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Home > News > April 9th HACSU Daily Update

April 9th HACSU Daily Update

2020-04-09

Hello members,

 

We wanted to provide you with an update, following the email we sent you yesterday about the new Government policy directions on visitors at disability group homes and AOD facilities.

We wanted to firstly clarify that this policy is not a HACSU policy. We were not involved in developing the policy, we were simply passing on the information to members.

We’ve heard that you felt the directions weren’t clear, so early today we sought further information from Government officials and a supplementary guidance document for disability accommodation has been released, which you can access here.

The supplementary guidance document advises that those who are exempt from the visitor exclusions are:

  • An employee of a disability service provider or registered NDIS provider
  • A person providing necessary goods or services or where a person is providing medical or pharmaceutical goods or services
  • Medical services include allied health services such as speech pathology or physiotherapy that are necessary for the person’s health and wellbeing
  • A worker providing behaviour support services such as services to assess, plan or implement a person’s behaviour support plan where these services cannot be provided remotely
  • A worker providing support services such as additional services or supports provided to the person through the person’s support plan that are provided in the disability accommodation including those provided by another service provider
  • A worker who attends the disability accommodation to provide treatment under a treatment plan (Disability Act, 2006)

Please be aware that these directions are a minimum , which means some employers may implement more stringent policies around visitors and accessing disability houses. In the event in any inconsistencies between providers policy and government policy that may result in risk to workers or residents, please let us know and we’ll feed this up to the Government.

 

Some of the other questions we received from HACSU members:

Q. Can a maintenance worker enter the house to provide maintenance services?
A. Yes, a worker can enter the facility for the purposes of providing goods or services necessary for the effective operation of the facility

Q. Can families take a client out of the house or to the family’s home for the weekend and then return them?
A. No, a client can only leave their residence for essential purposes as for the Stay at Home Directions that all Victorians must abide by. 

If you have further questions or concerns about this Government policy, please let us know via email hacsu@hacsu.asn.au . We will continue to advocate for the best interests of HACSU members.

 

Today, HACSU State Secretary Paul Healey and Assistant State Secretary Kate Marshall met with the Victorian Disability Minister’s Chief of Staff to discuss the lack of PPE and other concerns. The Minister’s Office is aware of this issue and have advised they support the position of the Health Services Union on the matter. Victorian Disability Minister Luke Donnellan met with Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt to discuss this issue in support of the union’s outlined issues. Next week Paul and Kate will meet directly with Minster Donnellan for further discussion on the issues raised by members.

The Victorian Government have advised HACSU officials that they want to overhaul the current system used to access PPE supplies. They are aware that at present, disability houses can wait upwards of 48 hours for a response from the distribution point. This is too long and the Government is aware that a response is needed sooner.

 

Late last night, Shadow Minister for NDIS, Bill Shorten gave this speech to Parliament in support of disability workers across Australia.

Click here to view the video on our Facebook page.

 

Further guidelines were released today by the Department of Health and Human Services relating to ‘At Risk’ workers. Employers who identify an ‘At Risk’ worker are being asked to adopt a ‘flexible approach’ to granting leave or providing alternative duties to workers who are deemed at risk due to age or health factors. A factsheet will soon be made available by the DHHS.

The guidelines also require consultation on workload and overtime continue. If you are being asked to increase your workload or perform overtime, without proper consultation with yourself or the union, please contact us as soon as possible.

Further information is also provided in the guidelines about caring for children during Term 2, given schools are providing mainly online learning until the middle of 2020. The guidelines advise:

For ongoing and fixed-term workers:

  • Where work from home is not feasible, the employee will be granted a maximum of twenty (20) days paid Special Leave (pro-rata for part-time employees), to be used in a single unbroken period, or in multiple periods as agreed with the employer.
    • Where operational arrangements allow, this leave may be taken at half-pay for twice the period (that is, for up to forty (40) days).
  • Once special leave is exhausted, workers are expected to use other leave, including personal or unpaid leave.

For casual workers:

  • Where work from home is not feasible, the following will apply:
    • Where a casual worker has been or is working for their employer on a regular and systematic basis, and is anticipated to continue to be employed the worker is entitled to paid Special Leave for either a two-week period reflective of their likely work pattern, or for hours already rostered
    • For those not employed on a regular and systematic basis, Special Leave is at the discretion of the employer

Paid Special Leave is not available for use during scheduled Victorian school holidays or where the employer is providing or reimbursing childcare for the affected children.

 

New resources are available from the Australia Council of Trades Unions around the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, for which legislation passed through Parliament last night. On  this website  you can download factsheets on whether  eligibility for the scheme changes to the Fair Work Act  (2009) that might impact you if you are accessing the scheme and how payments from this scheme might  affect with your superannuation .

 

We also wanted to advise that, given exceptional circumstances of this pandemic, the HACSU office will remain open over the long weekend to provide support to members. We will be operating with only minimal staff so if you have an urgent need to call, we ask that you please leave us a voicemail message or send us an email  assist@hacsu.asn.au  and you will be responded to as soon as we are able.

Thank-you to all HACSU members working over this long weekend. The work you do for your community is some of the most valuable, and we’re continuing to work hard to ensure that you’re appropriately recognised for it.

 

In unity,

 

HACSU.