TAFE & Adult Provision Improved conditions in disability MEA rollover

  • By Shane Wright
  • This article was published more than 8 months ago.
  • 19 Sep 2023

After months of waiting, on 18 August the new Victorian Disability Services (NGO) multi-employer agreement was approved by the Fair Work Commission. The agreement took effect on 25 August and will expire on 30 June 2024.

The agreement, jointly negotiated by AEU Victoria and the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU), covers disability employees in day and community-based services as well as residential care workers across 23 disability service providers. 

Over the next 10 months, the AEU, HACSU and employers will continue to lobby both federal and state governments for improved funding across the disability sector to enable further improvements to wages and conditions.

The agreement approval process was delayed because of two issues. The first was ensuring that the changes to the ‘broken shift clause’ did not disadvantage workers. To this end, employers agreed that:

An employee subject to clause 25.3, Preservation of existing shift work entitlements, may request that an annual reconciliation, or on cessation of employment if earlier, of shift penalties earned under this clause compared to what the employee would have earned under the Award occur. Any shortfall will be paid by the employer to the employee at the earliest opportunity. An employer will not unreasonably refuse such a request from an employee.

The second delay was because Statewide Autism Services Ltd (SASl), who had signed onto the agreement, was taken over by Independence Australia Group (IGA), who did not want to be a party to the agreement.

The current agreement is known as a ‘rollover agreement’, as it largely mirrors the conditions of its predecessor. Unlike most rollover agreements, however, this agreement includes a number of improved clauses relating to broken shifts; reproductive health; pregnancy loss; discipline processes; modes of employment, including access to PD and training for casual workers; safety; Employee Assistance Program access; damage and soiled clothing allowance; paid family violence leave; and fortnightly superannuation payments.

Additionally, employers have acknowledged that paperwork and administrative duties should be included within paid hours of work.

Over the next 10 months, the AEU, HACSU and employers will continue to lobby both federal and state governments for improved funding across the disability sector to enable further improvements to wages and conditions.

The unions and employers will continue to bargain during this time, with lobbying and improvements in mind, so the next agreement can set industry standard conditions that remain in effect for several years.

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