What has happened?
COVID-19 has disrupted the work of many casuals in the APS. Social distancing, changes in the economy, and the focus of the APS on the COVID-19 response, has meant that certain work has been put on hold or reduced. Some casuals in the APS have seen their shifts drastically reduced or completely cut.
Some agencies have been working to redeploy casuals within their own agency or help casuals move to other agencies to undertake alternative work.
Many casuals have reported to the CPSU that they have not received this support.
What has the CPSU been doing?
The CPSU has been raising these issues with your agency, and there has been disappointing progress so far. We have also been raising these issues with agencies and with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC). Our casual members have said they want to work, and we know that the APS needs its employees to undertake critical work to support the government’s COVID-19 response.
Assurances from the APSC
After advocacy from the CPSU, the APSC has now advised that the APS “Is seeking to support ‘casual’ staff during the extraordinary circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic”. This is a welcome commitment, but we still need to see your agency take immediate, concrete steps to support you.
According to the APSC, this support can include:
- assigning casual staff “suitable work within their home agencies”
- mobilising casuals to critical functions within other agencies, and
- paying casuals to undertake mandatory training where relevant.
What should you do?
Many already have, but if you haven’t already, talk to your agency and ask how it intends to support you. You should indicate that you are available for alternative work within the agency, moving to another agency, and undertaking training. Make sure you ask for a written response. Your agency should then take steps to provide you with alternative work. If your agency does not take these steps, or you don’t feel comfortable raising the issue with your manager directly, please get in contact with the CPSU.
CPSU seeks urgent meeting with your agency
In light of the commitments from the APSC, the CPSU has written to your agency to seek an urgent meeting to discuss what immediate steps they will be taking to support you.
Thank you to the members who have already been in touch. We are asking casual workers across the APS to tell us how they are impacted by taking this short survey
Some casuals have been told they cannot be redeployed
This is not the case, and where employees have been told this, the CPSU has corrected the issue with the agency. Casuals can nominate to assist other agencies with their critical surge work, and the agency should facilitate this.