Child Support Program (CSP) staff have been told that their managers will now enforce a “standards of dress” policy.
The CPSU has been hearing report of inconsistent interpretation of what
clothing is appropriate. Members say they are angry about DHS’s decision to make
this policy a priority while failing to address the real issues such as chronic
understaffing and unmanageable workloads.
What are the facts?
In August, 2011 DHS adopted a Department-wide policy for staff in non face to
face customer contact areas; now being implemented in CSP. There are many myths
about what’s considered appropriate dress for work, so here are the facts on
what any assessment of must be based on:
All employees must dress professionally at all times, and in all
situations regardless of their level of interaction with departmental
customers, other agencies, external providers or departmental colleagues;
Clothing and accessories must not offend others or be provocative in any
Clothing and accessories need to be appropriate for the type of work
being done and not present any risk to health or safety;
While there maybe some guides provided by DHS about what’s appropriate
managers are required to work with staff to make a judgement using the
principles on what is acceptable or not.
What if you disagree?
As with any definition that is open to interpretation, there will be
instances of disagreement. If you’re told by a manager that you’re not dressed
appropriately and you disagree with their assessment:
Ask the manager to put their views to you in an email on why they think
you’re not dressed appropriately.
Pass this information on to your CPSU delegate and respond together in
If your manager insists you are not dressed appropriately, work with
your CPSU delegate to arrange a meeting to resolve the issues referencing
the principles of the policy.
If this then doesn’t work your CPSU delegate will work with the union
office to address any local problems on interpretation of the DHS policy.
Have your say Please send an email to
to let us know your views about DHS’s new approach to dress standards at work.
With this feedback we can push for changes and ensure national management
understand what staff think.
Join the union online here or by
calling 1300 137 636