HSUWA Members and Covid-19

Friday 20 Mar 2020

HSUWA understands the state government and Department of Health are reacting as quickly as possible to this crisis in difficult circumstances.

Our members across the health sector are trusted and respected professionals (in clerical, technical, security ,allied health and health sciences roles) in our community who will continue to do their best to look after their fellow Western Australians, in partnership with the state government and the Department of Health.

We know tough times are with us and likely tougher times are ahead.

We ask for recognition from government that healthcare workers are critical to our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HSUWA has written the Minister and Director General.

In SUMMARY they are:

Immediately exempt healthcare workers from the requirement under Circular #5/2020

– COVID-19 and Employment Flexibilities that personal and other leave entitlements be used ahead of COVID-19 Leave.

Adequate PPE be provided to all healthcare workers who are in potential contact with COVID-19 patients or suspected COVID-19 patients.

Workload concerns raised by members in their workplace or by the union are escalated and addressed with urgency by the Health Service Providers (HSPs). For example, we currently have significant concerns over: the long length of shifts; the number of consecutive days of work; and payment of overtime hours (rather than accrual of TOIL or Flexitime).

A significantly increased Security Officer presence at all hospitals with an ED. These workers should be public sector employees. Security Officers who are currently casuals, should be offered permanent employment immediately.

Private sector or labour hire employees and contractors working throughout our public hospitals in similar conditions as their public sector colleagues be provided (by their employers) with the entitlements and protections as public sector employees, especially at Ramsay Health Care.

 We strongly advocate that in the case of any claim for workers’ compensation for a healthcare worker infected with COVID-19 that there be an assumption (also known as a rebuttable presumption) that it was contracted in the course of their employment.

For the imminent surge in the health workforce:

consultation with the HSPs and the system-manager about where, when and how new staff will be engaged; new starter information be provided promptly; and access to discussions with new starters and inductions.

information about transfers (of duties and locations), changes to their scope of practice and basic consultation before decisions relating to the above are made. That any employee who is a casual or fixed term contract who has met the length of service criterion contained within Commissioner’s Instruction 23 (CI-23) be immediately converted to permanency.

That any employee on a fixed term contract have the term that expires in the next 6 months (not included in the above group) have an automatic 6 month roll over.

That disputes be resolved, particularly between HSWWA and NMHS relating to Security Officers.

Consideration of the creation of dedicated childcare and/or school centres exclusively

available to the children of healthcare workers.  

We know these issues will continue to evolve and there are other very important things our members are seeking – particularly around flexible work and working from home arrangements as well as the continuing fight for job security.

Your union will continue to do all it can to support you in this critical time. Reach out to each other and support your colleagues, we are in this together.

This is a time where solidarity has never been more important.

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