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Posted on September 3, 2019

This week is Child Protection Week – a week where we are reminded that child protection is everyone’s business. We hope you, your colleagues and other stakeholders have a chance to reflect on the important work that you do in ensuring Queensland’s children and young people are safe and can look to a better future.

There is plenty happening across Child Safety, Youth & Women and Youth Justice at the moment – click through the headings to read more – but if you’re in a hurry, here’s the twenty-second update:

  • The Department doesn’t think anything needs to be done about caseload management – they have not included anything in their determination about managing caseloads in Child Safety and are opposing our claims for caseload capping at 15.
    • So, if you think there is a need for a way to deliver reasonable caseloads for CSOs, and so that you are not left carrying all the risk and stress of high caseloads, we need you to speak up now!
  • The Government is also opposing any reclassification claims – including AO2 to AO3 – and changes that would stop you having to ‘donate’ so many hours of your accrued time.
  • Members have this month, September, to submit witness statements to talk about what life is really like in CSYW & YJ. This is an opportunity that will not come around again any time soon – do you want to see improvements or are you OK with how things are at the moment?
    • Respond to this email if you want to submit your experiences to substantiate our claims for better wages and conditions.
  • Lastly, do you think you’re not entitled to overtime? You might be! Read more below to ensure you are receiving your entitlements!

Arbitration

The countdown is on for our arbitration prep. Yesterday, the parties lodged our ‘draft determinations’ with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. You can see ours here.

We now know exactly what it is that we are in agreement on, and what we will be disputing through the arbitration process. The Government is opposing all reclassification claims, all claims about hours of work (ensuring you don’t have to give up accrued hours), and has included absolutely nothing in their determination about caseload management. It seems that they will be arguing that our proposal – that anyproposal – to manage caseloads is unnecessary. What do you think about that?

What we’ve seen in the other arbitrations that are currently underway is that the Government has been trying to argue that the issues we are raising are isolated or an aberration. We can’t let them say that these claims – that could make a real, tangible difference to you, your co-workers and families – are unnecessary or just an isolated incident.

The Government will also argue that any improvements will cost too much money. We reckon you’re worth it. Your co-workers are worth it. The children, young people and families you work with are worth it.

That’s why we are asking you to consider submitting a witness statement as part of the arbitration. You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to speak about your experience.

Don’t let the Government say that high caseloads, staff doing work above and beyond their paygrade, or not being paid for the actual hours that they do (amongst other claims) isn’t an issue. Now’s your chance.

Respond to this email or send an email to csyw@together.org.au and one of us will be in contact to talk through the process – if you need any support, we are here to provide it!

After we raised concerns with the Director-General of CSYW, an email was sent on Friday to all staff by CSYW’s Chief HR Officer outlining the Department’s commitment to union encouragement and collective industrial relations, including staff submitting witness statements. We understand a similar email for Youth Justice will be forthcoming as well. If you’re concerned about any sort of pushback, please let us know – this is a serious matter.

Overtime - know your rights!

More recently we have been hearing from a lot of members that they aren’t eligible for overtime. If you’re a PO2, PO3 or AO5 and under, you are eligible to overtime payment or TOIL (by mutual agreement!) in the following circumstances:

  • If you are working outside your spread of hours (6am-6pm); or,
  • You are working in excess of 9.5 hours in one day.

You can see the Hours of Work Policy on your intranet for more detail.

Overtime has to be approved prior to, or, in the absence of prior approval, your manager has to be subsequently satisfied that the work that necessitated the overtime was essential. Keep this in mind when you are in emergent or responsive circumstances where you don’t have the opportunity to seek prior approval, but your continued work is essential (i.e. finding a placement after hours, etc.).

If you are being denied this entitlement, please let us know!

As always, thank you for the work you do.

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au