Thursday, 15 December 2022

Latest news from the Sydney University Branch of the CPSU NSW

Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations update

Medical retirement

Currently university management can medically retire someone who has an ongoing medical condition that maybe harmful to themselves or to others and/or is affecting their performance. Therefore, if a staff member is informed by HR that they are to be medically retired, then they only need to be given four weeks’ notice.

The CPSU NSW bargaining team has successfully negotiated to extend this notification period to six months in the new agreement. In addition, the new agreement will allow an affected staff member a support person, and the option to submit a medical report from their GP. It should lead to improved management of mental health training.

Medical retirement can also be triggered by management when a staff member takes 20 or more sick days over the year. However, the CPSU NSW made strong critical arguments in relation to recent local management processes involving Independent Medical Examinations (IME), which can be a precursor to medical retirement, leading to the university agreeing to the requirement that HR be involved in such processes. This should reduce the chances of staff being compelled to undergo IMEs and should prevent action being taken against staff unless they are genuinely unable to continue their roles at the university. The university will be required to inform any staff member that is subjected to medical retirement that they are entitled to have a support person throughout the process.

Should you be told that you are in danger of medical retirement, or approached regarding the need for an IME, please contact your delegate.

Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) negotiations will recommence in February.

Car parking issue

On 1 November, the new arrangements commenced in relation to the 14 parking areas that have been set aside on campus for staff use only between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.  Feedback from members indicated an immediate and significant improvement in available parking spots on campus; see this Yammer link . We are still in discussions with management regarding the university introducing a Pay As You Go (PAYG) parking system to replace the current annual permit system and the increased associated costs.

Women’s Officer report

The CPSU NSW EBA team has aimed to significantly improve conditions for women at the University of Sydney. After some protracted negotiations, we have achieved some gains as follows:

  • Menstruation and Menopause Leave Staff will be able to access personal leave for illness caused by menstruation or menopause without documentation for absences of less than five working days.
  • Assistive Reproduction Health Services Personal leave provisions have been added for services such as IVF.
  • Expansion to Flexible Working Arrangements Chronic conditions have been added to this provision to ensure consistency across the university as well as to comply with best practice guidelines from equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination bodies.
  • Improvements to Parental Leave We were successful in negotiating for staff to have the option to equitably distribute parental leave between both parents who work at the university.

There have been other gains in Domestic Violence Leave and the Sexual Harassment clause, which I will detail in the next issue.  Please feel free to contact Rachelle Down, Women’s Officer  , with issues that affect you.

Employment conditions you may not be aware of

Under the current EBA, the university allocates at least $2 million each year to fund programs and activities to assist Professional Staff to develop the skills and expertise required to achieve their ‘next step’ career development goals. This is called the Professional Staff Development Fund. The fund may be used for programs and activities such as courses of study, training programs, scholarships, conference attendance and external secondments and the associated costs of staff replacement. The fund is NOT designed for your manager to send you on a random course, it is entirely designed to allow you to identify and undergo training that you believe will assist the next steps in your career development. As such, it need not be tied to activities you undertake in your current role.

As the professional Staff Development Fund is centrally held, such training does not affect your local unit’s budget! Take up, particularly at HEO levels 1-5 is slow, so we encourage you to take advantage of the fund! For more information go to

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday, and all the best for the new year.

Know someone who is not a member of the CPSU NSW?

Ask them to join online HERE.

Want to network with other Professional Staff? You can do so in this private Facebook group.

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University of Sydney CPSU NSW Branch Committee

Please contact one of our delegates if you have any questions

President Grant Wheeler

Vice President Ivan Coates

Secretary Patrick O’Mara

Assistant Secretary Ruth Livingstone

Women’s Officer Rachelle Down

Membership Registrar Holly Eades

Branch Delegates

Norton Roughley

Peter Adams

Virginia Hilyard

Lachlan Grant

Matthew Etherton

Al Yap