Health Department employees under pressure to take leave
Tuesday 05 Nov 2013
The Department of Health has recently issued a circular which sets out its proposals for dealing with what it says are excessive employee annual and long service leave liabilities.
The Department states that it is following Government directives to rein in its leave balances before the end of the financial year on 30 June 2014.
The circular can really only be applied to those members who have leave balances which exceed the terms of the Agreement.
Under the Agreement, an employee with more than two years accrued annual leave (8 weeks +) may be asked to reduce their leave to be no more than 8 weeks by 30 June. Whether that is possible or not would need to be assessed individually.
Long service leave has a different set of rules and employees can accrue up to 26 weeks.
The Department issued a similar leave management policy in 2009. Now it is 2013 and it is suddenly urgent to reduce the leave liabilities before 30 June 2014.
It may well be that 'operational requirements' could mean an employee would not be able to clear their leave in the proposed timeframe. Ironically the accrual of excessive leave was likely caused by the same 'operational requirements'.
Your union advises that employees should take leave at reasonable intervals to maintain their health and well being. Often the accrual of excessive leave is evidence of too much work in the work/life balance equation.