House With No Steps JCC Report Back

HWNS JCC Report Back – Decemeber 2018 (PDF version)

HWNS JCC Report Back

In this update:

  • Landlines and fax machines
  • Leave approval
  • RITEQ – signing in
  • Recruitment
  • Annual leave loading
  • Rostering principles
  • Training and career development
  • End of the two-year guarantee

On 28 November 2018, your delegates and industrial staff from the CPSU NSW met with HWNS to discuss collective member issues at the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC).  This is an ongoing forum where the CPSU NSW industrial staff and delegates are able to consult with management on matters that are raised by members and are of mutual interest.

The CPSU NSW representatives in attendance:  Anthony Hay, Thea Wall; Jessica Moore (official)

Management representatives: Karen Doak, Meredith Newth

Landlines and fax machines

With the introduction of the NBN it means that the traditional landline will be going as the phone system will now be run through the internet rather than copper phone lines. Members had raised concerns regarding the lack of a home phone.

HWNS have advised it is doing what it can to alleviate any concerns. The CPSU NSW has advised there are concerns regarding Work Health and Safety with the removal of a landline.

If you have serious concerns about this removal, you need to lodge those concerns with HWNS, which has obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act to address those concerns.

A similar concern was raised with fax machines; there had been an idea floated there was possibly going to be a removal of fax machines. HWNS has advised this is not something it is looking to do just yet. If HWNS looks remove them it will consult with the union.

Leave approval

With the lack of staff there has been little ability for staff to take leave, particularly the team leaders. In some instances, leave has been requested months in advance and still declined as HWNS has been unable to back fill the role. HWNS has said it was really looking to address the issue through recruitment. For the team leaders, the suggestion was to allow for a shared calendar so they would know when other staff were taking time off. HWNS agreed this could be a good solution.

RITEQ – signing in

RITEQ is a new software system that HWNS is looking to introduce and is being trialled in areas of NSW, including Northern NSW. It will soon be trialled in Southern NSW. Part of this software system is the management of rosters, including the signing in and off. There will be several options of how to do this, including the use of a finger scanner.
The CPSU NSW received feedback from members on this issue, much of the concern regarded privacy and having this system in what is a residence, not just like every other worksite. HWNS has taken on board the concerns regarding privacy, which is why it is offering other alternatives to signing on for your shift. This means those who have concerns do not need to use the finger scanner to sign on.

The Northern NSW trial has seen some hiccups. Much of these have been to do with the accuracy of the system, which was communicated to HWNS by CPSU NSW delegates. We have asked for HWNS to provide details to CPSU NSW of the details of its review of the Northern NSW trial.


There high levels of vacancies and a high churn of the new recruits. HWNS has acknowledged it has not been able to keep up and it is trying to figure out ways to ensure they it is not undertaking reactive recruitment. The CPSU NSW is pleased to hear that and has urged this be high priority.

CPSU NSW delegates have reiterated what they are doing is not enough; staff are not able to take leave, there is large use of overtime and really it seems like the recruitment is not necessarily working and there needs to be some changes. An example was provided of an applicant who had been offered a role in an area they were unable to work due to childcare, yet was not offered any vacancies in an area where they could work.

Annual leave loading

It was put to HWNS when it would be paying staff who are owed annual leave loading. Remember it is possible when you took two weeks or more of annual leave this year you have been paid your annual leave loading already.

HWNS said last year it occurred on 1 December. It thought that this year should be no different. If in the first pay run in December, you have not received your annual leave loading please contact the CPSU NSW at .

Rostering principles

There has been feedback received by the CPSU NSW that there have been difficulties with the rostering principles being adhered to when there are staff in the group home who are no longer on the copied state award. HWNS has agreed where there are staff who are on the copied state award in the group home the copied state award applies and you are entitled to those provisions being followed!

HWNS keeps saying it is not aware of instances where this is happening. If you are in a group home where the rostering principles are not being followed, follow the procedures outlined in the rostering principles. This starts with advising the Team Leader how the rostering principles are not being followed. If you do not get a satisfactory response from the Team Leader, you can escalate the issue to the Coordinator of Area Respite, and then the Manager of Area Respite. If you would like assistance please contact the CPSU NSW at .

Training and career development

Unfortunately, we needed to raise the issue that there has been a lack of training. Members have continued to complain to the CPSU NSW that they have received minimal training; little wonder there has been a high turnover of staff. The CPSU NSW wants to ensure that the skilled transferred staff keep these skills and continue to gain more skills.

HWNS advised it has been working on mandatory training for staff that will be provided and has agreed to the CPSU NSW’s request for a copy of the list of the mandatory training. It has been emphasised for training to be provided in person, not just via Skype. This includes training on how to use the HWNS computer system. If you have any training suggestions that we can put to HWNS, please email them to.

End of the two-year guarantee

Rumours have been flying about what will be happening at the end of the two-year guarantee period. We have continually been asking HWNS to advise us of what its intentions are. It has maintained it is unsure of its intentions. It is beginning to determine how it would like to proceed and would meet with the CPSU NSW early next year to discuss further.

What we can tell you:

  • Your conditions will not immediately expire and you will be put on different conditions at the end of the two-year guarantee period.
  • To change your conditions, they need to initiate enterprise bargaining to create an enterprise agreement. This is a process, HWNS cannot just decide what conditions to put you on.
  • You cannot just have your employment terminated.
  • You will not immediately at the end of the two-year period have to reapply for your jobs.
  • HWNS will be looking to have an enterprise agreement that covers not just their NSW business but also Victoria and Queensland.

Know someone who isn’t a member?

A strong union means better outcomes for all members. Forward this bulletin to your colleagues and encourage your workmates to JOIN the CPSU NSW today. 

Having your union and its collective strength behind you in the workplace is the only way to make sure you get fair outcomes for everyone.