Thursday, 14 March 2019

The Benevolent Society 12 March 2019 Round Table Report

The Benevolent Society – Access to Flex – March 2019

Dear member,

The CPSU NSW met with The Benevolent Society (TBS) along with employee representatives, the ASU and United Voice for the second “Round Table” Peak Body Meeting on 12 March 2019.

Agenda items covered the upcoming Reconciliation Action Plan, Ageing and its connection to TBS culture, workplace adjustment, flexible working and TBS’s approach to change.

TBS will be launching its Reconciliation Action Plan in April. The plan is to encourage, develop and increase understanding and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island employees throughout TBS. Based on three pillars of Respect, Relationships and Opportunities, the plan will become part of business as usual with measurements and accountability being embedded in normal operations of TBS.

This is a great step forward for TBS and its efforts to improve and increase inclusion and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and utilise their skills and expertise.

In recognising that TBS’s workforce in Aged Care are, at times, isolated from the rest of TBS due to the working conditions, TBS has committed to working on including and recognising the work and efforts put in by these staff. Senior management, including Josh Keech, have offered to attend a run with the some of the workers in Aged Care to get firsthand insight into the day-to-day operations.

The CPSU NSW raised the option for TBS to hold regular group inductions for new staff and include representatives from all the service streams to provide an overview of TBS. This would provide the CPSU NSW and the other unions a chance to interact with new staff at the sessions as well.

Workplace adjustment for disabilities, chronic issues and return to work has been raised by the CPSU NSW members. The CPSU NSW raised this with TBS and the issues of some of you in accessing reasonable adjustments and, in some cases, emergency plans. If you require reasonable adjustment to your work environment, raise your needs with your manager and Employment Relations. If you are concerned or unsatisfied with the response, please contact your CPUS NSW.

The CPSU NSW and other attendees of the Round Table were provided the current Flexible Work Practice Policy of TBS. This policy is from before the transfer of staff from ADHC to TBS and does not contain anything on Flex Time.

Your CPSU NSW raised some specific examples of when Flex Time has not been handled by TBS in line with your Copied State Award and TBS acknowledged that it is not being implemented fairly or consistently across TBS. The other unions and employee reps provided further support of the failure of the Flexible Work Practice Policy and its impact on the other streams of TBS.

Josh Keech stated TBS is invested in flexible work practices and wants to see it work.

The CPSU NSW expressed the frustration from staff that this is not the case. Flex Time is being declined with little to no reason provided. The CPSU NSW has pushed, again, for clarity around Flex Time, a consistent approach by all Disability Service management and for operational requirements to be articulated and explained if Flex Time is declined. This was supported by the other unions and employee reps to be expanded to all aspects of Flexible Working Practices across TBS.

If you are having Flex Time declined, document your experiences and provide the CPSU NSW details and we will approach TBS with case examples.

Approach to Change within TBS at this time is that it has not, as yet, made definitive decisions in relation to the “new Operating Model”. TBS is of the opinion that there are some roles that are unsustainable in the NDIS funding model and has indicated its intentions to try and retain as many staff as it can. Retraining and redeployment or secondments to more sustainable areas of TBS have been, and will continue to be, offered.

All transferred staff are still within the two-year employment guarantee period and cannot be made redundant or transferred into a new role without consent. Your current terms and conditions are still secure.

TBS has advised it wants to hold off on Enterprise Bargaining until the New Operating model is implemented. This means your current terms and conditions of employment will stay as they are with the National Wage Case directing your wage increase in July 2019.

The CPSU NSW has requested that all dates for future Round Table meetings be scheduled to allow us sufficient time to consult with you.

What can I do in the meantime?

If you have any industrial issues you believe should be raised by the CPSU NSW at the next Round Table, please forward details to your delegate or by writing to ">.

If you don’t have a local Delegate and would like to become more involved with the CPSU NSW and your workplace, please contact your CPSU NSW Organiser or the Member Support Centre on
1300 772 679

Ask your colleagues to stand with you by joining CPSU NSW today. They can JOIN ONLINE at