A CPSU member in the Department of Home Affairs has gone from a $14,000 debt to $21,000 in back pay thanks to the advocacy of union representatives.
The member, based in the Marine Unit, found herself in the difficult situation after she was transferred to a ‘safe job’ due to being pregnant.
For workers in the Marine Unit, up to 60% of their wage is made up of allowances and the Department argued that once transferred to a ‘safe job’, employees not entitled to their marine-based allowances.
This was unacceptable as the member had done nothing wrong but was having her pay reduced significantly due to her pregnancy and the requirement to be moved to an alternate job.
To add insult to injury, the Department raised a $14,000 debt because although they believed the member wasn’t entitled to the allowance, they had continued to pay her!
CPSU advocates lodged a dispute with the Department arguing that employees should be entitled to their ‘full rate’ of payment, including all allowances.
After several months of back and forth, the Department has agreed that this member should have continued to receive her allowances and she will receive over $21,000 in back pay.
While this is a great outcome and a fantastic result for this member – we shouldn’t have had to have this fight in the first place.
This issue had broad implications as a work health and safety issue as pregnant women were concealing their pregnancies to protect their pay.
Your union will always have your back (and your pregnant front!) and we need to make sure we are holding them accountable every step of the way.
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