Recreational Leave Dispute (Part-Time Workers) Leave Averaging

02 November 2017

This long standing issue mainly affects SA Health employees who are part-time and whose hours of employment have fluctuated, i.e. are not consistent.

Over three years ago the PSA raised the concerns of our members with SA Health that their payment when taking leave was confusing and inconsistent with the hours that they were currently working per day.

An employee could, for example, be paid 10 hours pay for a day of leave or five hours for a day, when their normal hours were 7.5 hours per day. This resulted in employees receiving less or more days leave per year than they thought the had accumulated. This was referred to by Shared Services and SA Health as "averaging". Though employees were still paid for the hours of leave they had accumulated it was not in the way they had wanted or expected.

Over 300 Health members responded to a PSA survey of SA Health members advising the PSA that they had been adversely affected by the methodology and wanted it changed so that they could take their accrued leave and be paid at the hours they were currently working per day.

Though aware of the concerns of their employees and that this methodology resulted sometimes in mistakes and caused stress, confusion and sometimes financial hardships, SA Health would not change their methodology.

The PSA referred the issue to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet as a dispute. This resulted in the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment determining that this methodology must change.

This issue has been advised to members in a number of Information Updates, including the last update of 19 April 2017 which advised that the matter would be rectified and changed by 1 November 2017. Please see below:

On 31 October 2017 the PSA was advised that due to unforseen circumstances SA Health would not be able to make their forecasted deadline and the methodology will now not be changed until the end of February 2018.

The complications that have arisen are that another department (DCSI) recently realised that they needed to change the methodology for some employees, within SA Health, the complications and discussions that still need to occur with both the doctor's union and the nurse's union. The PSA had originally requested the changes only on behalf of our membership, however when the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment determined that the wrong methodology was being applied she insisted that it be rectified for all government employees.