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What is HACSU doing for women?

2020-10-27

On Zelda D'Aprano Day, HACSU Assistant State Secretary Kate Marshall spoke about what our union is doing for women at the Zelda D'Aprano Union Women Forum. She provided information on a range of topics, including superannuation, Reproductive Health and Wellbeing Leave and portable long service leave- all of which are currently being bargained for as part of the new public sector mental health enterprise bargaining agreement. 

Superannuation 

"We have asked that super be paid into accounts fortnightly. From doing some research with HESTA and Aware Super, we looked at it and realised that by paying it fortnightly, you're actually getting somewhere between $4000 and $8000 better upon retirement simply due to the interest that you're accruing. It is something so simple. It is your money that you are earning interest on. The employer shouldn't be holding that back. I know it's legal and they're not breaching any laws by holding it back but ultimately we believe that it's your money and you should be earning that interest off it." 

"When you take one years' parental leave, whether it be paid or unpaid, they've agreed to continue to pay your superannuation for that whole year period." 

"We have also asked that superannuation be increased, but an additional small increase be given to females as well on top of that. That's one thing we're trying to do to try and compensate what's going on during the COVID-19 pandemic, with regards to super." 

"Our HACSU Women's Committee is also looking at the idea of some sort of incentive for women to pay back into their super account so if you're withdrawing from super, it may be something where if you pay back a certain amount into your super account, then the government will put in an extra 1% or extra 2%." 

Reproductive Health and Wellbeing Leave 

"This leave is for anyone going through menstruation pain, perimenopause, menopause, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, IVF, vasectomies, prostate cancer surgeries, hysterectomies, gender reassignment, whatever you need. We believe you shouldn't take sick leave. You are not sick. Someone who needs a gender reassignment is not sick. We're starting off by asking for five days' leave per year. We're also asking that flexible work arrangements be looked into (e.g. manipulating start times if possible), temperatures in workplaces be monitored for comfort purposes. You're going to get far more productivity from someone if they're comfortable at work."

"We're hoping to get it up in the public sector mental health enterprise bargaining agreement. As far as we know, this hasn't been accepted anywhere else in Australia as yet so we're hopeful that this starts a precedent. We hope that other people pick it up and that this leave grows and grows."

"We've all got reproductive health. We don't want that subject of reproductive health to be taboo or secret anymore. It should be an open conversation and be accepted that that's what some people have to go through." 

Long service leave for casuals 

"At the moment, casuals aren't permitted to take long service leave. We think that's just wrong. Women are the ones who are often in precarious employment. We think that if you hold a casual position, then you should be entitled to long service leave. 

Portable long service leave 

"At the moment, our public mental health agreement ropes in 18 employers. We want something where you keep your long service leave no matter which service you are working at. That encourages women to stay in the workforce and you're not starting from scratch every time you begin a role in the same sector but in a different service."