Wednesday, 8 February 2023

CPSU NSW Update: Staff transitioning off the Community Living Award (CLA)

Members will be aware the Community Living Award (copied-State award) expires on 8 March 2023. The CPSU NSW has been meeting with CPA to ensure the smooth transition between employment instruments.

Another meeting with CPA was held on Thursday, 2 February 2023. At this meeting, CPA indicated that the majority of affected staff have submitted their completed contracts.

Remuneration Packaging Nominations and Leave Cashing-in Nominations are still to be received, however, the number unreturned is steadily decreasing.

While members seem comfortable with the process to date, enquiries have been received on a number of matters.

The CPSU NSW raised the following items for discussion at our latest meeting.

  1. Remuneration packaging/salary sacrifice – the mandatory nature of salary packaging has been queried.

    The CPSU NSW is in the process of obtaining legal advice on the mandatory requirement to enter into a remuneration packaging arrangement. Once the advice is finalised, the CPSU NSW will advise members and raise any issues with CPA directly. If you have concerns about the mandatory requirement to enter into a remuneration packaging arrangement, please contact the CPSU on 1300 772 679.

  2. Shared benefit – union members have raised concerns about the shared benefit of the tax concession with CPA. Members view this as an “excessive cost”. Again, legal advice is being sought about the requirement to share the benefit of the tax concession with CPA.
  3. Response time to employee inquiries – members advise that advice from CPA to their queries is not always received in a timely fashion. Feedback also indicates that the answers provided are sometimes vague or do not directly address their questions.

    There is also some concern about the level of self-service staff are required to undertake.

    We take on board that CPA cannot provide financial advice. The CPSU NSW is in the same predicament.

    Members are strongly encouraged to seek independent financial advice so that they can make informed decisions when indicating their preferences for salary packaging and the cashing out of leave.

    If you are advised by your financial advisor that you will be financially worse off after the transition to the CPA Enterprise Agreement due to the mandatory requirement to enter into a remuneration packaging arrangement, please contact the CPSU on 1300 772 679.

    The union also raised that seeking independent legal/financial advice for members is challenging due to their workplace being a 24/7/365 operation. This led to discussion about flexibility of deadlines.

    CPA management indicated that the relevant forms can be lodged up to 8 March 2023 and the deadlines were set by CPA to ensure payments are not disrupted during the transition.

  4. Provision of pro-forma contracts – CPSU NSW has requested de-identified contract templates for all transitioning staff. This will assist in guiding members prior to submission of completed contracts with CPA.

Our request was initially rejected however, the union pressed the point and CPA has agreed to re-consider their decision and provide advice accordingly.

Salary Packaging Nominations & Cashing-Out Leave Nominations

The CPA management team also advise that there are some staff who still have not lodged paperwork associated with mandatory salary packaging or leave cash-out options. CPA management have advised us that where an employee does not make a nomination the default position will apply.

This means that these staff will be issued an Eziway card for salary packaging and your leave cash outs will be at the highest marginal tax rate.

You are able to modify your salary packaging arrangements at a later date. However, once your leave is cashed out, you will no longer be able to benefit from the FBT year (which ends in March) for your leave cash outs.

The new FBT year will recommence on 1 April but by that point, the benefit for the 2022-2023 FBT year will have passed.

The CPSU NSW encourages members to seek independent financial advice to ensure you maximise your benefits prior to transition date of 8 March 2023 and make the most of any available taxation benefit.

If you are having issues with rostering preventing you from seeking financial advice on these arrangements, please contact the CPSU on 1300 772 679 and we can approach CPA management to see if they can make an adjustment to your roster.