DCDSS: Hours of Work, Vacancy Management and other updates

Posted on May 22, 2020

We hope this email finds you well. Thank you for continuing to do the important work of DCDSS and AS&RS during these challenging times – your services to the community are invaluable.

Please see below for a number of updates in your agency.

Vacancy Management

As some members may be aware, the Department has implemented a Vacancy Management process to have central oversight of personnel matters such as temporary extensions, higher duties arrangements and recruitment.

We are seeking further information from the Department about what this will look like and what it means for a range of employment arrangements.

In the interim, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us on yourunion@together.org.au or by calling 1800 177 244. These are uncertain times and your union is here for you.

Hours of Work Arrangements for non-shift workers

Together has been able to work with the Department to give members the opportunity to expand their spread of hours, where a worker elects to, in order to better balance all the work and home/caring commitments members are currently juggling.

An arrangement has been formalised with the department that where a (non-shift) worker chooses to, they can nominate an increased spread of hours and work their day (including ADO time) any time between 6am-10pm, as long as there is a sufficient break to manage fatigue. This would allow working parents to balance completing their work and supporting lessons throughout the day or to manage different demands in a peak period.

Additionally, employees are able to carry over 7.25 hours of debit time to the next pay cycle.

These arrangements would only be for day workers (not shift workers like RCOs) so as not to interfere with any shift penalties or other arrangements, and are compliant with the Award.

While all grades will be back at school from Monday 25 May, employees may still have additional caring or other responsibilities during this time that may be assisted by this arrangement.

We would also like to remind members that whether you agree to the altered spread of hours or not staff are still able to accrue one day of flextime/ADO per work cycle. If you are being told otherwise in your area, please don’t hesitate to get in contact so that we can raise it with the Department.

Working from the Office vs Working from Home

While RCOs and some other staff have continued to deliver important frontline services in their usual places of work, most DCDSS staff have been working from home for a number of weeks. 

Now that some restrictions have been eased, we are seeking whole of government/whole of sector guidance about any proposed moves back to working from office environments as opposed to having a large number of staff working from home. The rules in relation to “social distancing” mean that there will be significant limits on the use of lifts, the use of meeting rooms and that some pods or desk spaces will not meet the requirements for ‘social distance’. Your union is regularly meeting with Department regarding issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and we will continue to raise these matters.

Do you have concerns about proposed arrangements, or do you have suggestions about matters that should be considered when talking about returning to the workplace? Email us through yourunion@together.org.au.

There will also need to be increased and ongoing flexibility for workers who may have symptoms like a sneeze or occasional cough who should therefore not be working from the workplace but may well be fit enough to work from home.

If your team or work area is proposing plans to return to more office-based work please let us know. Where there is more than one tenant in a government building there will also need to be negotiations among tenancies regarding total numbers in the building at any one time.

We also want to make sure that workers have access to the materials and set up you need both in the office and in the home office if you are required to work across an A/B team or other arrangement.

Keep in touch with us at yourunion@together.org.au. 

Vulnerable Staff

It's important to remember that, while restrictions are scheduled to reduce over the next few months, at this time vulnerable staff, or those with a vulnerable person in their household, should still be supported to work flexibly and safely. These workers do not need new medical advice, the criteria has not changed. Please get in contact if you need help around this.

If you need any advice and support remember to get in touch with us on 1800 177 244 or email us at yourunion@together.org.au. We're here for you!

1800 177 244