As the emergency response measures related to COVID-19 come into place across society, people are being challenged and tested in ways we never have been before. We are being challenged at home, in our community and in the workplace.
As so many people face an immediate future where they are far more isolated from their colleagues, family and friends, there has never been a more important time to be a member of your union. Unions are collectives of workers, and we will continue to work together to support each other during this emergency.
Professionals Australia have been inundated with requests for assistance from members to navigate the new measures being introduced at workplaces. Your health and safety at this time should be of paramount importance. The response of employers across the APS has certainly been a mixed bag.
Professionals Australia members are invited to an interactive webinar at 12:30pm AEST this Friday 27th March to discuss the response to COVID-19 of APS agencies, and your rights during this unprecedented emergency. Spots are limited so please register your attendance here.
There are some areas that are responding proactively and supportively, where as other agencies still leave a lot to be desired. The APSC is providing central advice to APS agencies about arrangements available to support employees to manage the various challenges, however in many agencies local managers are lacking clear advice from their agency’s leadership about how to enact those supports.
While the advice is evolving regularly, here’s where things currently stand:
- We know that in many agencies the flow of information has been lacking. While the APSC is providing guidance for all agencies to follow, its often not filtering down to staff through their local management chains. We know we need to support members in dealing with local management chains to access their entitlements.
- The APSC has characterised the whole APS as an ‘essential service’, advising staff that they are still expected to attend work.
- Victoria is the only state with a school shutdown which impacts staff of ‘essential services’, so Victorian APS staff are being granted miscellaneous leave to care for their children. In all other states, schools remain open for the children of ‘essential services’ staff.
- Many APS staff outside of Victoria are being told that removing children from school is their choice, so they will have to access work from home arrangements or their own accrued leave if they want to keep kids home from school.
Join us at 12:30pm AEST this Friday 27th March to discuss the response to COVID-19 of APS agencies, and your rights during this unprecedented emergency. Spots are limited so please register your attendance here.
We’re working with members to navigate the particular arrangements within their workplace. Following Friday’s webinar it may be necessary to schedule dedicated meetings to deal with the situation agency by agency. We’ll arrange those meetings as the need arises.
If your require specific assistance at this time please contact your local Professionals Australia representative on the details below. Don’t forget also that you can connect with your colleagues at any time via Professionals Australia’s new online community
It’s only by taking on the challenges of 2020 together that we’ll be able to overcome them. Please share this email with your colleagues and encourage them to join.
Dale Beasley – Director ACT
Emma Parkinson – Organiser Victoria
Kimberley Rowney – Senior Organiser South Australia
Tamarah Rowlands – Senior Organiser Western Australia
Adrian Catt – Organiser New South Wales
Thomas Whibley – Organiser Queensland