Important industrial updates in Queensland Health

Posted on October 6, 2020

During this busy time for everyone in Queensland Health there are a few important points on your rights and entitlements to be aware of.

Permanent Vacancies

Under most of the certified agreements, there is an obligation on the employer to fill permanent vacant positions. These provisions state that a recruitment process must be commenced within 14 days of the position becoming vacant, this process must be completed within three months and the position permanently filled not backfilled or filled with a temporary employee. If these recruitment processes are not completed in this time the agreement provisions are being breached.

Your union office receives lists of permanent vacant positions four times a year, however we are aware that these lists are not always accurate. If you have permanent vacant positions in your area or permanent vacant positions that have been temporarily filled, please email health@together.org.au. You will not be identified, and the information needed is the job title, classification, location, full time or part time and when approximately the position became vacant.

If you are experiencing issues with workloads, please fill out the new workload management document and send a copy of the completed form to your delegate and your organiser.

End of year compulsory closure

Queensland Health has released the Christmas/New Year closure policy for 2020-21; you can view a copy of that policy here.

The compulsory closure period will be from Friday 25 December to Friday 1 January inclusive.

Obviously given the extra effort everyone has put in during this global pandemic, news of a break may be welcome!

In some workplaces, teams may decide to operate with reduced activity before and after the compulsory closure period. This is good news provided that such arrangements take into account everyone's leave and family plans.

However, if your area is proposing a closure longer than the compulsory period set out in Queensland Health's policy and you do not have sufficient leave accrued, or you do not wish to access leave, alternative meaningful work needs to be offered to you for this extension beyond the compulsory closure period.

If you have questions or concerns about the operations of the policy, speak to your delegate, email health@together.org.au or call our union office on 1800 177 244.

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 the role 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.

If you want to request that, you should email your Director-General asking to be appointed. 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 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 your being able to make an application please contact the Together office in that case.

Ask your colleagues to join!

During this time when everyone is focused on protecting health workers' jobs and conditions there's never been a more important time to be a member of your union. If you know someone who's not a member, ask them to join today.

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au