Working Arrangements for Legal Practitioners are Identical to Other Workers

As part of the recent PSUWA negotiations agreement was reached to consolidate the working arrangements for Legal Practitioners in the Tasmanian State Service Award (TSSA), the same Award that most other workers in Justice are employed under.  This change removed any ambiguity about the working arrangements for Legal Practitioners that existed previously.

What does this mean?

Fulltime TSSA employees are engaged to work a 36.75 hour week, to be worked between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Friday.  This equates to a 7 hour 21 minute working day.  Any time worked outside of this is overtime – time in excess of 7 hours 21 minutes in a day is overtime, time worked on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday is overtime, time worked before 7am or after 7pm is overtime.

An employee and their employer may agree to work their hours under a flexitime arrangement.  Where an employee works flexitime, they can work up to 10 hours in a day as ordinary hours as long as those hours are worked between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Friday.  When working flexitime an employee can accrue additional hours worked that they can take off, but those accrued hours must be managed such that a maximum credit/debit of 10 hours is carried forward from one 4 week cycle to the next cycle. 

Where circumstances exist where peaks and troughs in work can’t be adequately managed within this 10-hour cap, employees may agree to alternate flexitime arrangements that include a longer cycle (more than 4 weeks) and/or a higher cap (more than 10 hours).  In these cases, the arrangement must be documented and a copy provided to the CPSU.  Union members have a right to be represented by their union if such an arrangement is to be negotiated.

Where an employee works overtime, they are entitled to be paid that overtime at the relevant penalty rate.  The employee may choose to take the overtime they work as time off in lieu (TOIL).  If they choose to take the overtime as TOIL, and they have not taken that TOIL (or reached a documented agreement on when the TOIL is to be taken) within 28 days of the TOIL being accrued, the TOIL must be paid to the employee at the relevant penalty rate. 

It should be noted that other than an employee agreeing to accrue TOIL in lieu of overtime, there is no other use of TOIL within the TSSA.  There is also no salary cap on entitlement to overtime, all TSSA employees are entitled to be paid overtime.

What if I have been required to work outside these arrangements?

These are your Award entitlements – you have a right to them.  If you are not paid strictly according to the Award you have a right to claim those Award entitlements.  You can do this by talking with your union who will initially seek agreement from your employer, but if your employer doesn’t agree to pay those entitlements the union can lodge in the Tasmanian Industrial Commission who can order your employer to pay.  Claims for unpaid Award entitlements can be made for up to 7 years in the past.

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