Arts Update – October 2020

Posted on October 2, 2020

Last week we saw significant changes to the Public Service Act that provides more rights for members who perform higher duties for 12 months or more – more on this below. We have also seen an increase in members requesting clarification on their entitlements including their ability to accrue and access accrued time off, hours of work, and entitlements to be reviewed for permanency.

Permanency for Long-term Higher Duties

For many years, Together members have been raising the unfairness of permanent public servants acting for extended periods of time in higher duties roles without any of the conversion rights that apply to temporary employees in similar circumstances.

As a result of union members' campaign, the Public Service Act has been changed to allow members who have been acting in roles continuously for more than 12 months to request permanent appointment to that role. Importantly, members who have been acting in for more than 24 months can appeal a decision not to grant permanent appoint to the role.

To ensure your rights are protected we are strongly urging all members who have been acting in higher duties roles for more than 12 months to make their application as soon as possible.

We are concerned that OIR may seek to cancel existing acting arrangements before Together members are able to exercise their rights to be appointed.

If you want to request that, you should email the appropriate management in your area. You can use the text below as an example;

"In accordance with section 149C of the Public Service Act 2008, I request to be appointed to the position of ________.

I have been seconded to and/or acted in this position for in excess of 12 months and have demonstrated the skills, knowledge and abilities required to undertake the duties of this role."

If you have been acting in a higher duties role for 12 months or more you have until 14 December 2020 to request permanent appointment in your role as part of the transition to the new legislation rather than having to wait until your anniversary date.

Together will be able to assist and represent any members who have their applications refused.

If you have your application refused or if your employer unilaterally ceases your higher duties role prior to you be able to make an application. Please contact me either by email eleanor.rogers@together.org.au or call us on 1800 177 244.

Review for permanency

A number of Together members are reaching out about a review for permanency, so we thought this might be a timely reminder of your entitlements under the new temporary and casual directives;

Temporary Employees (Directive 09/20: Temporary employment):

Under the temporary Employment Directive 09/20, a fixed-term temporary employee can be converted to permanent following a review of their status as a temporary employee by the agency. Section 149 of the PS Act establishes that a fixed term temporary employee who has been continuously employed for one year or more may request a review for conversion to permanent employment, allowing for periods of casual service and breaks in service of up to six weeks in a one-year period for a one year review, and up to twelve weeks in the two year period prior to the two year review. To see specific changes in this directive, see here.

Casual Employees (Directive 08/20) Under the Casual Employment Directive (08/20):

A casual employee can request a conversion review after 12 months of continuous casual employment on a regular and systematic basis or a combination of casual and fixed term temporary employment. Examples of viable and appropriate casual employment include:

  • backfilling tenured or fixed term temporary staff on short-term emergent leave;
  • covering short gaps in work rosters of tenured and fixed term temporary employees;
  • in a role where work patterns or work demand is variable and difficult to predict, with each engagement standing alone; and,
  • where needed to work irregular, informal, flexible, occasional or non-rostered hours.

To see specific changes in this directive, click here.

Accruing time 

We’ve had a number of members across the Arts Agencies reach out over the last few weeks regarding their entitlement to accrue time, which is outlined in your award, below;

Under the Queensland Public Service Officers and Other Employees Award – State 2015

S1.4.1.3 Accrued time 

(a) An employee may accrue time during a work cycle, provided that additional hours are performed to meet operational requirements and are approved by the employee's manager. Accrued time shall be calculated in 15 minute intervals. 

(b) An employee may carry over up to 36.25 hours of accrued time from one work cycle to the next work cycle. The manager of a work unit may authorise a carry over in excess of 36.25 hours in circumstances where the manager deems it appropriate. Any time in excess of the authorised carry over at the end of a four week work cycle shall be forfeited. 

(c) Accrued time off may only be taken with the prior approval of the manager of the work unit. Accrued time may be taken as part days or full days. 

(d) In accordance with clause 15.6 of this Award, employees are to have access to at least one full accrued day off per month.

If you’re unable to accrue at least one full accrued day off per month, please let me know immediately by emailing eleanor.rogers@together.org.au.

Accruing Time Survey – State Library of Queensland

SLQ delegates, Joan and Jason, have raised the matter of accruing time with Talia Love-Linay and, subsequently, at the last SLQ Agency Consultative Committee. However, SLQ have consistently denied that this is occurring.

What we know is that SLQ employees being denied accrued time is not an isolated incident. This is why Together members have developed a survey about accruing time. We are asking members to fill out by 16 October 2020 COB.

The only way this will be successful is if all our members fill out this survey and talk to their non-member colleagues about joining their union.

If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to your delegates Joan Bruce, Jason Topp or myself at eleanor.rogers@together.org.au.

Proposed Organisational Changes 

While impacted Together members have already received emails regarding the following organisational changes, it’s important that this is also distributed more widely. If proposed changes pose workload concerns in other teams or areas, we encourage you to flag these with us by emailing myself at eleanor.rogers@together.org.au

Proposed changes for Visitor and Information Services – State Library of Queensland

On Friday 18 September, Together delegates, Joan and Jason and Eleanor attended a meeting with Linda Barron and Vanessa McCormack regarding a proposed change to the visitor and information services.

Linda subsequently sent through the current and proposed organisational charts. I have provided more detail about the change proposal below.

Proposal

Creation of one Information and Client Services Team, managed by two Information and Client Service Coordinators.

The reorganisation of teams to distribute the number of direct reports between each Coordinator - currently CIS and CCE. Including the even distribution of Librarians and Library Technicians. The current CE team members are to remain reporting to CCE including the Program Assistant role.

We expect that the current Coordinator Client Experience role will be reclassified into the PO stream demonstrating the need for a professional in this role. This will be confirmed once the role description has been finalised and a JEMS undertaken.

Reasoning/Benefits

More evenly allocate number of direct reporting staff for each Coordinator.

There is some confusion across the organisation of what teams do e.g. what are the responsibilities of the Client Experience team vs the Information Services team. As well as assumptions that all client improvement activities sit with Client Experience and that it is not the Information Services team’s responsibility. This is not the case, as client improvement activities are part of all roles an team

Staff impact of proposed structure

We see little impact on team members other than a possible change of reporting lines. We envisage that they will operate as a large team, with a designated people leaders specifically for HR matters, 1-1s, PPPs etc.

Duties and responsibilities of the team members, other than the Coordinators, within the Information and Client Services team remains the same.

Team to work as one large team to deliver on our Visitor Service Commitment, Branch, Operational and other plans.

The current AO6 CCE has the relevant qualifications to transfer into a PO role and there is no difference in pay rate for PO4-AO6

Proposed timeframe

Implementation of change of reporting on 12 October 2020

Visitor Engagement Review – Queensland Museum

Impacted members have already received information about this review and I have attached a copy of the briefing notes (attachment 2), which I would encourage you to have a read through when and if you get the chance. 

At this stage, management are still working through each recommendation, the impacts to staff and any additional budgetary considerations as a result. Please be aware that while a number of recommendations have been proposed, QM may not be in a position to implement some of these during this financial year. Any implementation plan that is developed will outline recommendations that can be implemented immediately (i.e. revisiting the existing roster to allow for more employment security), whereas others may need to be implemented over the course of 6 – 12 months (i.e. moving the ticketing function to retail staff).

As always, if you had any questions or feedback regarding any of these proposed changes, please get in touch with your workplace delegates or myself at eleanor.rogers@together.org.au.

There has been a lot of information provided in this update. Please don't hesitate to contact your union office if you have any questions or comments. You can email me at eleanor.rogers@together.org.au. Share this email with your colleagues and let them know about these issues and how they can get involved to ensure that we get the best outcomes for employees. They can join securely online, here

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au