Unions want APS to lay out plans
Unions are calling for APS employers to reveal their coronavirus measures.
Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Melissa Donnelly has called for clear directions on paid leave, including paid miscellaneous leave or work from home arrangements, if workers are quarantined.
“But we are increasingly concerned that the government is refusing to provide clarity if casuals, contractors and labour hire workers will be covered by this arrangement,” she said.
“The CPSU is calling on the government to ensure that no worker is worse off and are provided with paid leave. This is not just a matter of equity, it is about the essential public health response.”
Professionals Australia, which represents Commonwealth scientists, pharmacists, translators, interpreters and engineers, has called for an open discussion about vital safety measures.
“We need open and transparent dialogue between agencies, their employees, industry and the community about the impacts so that we can all make the necessary plans,” the union's ACT branch director Dale Beasley told the Canberra Times.
“We know that agencies are developing contingency procedures like work-from-home arrangements, we also know that some agencies are restricting international and interstate travel, but detail is patchy.
“We need clarity on how these steps are going to impact service delivery and the functioning of workplaces.
“How is an aviation safety inspector, a biosecurity officer, a transport safety inspector, or a trade measurement officer meant to deliver their particular public service with restrictions like these in place?
“The impacted industries need answers to those questions, and so do the impacted employees.”
Several departments have told staff they have “business continuity plans” in place in case the government orders a complete lockdown.
Services Australia is one of the most critical agencies in the Government’s COVID-19 response.
The organisation says it has “plans in place to ensure our staff are well supported, and to ensure we continue to deliver services to our customers in the case of an escalation in the incidence of COVID-19”.
The Australian Services Union – which represents ATO officials – says it has put forth a range of measures to the ATO to prevent COVID-19 spreading.
New measures require bureaucrats at Defence to notify the department ahead of any business or personal travel overseas.
Some departments say they have provided health alerts, a specific COVID-19 intranet page and advisory posters.
Public service employees at Defence and ADF members can work from home if they show symptoms or contract COVID-19.