Workloads and breaks: Your rights at St Elizabeth's

HSU Organiser Marion Jennings attended St Elizbeth Home on Tuesday where staff raised concerns about workload issues and missing breaks. Both issues affect your wellbeing and should be taken seriously.

Staff stated that they regularly come to work early before their rostered shift to get a ‘head-start’ so that they are able to complete all tasks required or stay back after their shift had finished to complete documentation.

By doing this not only are staff not being paid for work that you are doing, but you are at risk that any injuries that might be sustained whilst working outside your rostered hours may not be covered by workers compensation. 

Workload Management should be addressed as per your enterprise agreement. There are steps to be followed in raising matters of workload.

  1. Discuss the issue with your immediate supervisor.
  2. Refer the matter to senior management.
  3. Refer to the service manager.

Note, the outcome at each level and proposed solutions should be recorded in writing and shared with employees.

Workload management MUST also be an agenda item at meetings at least quarterly. Minutes should be recorded as well as actions to resolve the workload issues. 

Breaks are your entitlement. If you are not taking your breaks, you are losing hard earned money. You could also be putting your physical and mental health at risk. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that you are able to take your break.  

You are entitled to a 10-minute break for each 4 hours you work. These are paid breaks and a meal break of 30-minutes (unpaid) in your shift. You should not work more than 5 hours without a meal break.

We are writing to your employer to raise these concerns and ask that they take steps to address both issues. In the meantime, if you have any questions or other concerns, please contact Marion Jennings via email marion.jennings@hsu.asn.au or the HSU Member Services Division on 1300 478 679.