Recreational Leave Dispute - SA Health

19 April 2017

When these employees applied for recreational leave they were surprised to be paid for each day of their leave either more or less than the normal hours they were working. SA Health and Shared Services referred to this as “averaging” but it was in fact an allocation of the accumulated hours of leave over a year against the stated requirement to provide four weeks leave, no more, no less.

Shared Services were instructed to apply this methodology by SA Health, though the practise is not used by other agencies.

The PSA advised SA Health that from 1 July 2016, when its employees covered by the South Australian Public Sector Wages Parity Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2014 came under the provision of Part 7 of the Public Sector Act 2009 and thus importantly Commissioner’s Determination 3.1 Employment Conditions – Hours of Work Overtime and Leave this practise must cease. However without advice to the PSA or consultation SA Health sought from the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment and was granted a temporary dispensation from applying this Determination in respect “Leave Averaging for certain employees”.

This dispensation was granted to allow SA Health time to transition to the correct method.

The PSA did not consider that SA Health were acting in good faith and advised their Chief Executive and the Commissioner that the PSA would refer the matter to the Equal Employment Commission because those most adversely affected were mothers returning from part-time maternity leave to full time work and were then required to take some of their four weeks of annual leave with a loss of pay.

The Commissioner has now directed that SA Health must work towards complying with Commissioner’s Determination 3.1 and the PSA has been provided with time lines for implementation in a “Transition From Annual Leave Averaging Model to Shared Sector Model”. The intention is for this to be implemented by 1 November 2017.

The PSA and SA Health have established regular meetings so that the PSA can be advised of progress commencing on 1 May 2017 (May Day).

If members are concerned that mistakes may have occurred with the calculation of their leave entitlement the PSA suggest that in the first instance they request an audit of their leave records from Shared Services and to advise the PSA of this request.