Conditions that let you live your life

Flexible working arrangements and work/life balance are important to our members, their families and the communities they live in. Being able to access leave entitlements is key.

The CPSU helps members find out more about your rights to flexible working arrangements as well as the entitlements you have earned. We listen to what parents and carers say they need to do their jobs well and, together, we are fighting for conditions critical to your job satisfaction, regardless of caring and other responsibilities.

Here’s how the CPSU is making a difference:

Heartless decision reversed

A CPSU member was denied compassionate leave to attend to her dying father because he did not ‘contract or develop’ a life threatening illness as specified in the agreement - her father had the cancer for a number of years and so his final illness was not deemed unexpected.

The CPSU wrote to her Department advising that this decision was heartless and not a correct interpretation of the agreement. We argued that even anticipated serious illnesses were covered under the clause. The Department backed down and converted the member's leave from personal leave to compassionate leave.

The impacts of domestic violence

A CPSU member in the private sector recently contacted the CPSU Member Service Centre as she had run out of annual leave and needed time off work to deal with the impacts of domestic violence.

The member was about to commence leave without pay to deal with legal proceedings, medical appointments and new schooling arrangements, but decided to call the MSC to check on her options.

An MSC organiser immediately stepped in and contacted the member’s manager to make them aware of their company’s new Domestic Violence Leave policy which provides up to ten days paid leave for affected employees and allows for flexibility with work patterns and location on return to work.

With the assistance of the MSC, the member successfully gained access to paid leave and critical support when she needed it most.

A big win on sex discrimination

With the CPSU’s assistance, a member has won her sex discrimination case against a large APS department after it denied her a job on the grounds that she was a mother.

The member applied for a transfer to a different state. Her application was successful and she was all set to go to her new role when the Department sent her an email telling her that it was withdrawing the offer because she would be unable to do the job as well as care for her children.

But our member wasn’t having any of it and she lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission that she was being discriminated against on the basis of her sex. The CPSU Member Service Centre backed her and advised her during the conciliation process.

The CPSU feels strongly that the decision should have been the member’s and not the Department's to decide if she was able to fulfil the role and look after her children at the same time. It is not acceptable for a department to make decisions on behalf of their staff.

Although the agency admitted no wrongdoing, in conciliation the parties agreed to a settlement which included a $7000 payment.

Member Services Centre Director Melissa Payne said: “Unfortunately discrimination is still present in the workforce and employees need to be aware of it. We were more than happy to support the member in her case, especially given this was such a clear cut case against the Department.”

“The union believes  that regardless of whether it  someone’s race, religion, colour, caring responsibilities, or sexual orientation there is no room for discrimination in today’s public service. If a member suspects that they have been discriminated against then they should speak to the MSC.”