annual Leave Close Down

AGREED SUBJECT TO REMUNERATION.

Employer wishes to force Employees to take Annual Leave during closedown periods.