Bulletin 6 – Improved offer by the Commissioner for Public Employment – Issued 20 August 2021

As reported in Bulletin 5, I made an offer to settle the PWC enterprise agreement negotiations on  15 July 2021.

After carefully considering the feedback provided by the Single Bargaining Unit as well as feedback provided directly by employees, I am pleased to advise that on Friday 20 August 2021 I made further improvements to my offer to settle the Power and Water enterprise agreement negotiations.

I am offering some further significant improvements to terms and conditions of service for Power and Water employees in a genuine attempt to settle negotiations and finalise bargaining.

Improved Offer for a new Power and Water Enterprise Agreement

The table below summarises the details of the improved offer, however if you would like to read the details of the offer, you can also read the details of the offer here.

Summary of the ‘Without Prejudice’ offer

Improved condition
Commitment if changes in the wages policy

  • Should there be a change to the Wages Policy during the term of the Agreement that provides for additional benefits above those contained in this offer (such as an increase to salaries above the value of the lump sum payment) these will be passed on through a determination

Improved condition
Kinship Obligation Leave

  • The Australian First Nation’s definition of kinship to be included in the Agreement
  • 5 days paid leave per annum to attend Sorry Business or related purposes

Improved condition
Increase in guaranteed hosted Apprentice intake

  • An increase to original offer of 5 guaranteed apprentices per annum to 8 each year. These will be in addition to any dual trade apprenticeship that are offered each year.

Improved condition
Include a guaranteed intake of Graduates and Trainees

  • Include a guaranteed intake of 2 graduates and 2 trainees each year

Improved condition
Timeframes for a number of proposed reviews

  • Time frames for the Fatigue Management, Single Person Task, and the Physical Impairment Management reviews outlined in my original offer to commence within 6 months of approval of the Agreement, and where reasonably practicable, and in consultation with unions, aim to be completed within 18 months of approval.

$4000 over 4 years (plus employer superannuation guarantee)

  • $1,000 bonus p.a.
  • $4,000 over 4 years
  • Counts for superannuation*
    Employer superannuation guarantee is applicable to the lump sum payment. Due to the rules of the defined benefit schemes, employer superannuation guarantee is not applicable to the lump sum paid to NTGPASS and CSS members

Improvements to leave provisions

  • Compassionate leave
    • Increased from 3 to 5 days in the case of death or life threatening illness of an immediate family member
  • Compassionate leave
    • new provision for 3 days paid leave on the occasion of the death of an extended family member (aunt, uncle, cousin) or in the case of miscarriage
  • Domestic and family violence leave provisions (currently uncapped access to miscellaneous leave)
    • extended to include sexual violence outside the domestic setting
  • By-Law provisions (Blood Donation Leave, Defence Leave and Leave to Engage in Voluntary Emergency Management Activities) included in the Agreement
  • NAIDOC leave
    • up to 3 hours of paid leave p.a. to attend a NAIDOC march & approved activities, where TOIL or flextime are not available
  • Gender Transition leave
    • Support for eligible employees who wish to transition their gender.
    • access up to 12 months leave, inclusive of 4 weeks paid and 48 weeks unpaid leave
  • Health Screening leave
    • Improved provision -  2 hours paid leave per year for the purpose of undertaking a health screening test associated with a public health screening program
  • Leave to seek financial advice about transition for retirement
    • New provision
      • up to 2 hours paid leave p.a. for employees within 3 years of retirement age (currently 65)
      • § where TOIL or flextime are not available
  • Improved war service leave to recognise post war injury
  • Improved leave for voluntary emergency management activities
    • includes reasonable rest time

Improvements for parents

  • Builds on current generous, paid parental leave provisions
    (14 weeks after 12 months service, 18 weeks after 5 years services)
  • New   pre-natal leave provision
    • up   to 8 hours leave for pregnancy related medical appointments
  • Improved provision for employees returning from parental leave
    • right to return on a part-time basis for at least 6 months, where the employee so choses (replacing ‘right to request’)
  • Foster and Kinship carer leave
    • improved to provide 2 days paid leave to attend permanent care order interviews
  • Pre-adoption leave
    • improved  to provide paid leave to attend interviews or examinations required in order to obtain approval for the employee’s adoption of a child

Improvements and changes for casual employees

  • Minimum engagement period for casual employees (3 hours)
  • An increase in casual loading from 20% to 25%
  • Replacing the existing automatic conversion provisions, with principles enabling casual employees to request the conversion of their employment after 12 months

Flexible work improvements

  • Ability to purchase up to 8 weeks additional leave per year (currently 6 weeks) under rebranded Flexible Lifestyle Leave
  • All requests for flexible work, regardless of the circumstances, will require a response from the CEO (or delegate) within 21 days and may only be refused on reasonable business grounds.

Improved Performance Achievement Framework (PAF)

  • The existing framework will be maintained with improvements to clarify and address Operator progression based on the current Operator classification/stream which will not require a merit process to progress.

Inclusion of Power and Water specific provisions

  • Enshrining into your Agreement:
    • High Voltage Field Operator Allowance for regions
    • Appointment above the Base – Technical Coordinator and Technical
      Specialist designations
    • Appointment above the Base – Science and Engineering Professionals
      Annualised salary arrangements for Operators.

Fitness for Work provisions

  • The existing Fitness for Work provisions will be maintained in the Agreement with improvements to include references to fatigue management and physical impairment.

Use of Contractors for Core Work provisions

  • The existing Use of Contractors for Core Work provisions will be maintained in the Agreement and has been improved to include the implementation of a new committee to have oversight of consultation requirements related to the use of contractors for core work in regard to generation, transmission and distribution activities.

Extra Duty Allowance (EDA) improvements and clarification

  • It is proposed to retain EDA and pay on periods of paid parental leave on the basis that the clause is clarified to note public holiday provisions provided for under Availability Allowance will not apply to EDA.

Grand parenting the Industry Specific Skills Allowance (ISSA)

  • It is proposed that all existing employees who are in receipt of ISSA on the day prior to the commencement of a new Agreement will retain the allowance.  In addition, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will have discretion to approve the allowance for difficult or hard to fill positions based on the recruitment and retention objectives of Power and Water

Flexible Working Hours (Flextime)

  • It is proposed to bring flextime provisions into line with the maximum allowable flexitime accrual from five days to two, consistent with the NTPS Flextime Policy in favour of highlighting the increase in purchased leave arrangements. In addition, the provisions relating to forfeiture of flextime will be removed from the Agreement.

Accrual of additional recreation leave

  • It is proposed to remove the ability to accrue an extra week of recreation leave through additional hours and, to emphasise that employees will be able purchase additional leave, of up to 8 weeks per annum, through the rebranded “flexible lifestyle leave”.
  • Additional commitments

    • Power and Water also commit to:
      • reviewing and updating the current fatigue management procedure with consultation;
      • the development of physical impairments management procedure with consultation;
      • the development of a single person task procedure with consultation;
      • ensuring frontline employees are consulted during any review following a natural disaster;
      • commence job evaluations of Operator classification positions within six months of commencement of the Agreement.

Inclusion of regional resourcing strategy to be developed

  • To provide for development of a regional resourcing strategy within 12 months and a commitment to commence implementation of the strategy as soon as reasonably practicable following development.

Technical Coordinators to have access to Flextime/Work Life Balance options

  • To provide Technical Coordinators access to work life balance options such as flextime arrangements to achieve a Rostered Day Off or other flexible work arrangements without having to demonstrate they have completed the 265 additional hours component.

Australian Defence Force (ADF) service to be recognised for prior service

  • To recognise ADF service of employees as prior service for Long Service Leave purposes subject to current recognition of service requirements contained in PSEM By-law 8 eg breaks in service.

Improved conditions for call out and overtime

  • To address alarms/callouts of less than 3 or 4 hours (which provides ability for manager to stand an employee down for rest break), and minimum payments for alarms, and on call rosters to ensure no employee is required to work more than two consecutive weeks.

New separate clauses for Apprentices / Graduates / Trainees

  • To emphasise specific provisions for Apprentices, Graduates and Trainees and clarifying the employment provisions which apply in the Agreement

Hosted Apprentices from an NTPS apprentice employer (or similar)

  • Hosted apprentices currently have their prior service recognised for LSL purpose however, will be entitled to new conditions of:
    • three weeks personal leave on commencement
    • recognition of service for parental leave purposes (subject to a break in service no less than two months)
    • access to the Employee Assistance Program.

Highlighting of health and safety

  • To address the claims related to health and safety, it is proposed to:
    • have a single rebranded clause providing for all safety related provisions under the Agreement
    • separate headings for safety related elements
    • commitments around the maintenance of a Work Health and Safety Management System (which PWC already has in place) committing to regular meetings, employee representation and appropriate communications along with a mechanism to escalate where issues are identified.

Retention of clauses/provisions

  • To address the claims related to the retention of existing clauses or provisions, it is proposed to:
    • retain the existing clause regarding workloads
    • maintain the existing requirement to consult prior to a decision being made
    • retain of the existing clause providing for no involuntary redundancies to occur directly as a result of implementing the Agreement.

Next Step

I have asked Union representatives in bargaining to provide me with feedback on the improved offer by Friday 27 August 2021.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

Information on bargaining in general can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
20 August 2021

Last updated: 10 May 2022

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