One of the major pieces of work for the Union arising from Agreements we make with employers is ensuring their compliance with the Agreements.
The new Public Health Sector Agreement has seen our industrial team working very hard to ensure Health Services are complying. The very first problem many members know about was ensuring the proper and expedient calculation and payment of back pays.
Unfortunately, since then we’ve discovered other areas where compliance is worrying low. One of those has been the proper calculation and payment of Higher Qualifications Allowances. We are still getting reports from members that they are not being paid the proper amount of Higher Qualifications Allowance.
Public Health Services failing to pay Higher Qualifications Allowance correctly amounts to wage theft, and this is not just an issue for Public Health Services. That’s why it’s important to check your pay slips if you’re eligible for the Higher Qualifications Allowance.
If you believe you are not being properly paid for your Higher Qualifications Allowance, make sure you contact the Union.
We have had to work very hard to reach an outcome on Parental Leave after being alerted that Health Services had only paid workers if they started their Paid Parental Leave after 21 December 2021.
Then there are our ongoing concerns about Health Services not providing Flexible Working Arrangements, forcing many staff to jump through hoops to prove they are deserving of Flexible Working Arrangements.
Another area of concern for the Union is the compliance with the staff increases negotiated as part of the new Agreement. This element of the Agreement is of high importance to start addressing the very real staff shortages across our disciplines, especially in psychology and pharmacy, and associated workload issues.
The Union continues to press Public Health services about their efforts to recruit more psychologists and pharmacists.
With the Victorian State Budget soon to be handed down, we will be analysing the budget for funding being directed towards staff increases in our disciplines, along with increases in funding for public hospitals.
However, for the Union to improve compliance with our Agreements, and subsequently ensure your rights and conditions within them are upheld, we need you to report issues in your workplace.
An important national issue worth pointing out are the changes to superannuation that mean employers will have to make superannuation payments on the same day as payday. These changes are being made to address billions in dollars of unpaid superannuation, with workers missing out on $3.4 billion in 2019-20 alone.
Payday super will make it easier to keep track of payments made by employers, and harder for them to be exploited by disreputable employers.
According to the government, having more frequent super payments “will make employers’ payroll management smoother with fewer liabilities building up on their books”. The Australian Taxation Office will receive additional resourcing to help it to detect unpaid super payments earlier.
However, we must remember that women are not closing the super gap with men, despite rises in the superannuation guarantee and improvements in maternity leave with some private employers.
There is much more work to be done to address these gaps, but the announced changes are very welcome, and as ACTU Secretary Sally McManus put it, “Workers lose billions in super theft & this will make a big difference”.
It has also been reported today (Friday 5 May) that the federal government announced that its second Budget will deliver a 15 per cent pay increase for aged care workers. This is a significant outcome for our sister Unions working in the aged care sector who have been working hard to ensure this commitment will be delivered.
We also welcome the government’s announcement and congratulate members across the HSU on their dedication and hard work to achieve this much needed pay increase.