The NDIS Commission response to the CPSU letter
Please see attached the NDIS Commission’s response to the CPSU letter from 16 March. In addition to our correspondence with the Commission your union delegates raised the response to COVID-19 in the Workplace Consultative Committee (WCC) on 23 March. As the response to the pandemic changes daily the CPSU seeks to maintain regular contact with management to ensure appropriate responses are considered and applied. APS agencies should be following the guidance from the Department of Health, the relevant state/ territory governments and the APSC including the recent APSC circular on leave
Areas of concern in the NDISQSC response
In the NDISQSC response to the CPSU dated 18 March 2020, the CPSU notes:
- The NDIS Commission is only offering leave for isolation on a case by case basis and additional Personal Carer’s Leave on a case by case basis. This does not meet the standards in the recent APSC circular (see link above)
- There is no mention of what leave would apply should schools shut down
- The letter states that the Commission are providing employees with information about industrial arrangements available
The Commission’s initial response to a, b and c
When raised at the WCC on 23 March, management agreed to discuss further details with the CPSU on point a.
On point b, management advised this was being discussed at a special senior management meeting on 23 March with particular reference to school closures in Victoria and ACT. Management agreed to update staff and the union on the outcome of that meeting.
On point c, management advised that information had been sent to staff but it is not clear what that information was and are still considering whether to share it with the CPSU.
The CPSU sent a follow up letter on 24 March flagging the matters above and seeking further information on working from home and provisions for labour hire staff.
More on what was discussed at the WCC
- Commission’s COVID-19 Response (currently live issue)
- CPSU Survey (see CPSU member email from 24 March).
- Policies for consultation: Work from Home - feedback to email@example.com
- Emergency response: The CPSU had previously provided feedback to the acting COO on the Penrith office closure highlighting some of the areas for improvement. The key areas relating to emergencies reside with the WHS networks at the Commission. In relation to working arrangements clearer and consistent guidance is needed on,
- Location where staff can work from
- The work from home arrangements in an emergency
- Access to which leave & flex provisions
- Improved access to Citrix
- Contact officers and support in an emergency
- Update - Employee Census Working Groups
- Other CPSU agenda items: Inconsistencies around EL and APS TOIL/ FLEX & flexible working, WFH and bandwidth. Currently it is understood that EL TOIL and EL & APS flexible working arrangements can vary significantly by team and office. The reasoning behind some management decisions on FLEX calculations and decisions on flexible working arrangements, bandwidth and working from home are not always clear or consistent. The APS attracts and retains talent and skills because of its flexible approach to working and members at the Commission are keen to explore how this is being interpreted with reference fairness, equality and those with caring responsibilities.
- Questions from the CPSU for the Commission’s consideration:
- Will the Commission explore/ review the current interpretation /application of TOIL arrangements for EL staff and APS flex? What good practices exist in the Commission, where does it work well and not so well? e.g. Behavioural Support mirroring Complaints?
- Will the Commission provide details on how flexible working arrangements are considered particularly in relation to carers and PT workers?
- Addressing current issues for EL TOIL where anomalies have emerged e.g. staff working 20 hours and getting 10 hours, TOIL not being granted, the interplay between TOIL and flexible working, compensation for previous hours worked?
- Consideration for the administrative process and time taken to record and approve
- What are the general guidelines being advised to managers on the EA interpretation Bandwidth/ core hours?
- The Penrith office cutlery / glassware lockdown: frustration from staff at this recent measure and resolving it
- Update on WHS & HSRs nominations: Plans to embed a WHS culture in the workplace (also linked to CPSU survey) and new HSRs
- Noticeboards revisited: Outstanding matter re: effective communications with staff by union and WHS matters
- The CPSU Survey results (also see CPSU member email from 24 March) In addition to the key finding inductions, recruitment, promotions and staff retention were also highlighted.
More on working from home
Despite the Prime Minister’s encouragement on 24 March for workers to work from home where possible, the Commission like other essential APS have largely maintained the office-based model. Right now, there are departments and agencies including the NDIS Commission blocking working from home arrangements or unnecessarily delaying their implementation. The CPSU believes this is reckless and short-sighted. To read the full CPSU statement on working from home click here.
You stories help to build the picture that leads to outcomes
- We will continue to make the case that labour hire workers performing APS work must also be provided with paid arrangements, share your story here on our online form
- The CPSU has an APS-wide campaign to fully support workers in moving towards working from home arrangements
- What concerns or questions do you have about working from home if required to do so? Provide feedback to Angela Ridgway or Email me or speak to your local CPSU delegates
- The CPSU will hold a member teleconference soon to discuss some of the matters that have emerged due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the initial management responses to the WCC items. An invitation will be sent out soon
- Members can continue to get one to one support from our helpline on 1300 137 636 and at firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can speak to your local CPSU Delegates: Penrith - Craig Upton or Donna Gillies, Brisbane - Lisa Cutler or Jason Wilson, Hobart: Tristan Sell
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Join us to make the Commission a fairer and better place for all employees. Join online or call 1300 137 636.
Thanks and keep safe
William and your CPSU Delegates