Message from FACS Secretary about transfer employment conditions for all Home Care staff

July 29th, 2015

Message from Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary, NSW Department of Family and Community Services:

Dear Colleagues,

You may be aware the Government has been working to reach agreement with the Public Service Association (PSA), the union representing Home Care administration workers, on the employee conditions which will apply when Home Care moves to a non-government operator later in 2015.

On 20 July 2015, in the absence of an agreement with the PSA, the Government announced the same employee conditions will apply to all Home Care staff – both administration workers, and care workers.

The Government believes that all Home Care workers deserve some certainty during this period of transition.

In response, the PSA has published a bulletin for members which makes a number of inaccurate claims about the Government’s position and details of other Government transactions. It’s important that you’re aware of the facts.

Your entitlements

Employee entitlements and arrangements that are the responsibility of the new operator will be included in the contract between the Government and the new operator.

Each employee will receive a letter from the new operator detailing the terms and conditions of their new employment. The terms confirmed to employees, including terms about the employment guarantee, transferred leave arrangements, application of state award terms after transfer, superannuation and continuity of service, will form enforceable, contractual terms.

You’ll be able to rely on these terms being binding in your new employment after the transfer, and you or your representative – including your union - will be able to use these terms (together with continuing state award terms and the Fair Work Act) to protect your transferred entitlements.

During the employment guarantee period your award terms and conditions cannot be changed except by agreement with you, or someone acting on your behalf. If the new operator proposes a new enterprise agreement, then under the Fair Work Act employees will have a say on any proposed enterprise agreement and will be asked to vote.

In addition, employment cannot be terminated during the employment guarantee period except if there has been serious misconduct, or because of disciplinary action or unless the employee agrees.

The new operator will be bound by these terms, and you or your union representative will be able to use these terms (together with continuing state award terms and the Fair Work Act) to protect your transferred entitlements.

Other transfers

The transfer of Home Care is directly related to significant reforms being introduced in partnership with the Commonwealth Government to change the way in which people with disability are delivered services across Australia. The NSW Government's first priority is to ensure continuity of care for a vulnerable group of people in the community.

Transferring Home Care as a whole maximises continuity of care by ensuring our employees who support these services currently, continue to provide that same support.

The situation with Home Care is entirely different to the one that faced Sydney Ferries and is facing the electricity industry. As a result, the transfer terms are different.

For example, electricity workers will not receive a transfer payment – unlike Home Care workers who will receive up to eight weeks’ pay on a sliding scale based on completed years of service for ongoing staff.

The five year guarantee period for power employees is not an individual guarantee - it is for a minimum level of employment.  Also, the guarantee period starts from 1 July 2015 which means that it includes a period of time as a State owned corporation and as a private employer.

The transfer

The Home Care transfer process is based on a number of considerations, including the quality of services being maintained, continuity of support to clients, and the ability to transition our staff to the new provider.

The successful transition of the Home Care workforce is of vital importance to not only tens of thousands of Home Care clients, but also to communities and local economies across NSW, particularly in rural and regional areas.

We need many more workers in the disability sector. We will need at least 25,000 more workers to meet the demand created by the NDIS alone.

The PSA

The PSA has been invited to participate in a Working Group to be established by FACS which will address implementation issues for Home Care workers during the transfer process. We look forward to their engagement and our focus remains on protecting quality services for disability and aged clients, to keep Home Care as a whole, including Aboriginal Home Care, and to give Home Care staff the best long-term job prospects.

Apologies for the lengthy email - but I think it is important that you’re properly informed about exactly what is – and isn’t - happening.

If you have individual questions, please email workingtogether@facs.nsw.gov.au. Aboriginal staff may also email AboriginalWT@facs.nsw.gov.au

With my best regards,

Michael Coutts-Trotter

Secretary

NSW Department of Family and Community Services

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Page last modified by EH on June 13, 2017 at 9:07 am