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Absences Due to Road Closures

IN THE few days the union has received enquiries from a number of Members who were unable to attend work on Monday as a result of official road closures or because unexpected school closures meant children needed to be cared for.

When events such as this have occurred in the past the government has put out some clear advice so everyone knows where they stand. During the fires in 2013 the then government extended the provisions of special leave to ensure those unable to attend work were not docked pay. Unfortunately the response on this occasion has been varied.

Yesterday TasTAFE advised staff unable to attend work that they must take either recreation leave or TOIL. We understand DPIPWE took a similar approach. Education advised staff who were unable to reach their nearest workplace safely that there would be no need to apply for leave however, they also advised staff who were unable to attend work because they needed to care for children whose school was closed that they couldn’t take carers leave.

Interestingly the Head of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry told ABC viewers last night that they were advising their business members that time lost was neither recreation leave nor carers leave and that business would effectively just need to accept staff couldn’t get to work safely and pay them for the day. It’s a strange world where the TCCI is a more caring and proactive employer than the Tasmanian Government.

The CPSU has been in contact with government seeking clarification and an extension of the special leave provisions utilized during the 2013 fires. In a response last night the Head of State Service didn’t not agree to extend special leave but did ask that Agencies take a flexible, case-by-case approach. He also effectively refuted the claim by Departments like Education that carers leave couldn’t be taken.

Given the lack of clarity the CPSU provides Members the following advice:

  1. If you were unable to attend work because of an official road closure you should complete the form here (notice of inability to attend normal place of work)  providing details of when you were absent and the road closure that restricted your attendance and provide it to your manager.
  2. If you were unable to attend work because the school your child attends was closed or because an official road closure stopped you from delivering your child to school you should apply for carers leave because you needed to care for members of your immediate family or household who require care due to an unexpected emergency.
  3. Members should not apply for recreation leave, nor should they use accrued TOIL or flextime. Recreation leave cannot be debited without an application from the employee. If members have difficulties in regard to this they should contact the union for assistance.

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