The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has emphasised that the upcoming negotiations on flexible work, including working from home, as part of APS Service-Wide bargaining are a crucial first test of the Government's commitment to becoming a model employer.
Flexible work arrangements, including working from home, have become increasingly prevalent in workplaces and even expected by many prospective employees. The CPSU believes that providing certainty and locking these arrangements into enterprise agreements will create opportunities for diversifying the Australian Public Service workforce and attracting a wider range of skilled workers.
The CPSU believes that strong flexible work rights are required to begin addressing the APS wide attraction and retention crisis which has not only impacted service delivery in recent years but is having impacts on the employees that have stayed.
Both the CPSU and APSC acknowledge the importance of flexible work arrangements and the positive impacts they have had on the public service, including its ability to deliver for the Australian community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Negotiations regarding flexible work, including working from home, are expected to commence this Thursday.
Quotes attributable to Melissa Donnelly, CPSU National Secretary:
“The negotiation on flexible work is the first critical test of the Albanese Labor Government's commitment to becoming a model employer. This is an opportunity for the Government to demonstrate that it is ready to build a modern, diverse, and inclusive APS – one worthy of calling itself a model employer.
“Flexible working arrangements, including working from home are becoming the status quo in modern employment and Thursday’s meeting will be an early indicator as to whether or not the Government is ready to lead the way on that or if they’ll be playing catch-up later.
“Flexible work creates opportunities for a more diverse and inclusive workforce, particularly for those who may face barriers associated with traditional or full-time office-based employment, including people with disability, people with caring responsibilities and people in rural and regional areas.
"It is no secret that the APS is facing an attraction and retention crisis, and that current APS employees are bearing the brunt of that with burn out, turnover and workloads all sitting higher than they should be. But fully embracing flexible work and opening the doors of APS employment to new parts of the population could be a game-changer.
“Creating an APS workforce that is more reflective of the public it is there to serve has the potential to be transformative for the services it delivers.
“The APS has everything to gain and nothing to lose in negotiations on flexible work and working from home.
Media contact: Tori McGregor 0429 000 620