Two major issues are rearing their ugly heads for members in Patient Transport. The first is the inconsistent application of the Infectious Cleaning Allowance. The humble $6.13 payment enshrined in the Award triggers when transmission-based precautions are used with a patient in a shift. This means that, according to the Award, every PTO transporting patients while wearing PPE is eligible for this payment each shift, and has been since PPE protocols came into effect in December 2020 after the Regent’s Park COVID outbreak.
HealthShare would have members believe that the only time this allowance is triggered is when a confirmed infectious patient is transported. Maybe they should reread their Award. After the last two years, paying this modest allowance each shift where infectious precautions are used – with full back pay to December 2020 – is the least they can do.
The next challenge facing members in Patient Transport is the changes to Workers Compensation legislation currently being considered by the Upper House of NSW Parliament. Until recently, it was NSW Government policy that public-facing workers who contracted COVID were presumed to have contracted it at work when it comes to Workers Comp.
The new changes would allow the state’s insurer ICare to challenge any claim for compensation made by workers who assert they contracted COVID at work. This includes not only health workers like PTOs, but other vulnerable public-facing workers in retail, education, cleaning services and hospitality. Many of these workers who may be living week to week without a safety net.
It may be time again for members Patient Transport to lead the way, as they did in 2021, and stand up for their rights and the rights of other vulnerable workers at work. Show the bosses and other workers that members stick up for fairness.