Unauthorised absence proposal

Thanks to everyone who participated in the recent consultation in relation to the Department’s proposal to reduce the number of days someone takes as an unauthorised absence before having a termination process commenced.

On Monday 24 July,  CPSU DVA organiser Steve Abboushi and I met with Roger Winzenberg, the Assistant Secretary for Business Support Services People and Security.  We met to discuss management’s proposal to reduce the amount of unauthorised absence required to trigger an action to terminate someone’s employment.

From the outset, we made it very clear that CPSU members believe that this proposal is a clear breach of the commitment to DVA staff made by the Secretary on 5 November 2016 that, despite the removal of some entitlements into policy, “the Department’s intent is not to reduce substantive entitlements”. 

While the Department did not agree with our position on this, the CPSU is concerned that any reduction to entitlements in the life of this Enterprise Agreement runs the risk of undermining the cultural change so integral to the DVA transformation. 

A key commitment of the DVA Leadership Compact is to “Communicate the context and mean what I say.  What I say will be accurate and honest.”.  CPSU members don’t understand how such a change could be contemplated given the commitment by the Secretary.

Section Council also believes that this proposal is not only a breach of the commitment made by the Secretary, as it is clearly a reduction in entitlements, but it is also a very significant change. The proposed change of an aggregate of 20 days to an aggregate of 10 days, and 28 consecutive days to 5 consecutive days is a very significant change.

At the meeting, Roger asked the union to present alternative figures and suggestions for improvements for the relevant policy.  Section Council will be discussing this at our August meeting so we can provide input in time for it to be agendaed at the next National Staff Consultative Forum meeting, which is in September. 

Anyone who has some suggestions for changes/additions/improvements to the current policy they would like us to include in our feedback to Roger should send them to me at Fiona.Duffy@dva.gov.au by COB Wednesday 16 August.