Department of Health and Ageing Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014

Part E – Hours of Work and Flexibility

Page last updated: 31 October 2011

40. General

40.1 All Staff, including Managers , have a mutual responsibility for managing their working hours and patterns, including leave planning, flextime arrangements, and minimising additional hours where possible. The provisions below are designed to be sufficiently flexible for Staff to meet business requirements and balance their personal needs.

40.2 A Staff member and their Manager will work together to manage hours of work to ensure that a Staff member is not working excessive hours without the opportunity to take time off either as flextime (for APS1-6 and their equivalents) or in the case of Executive Level Staff (and their equivalents), as Executive Level time off. Further information about managing working hours is available in the department’s Hours of Work and Overtime Guidelines.

41. Hours of work

41.1 All Staff have access to flexible working hours. For APS1-6 (and their equivalents), these flexible working hours will be accessed through the flextime scheme.

41.2 For the purposes of calculating pay, attendance and flextime purposes, ordinary hours of work for full-time Staff is 150 hours over the four week settlement period commencing on a payday Thursday. This equates to an average of 7 hours 30 minutes per day.

Hours of work of part-time staff

41.3 For part-time Staff, ordinary hours are those agreed in the Staff member’s part-time work agreement within the provisions of clause 50.

41.4 Part-time Staff members are eligible to accumulate flextime for the duty performed in excess of the agreed ordinary hours over the settlement period. Clause 46.3 contains overtime provisions for part-time Staff.

Working patterns

41.5 The pattern of hours by which a Staff member meets their ordinary hours of duty is a matter of agreement between the Staff member and their Manager. A Staff member will not normally be required to:
  1. work more than 10 hours ordinary time on any day;
  2. work more than five consecutive hours without a break of at least 30 minutes; or
  3. commence work on any day without having at least 10 hours minimum break from the previous day’s work, without specific approval from their Manager .
41.6 Where this does occur, the overtime and time in lieu provisions at clause 46 and/or meal allowance provisions at clause 36 may apply.

41.7 In discussing working patterns other issues on which a Manager and their Staff should reach agreement include:
  1. In what, if any, exceptional circumstances large flex credits may be carried over or cashed out at ordinary time rates (eg credits in excess of 30 hours), under clause 42.6.
  2. The amount of flex time which may be taken in a settlement period.
  3. Any other relevant issues for the Staff member, team or Manager, which may include any periods that may require coverage by at least one member of the team.

Insufficient work and flextime

41.8 A Manager may require a Staff member not to work hours in addition to ordinary hours where there is insufficient work. That is, a Manager may require a Staff member not to accumulate flextime where such accumulation cannot be justified by the Staff member’s workload.

Bandwidth

41.9 The bandwidth of hours in which a Staff member will work their ordinary hours is 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, Monday to Friday. The department’s business hours for the public are 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.

Work outside bandwidth

41.10 Where a Staff member requests to work their ordinary hours outside the bandwidth e.g. on Saturday or Sunday, the Staff member may do so, subject to operational requirements, with the agreement of their Manager . Any hours worked on this basis will be considered ordinary hours and will not attract overtime.

Recording attendance

41.11 All Staff are required to record their working hours.
Top of page

42. Flextime scheme

42.1 Flextime is a system of flexible working hours’ arrangements that enables a Staff member and their Manager to vary working hours, patterns and arrangements to provide maximum organisational flexibility with benefit to Staff, clients and the department.

42.2 Staff and Managers are required to regularly discuss and manage flextime accumulation and utilise flextime credits as time off.

APS 1-6 (and their equivalents)

42.3 APS 1-6 Staff (and their equivalents) are eligible to accumulate flextime for duty performed in excess of their ordinary hours of work (over the settlement period), but which does not attract overtime.

42.4 A Staff member may choose to vary their pattern of attendance from time to time in order to meet personal needs. As part of this process, Staff members may take flextime as a part or whole day absence, subject to agreement with their Manager.

Excess flex credits

42.5 At the end of a settlement period, where the Staff member’s flex credit exceeds 20 hours credit the Staff member, in consultation with their Manager will discuss and mutually agree a plan to reduce flex credits. This discussion will include, but not be limited to;
  1. identification of opportunities to take flextime,
  2. operational needs of the department,
  3. consideration of the Staff member’s work/life balance and work pressure
  4. working hours,
  5. patterns of attendance.

Cash out of credits exceeding 30 hours

42.6 At the end of a settlement period, flex credits exceeding 30 hours may be cashed out at ordinary time rates where, due to organisational requirements, the Staff member’s Manager cannot envisage an opportunity for the Staff member to use those credits in the settlement period. Where the Manager has authorised cashing out of excess credits, the Manager will be required to advise People Branch of such authorisation in writing.

Cash out of credits exceeding 37.5 hours

42.7 At the request of the Staff member, flex credits exceeding 37.5 hours will be automatically cashed out.

Flex debit balance

42.8 Staff may carry over a maximum of 10 hours flex debit accumulated in any settlement period into the next settlement period.

42.9 In circumstances where the maximum debit is exceeded at the end of a settlement period, the Staff member will endeavour to reduce the debit to the maximum allowable (or lower) over the next settlement period.

Deduction of flex debit from salary

42.10 Should this not occur, the amount by which the maximum is exceeded shall be treated as leave without pay and an appropriate deduction made from the Staff member’s salary in accordance with the Chief Executive’s Instructions.

Flex balances at cessation

42.11 Prior to cessation of employment, the Staff member’s Manager should provide opportunities to enable the Staff member to balance any flex credits or debits. Staff members should also take all reasonable steps to balance their flex debit or credit. Where flex credits are outstanding at the cessation of employment with the department the flex credit will be paid to the Staff member at ordinary time rates. Where flex debits are outstanding at the cessation these will be recovered as part of the termination payment, in accordance with the Chief Executive’s Instructions.

Reversion to Standard Day

42.12 Where a Staff member has failed to comply with the provisions of flextime, their Manager may remove the Staff member from flextime for a specified period and the Staff member will revert to working the Standard Day. Access to flexible working arrangements including flextime will be restored where the Manager is satisfied that the Staff member will maintain satisfactory attendance patterns.
Top of page

43. Additional hours

43.1 A Staff member may refuse to work additional hours (extra hours or directed overtime) where such additional hours are unreasonable. Such refusal will not prejudice the Staff member’s employment. For determining whether additional hours are reasonable or unreasonable, the following will be taken into account:
  1. any risk to the Staff member’s health and safety from working the additional hours;
  2. the Staff member's personal circumstances including any family responsibilities;
  3. the needs of the department;
  4. whether the Staff member is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for, or a level of remuneration that reflects an expectation of working additional hours;
  5. any notice given by the department of any request or requirement to work the additional hours;
  6. any notice given by the Staff member of the Staff member’s intention to refuse to work the additional hours;
  7. the nature of the Staff member’s role and the Staff member’s level of responsibility;
  8. whether the additional hours are in accordance with clause 41 - Hours of work;
  9. any other relevant matter.

44. Executive Level time off

44.1 The department recognises the focus on the achievement of outcomes by Executive Level Staff (and their equivalents) as senior professionals of the department. The achievement of organisational outcomes may involve considerable work effort, variable work hours and on occasions a requirement to work over and above normal working hours. It is important that these efforts and contributions are recognised by the department, as well as the need to balance the achievement of organisational outcomes and a Staff member’s personal commitments.

44.2 Executive Level Staff (and their equivalents) have access to flexible working hours in accordance with clause 40. Executive Level remuneration recognises that some additional demands may be placed upon them.

44.3 Executive Level Staff and their Managers will work together to manage workloads and working hours, including making arrangements as to when any Executive Level time off will be taken.

44.4 Where operational needs require an Executive Level Staff member to work additional hours in excess of their ordinary hours for a sustained period, including a critical incident response, the Staff member and their Manager will agree on arrangements for time off to recognise the additional effort. This will be recorded in the department’s timekeeping systems.

44.5 Examples of the type of situations when clause 44.4 applies are when operational needs require a Staff member to:
  1. work outside the bandwidth, on a weekend, public holiday or during closedown period; or
  2. work a sustained working pattern that is significantly above and beyond the normal working week; or
  3. (for part-time Executive Level Staff) work on their scheduled day off, or significantly above and beyond their ordinary hours over a working week.
44.6 To minimise any negative impact on a Staff member’s health and wellbeing Executive Level time off should be taken as soon as practical, subject to operational requirements.

44.7 Time off for Executive Level Staff is available on an hour for hour basis for official domestic travel only. All other Executive Level time off will not be on an hour for hour basis.

44.8 Regardless of the bandwidth, Executive Level Staff members are required to break for at least 30 minutes after five hours of continuous work. Managers should not give approval for continuous work for longer periods.

44.9 Where situations cannot be resolved locally, People Branch will provide assistance to achieve appropriate working arrangements and facilitate resolution of the issue.

44.10 Executive Level Staff members are not eligible for overtime payments except in exceptional circumstances.

Time off for official travel

44.11 To minimise any negative impact on an Executive Level Staff member’s personal commitments, wherever possible the department encourages Staff to travel within the bandwidth.

44.12 Executive Level Staff will receive Executive Level time off at hour for hour, for the period where the time spent travelling on official domestic travel exceeds the Standard Day, excluding the usual time taken for the Staff member to travel to and from their regular place of work.

44.13 Existing local travel arrangements for international travel will continue to apply.

45. National Incident Room

45.1 When the Secretary activates the National Incident Room (NIR), Staff will be compensated for all hours worked during the Incident Response in accordance with the Agreement.

45.2 The Secretary will specify mandatory breaks for periods of extended duty. Mandated rest periods shall be provided as full days. NIR duties in excess of five continuous days of increased hours shall attract no less than two consecutive days free of all duty immediately following the Incident.
Top of page

46. Overtime

APS 1-6 (and their equivalents)

46.1 APS 1-6 level Staff (and their equivalents) are eligible for an overtime payment where they are required by their Manager to:
  1. perform work outside the bandwidth (inclusive of weekends and public holidays); or
  2. work in excess of 9.5 hours on any one day (Monday to Friday inclusive); whichever occurs first.

Executive Level (and their equivalents)

46.2 Executive Level Staff (and their equivalents) are not generally entitled to payment for overtime. However, the time off provisions in clause 44 will apply. Where appropriate, the Secretary may approve payment for additional hours worked.

Part-time staff

46.3 Part-time Staff at the APS 1-6 level (and their equivalents) are eligible for overtime for work performed at the direction of the Staff member’s Manager which is:
  1. not continuous with the Staff member’s agreed or specified hours of work; and/or
  2. beyond the total ordinary hours of work over the settlement period specified in the Staff member’s part-time work agreement.
46.4 A part-time Staff member who has not elected to receive flextime for work performed in excess of the agreed hours of duty over the settlement period will be eligible for overtime.

Travel not to count

46.5 Time spent travelling to or from work will not count as part of an overtime attendance.

Time in lieu (TIL)

46.6 If a Staff member chooses, the Staff member’s Manager may allow the Staff member to take TIL as a form of recompense for overtime duty as an alternative to overtime payment, subject to the provisions of this clause.

Calculation

46.7 Where overtime is worked, the rate of payment (or TIL, if the Staff member elects) is calculated at the following rates:
  1. Monday to Saturday: time and one half;
  2. Sunday: double time.

Hourly divisor

46.8 Calculations for a Staff member’s overtime entitlement will use a divisor of 37.5 hours to determine the Staff member’s hourly rate.

Public holidays

46.9 A Staff member who is directed to work overtime on a public holiday which falls on a weekday, will be paid overtime at double-time for duty outside of a Standard Day (for full time Staff) or the agreed pattern of hours (for part-time Staff). This rate also applies to Easter Saturday if it is not declared or prescribed as a public holiday. For duty within a Standard Day (or agreed pattern of hours for part-time Staff), overtime will be paid at single-time as Staff are already being paid for the public holiday.

46.10 Staff required to perform overtime during the annual closedown will be recompensed with overtime calculated at time and a half.

Non-continuous duty

46.11 Where a period of overtime is not continuous with ordinary duty, the minimum overtime payment is four hours at the relevant rate. Where the period of overtime is greater than four hours, payment will be made for the actual period worked at the relevant rate.

Continuous duty

46.12 Overtime is considered to be continuous with ordinary duty when a Staff member does not have a break, other than a meal break, between the periods of ordinary duty and overtime.

Multiple attendance

46.13 Where more than one attendance is required, the minimum overtime payment provision will not operate to increase a Staff member’s overtime payment beyond that which they would have received had they remained on duty from the commencing time of duty on one attendance, to the ceasing time of duty on a subsequent attendance.

46.14 Further information on overtime and TIL is available in the Overtime and Time in Lieu Guideline.
Top of page

47. Public holidays

47.1 Consistent with s.115 of the FW Act Staff will be entitled to the following public holidays:
  1. New Year's Day (1 January)
  2. Australia Day (26 January)
  3. Good Friday
  4. Easter Monday
  5. Anzac Day (25 April)
  6. The Queen's birthday holiday (on the day on which it is celebrated in a state or territory or a region of a state or territory)
  7. Christmas Day (25 December)
  8. Boxing Day (26 December)
  9. Any other day, or part-day, declared or prescribed by or under a law of a State or Territory to be observed generally within the State or Territory, or a region of the state or territory, as a public holiday, other than a day or part-day, or a kind of day or part-day, that is excluded by the Fair Work regulations from counting as a public holiday.
47.2 If under a State or Territory law, a day or part-day is substituted for one of the public holidays listed above, then the substituted day or part-day is the public holiday.

47.3 The Secretary and a Staff member may agree on the substitution of a day or part-day that would otherwise be a public holiday, having regard to operational requirements.

47.4 A Staff member who is absent on a day or part-day that is a public holiday in the place where the Staff member is based for work purposes, is entitled to be paid for the part or full day absence as if that day or part-day was not a public holiday, except where that person would not normally have worked on that day.
  1. Where a public holiday falls during a period when a Staff member is absent on leave (other than annual or paid personal/carers leave) there is no entitlement to receive payment as a public holiday. Payment for that day would be in accordance with the entitlement for that form of leave (e.g. if on long service leave on half pay, payment is on half pay).

48. Annual closedown and early stand down

48.1 The department will be closed for normal business and Staff will not be required to perform normal duty on the working days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Eligible Staff will be paid for closedown. Pay eligibility for annual closedown will be treated in the same manner as public holidays in determining the appropriate rate of salary payment to apply on those days.

48.2 Where a Staff member is absent on leave, payment for the Christmas closedown provision will be in accordance with the entitlement for that form of leave, (e.g. if on long service leave half pay, payment is at half pay).

48.3 There will be no deduction from annual or personal/carer’s leave credits for the annual closedown days.

Early stand down

48.4 The department will be closed for normal business and Staff will not be required to perform normal duty from 3.00 pm on the working day prior to Christmas and the working day prior to Good Friday. Eligible Staff will be paid for early stand down. Payment eligibility will be treated in the same manner as a normal working day.

Part-time Staff

48.5 Part-time Staff normally not working on the days of the week on which annual closedown and early stand down occur, will not be entitled to alternative time off duty.
Top of page

49. Working from home

49.1 A Staff member and their Manager may agree to a request by a Staff member to work from home on a regular, temporary or intermittent basis.

49.2 A request made by a Staff member in accordance with clause 49.1 must be in writing and set out details of the change sought and the reasons for the change. The Manager will respond in writing to the request.

49.3 Further information on home based work arrangements is available in the department’s Home Based Work Guideline.

50. Part-time work

Hours of work

50.1 A part-time Staff member is one who has a part-time agreement with their Manager and who:
  1. regularly works less than full-time ordinary hours; and
  2. has reasonably predictable hours of work.
50.2 Payment and conditions for part-time Staff will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, apart from allowances of a reimbursement nature, where a part-time Staff member will receive the same amount as a full-time Staff member.

Variation in hours

50.3 A part-time Staff member may not vary their hours for a period of one week or less. Changes in hours for these periods should be accommodated using flextime or alternative arrangements as agreed with their Manager.

50.4 Details of the operation of the flextime provisions for part-time Staff are provided at clause 42.

50.5 Further information on part-time work provisions is available in the departmental Part-time Work Guideline.
Top of page

51. Flexible work arrangements for parents

51.1 Without limiting clause 51.2, Managers will make every reasonable effort to accommodate requests for part-time work from Staff returning from maternity, adoption, fostering or parental leave for the period up until the child’s second birthday, or in the case of adoption and eligible fostering, the second anniversary of the placement. Reasons for non-approval must be provided in writing to the Staff member, including reasons relating to operational requirements.

51.2 A Staff member who is a parent, or has responsibility for the care of a child under school age or a child under 18 who has a disability, may request flexible working arrangements, including part-time hours.

51.3 A request made in accordance with clause 51.2 must be in writing and set out details of the change sought and the reasons for the change. The Manager will respond in writing to the request within 21 days and will only refuse the request on reasonable business grounds. Where the request is refused, the response will include reasons for the refusal.

51.4 Staff may seek a review by People Branch of any refusal under clauses 51.1 or 51.2.

51.5 An approved flexible work arrangements under clause 51 will be subject to an annual review.

52. Review of workloads

52.1 Where a Staff member or group of Staff believes their workload to be unmanageable they may request that an independent review be undertaken by People Branch, and where Staff choose representatives of Staff or the National Staff Participation Forum.

52.2 Further information on workload review is available in the department’s Workload Review Guideline.
Top of page

53. Individual flexibility arrangements

53.1 The Secretary and a Staff member covered by this enterprise agreement may agree to make an individual flexibility arrangement (IFA) to vary the effect of terms of the Agreement if:
  1. the IFA deals with one or more of the following matters:

  2. i. when work is performed;
    ii. overtime rates;
    iii. penalty rates;
    iv. allowances;
    v. remuneration; and/or
    vi. leave; and

  3. the IFA is genuinely agreed to by the Secretary and Staff member recognising the operational requirements of the department and the needs of the Staff member.
53.2 The Secretary must ensure that the terms of the IFA:
  1. are about permitted matters under section 172 of the Fair Work Act 2009; and
  2. are not unlawful terms under section 194 of the Fair Work Act 2009; and
  3. result in the Staff member being better off overall than the Staff member would be if no arrangement was made.
53.3 The Secretary must ensure that the IFA:
  1. is in writing; and
  2. includes the name of the employer and Staff member; and
  3. is signed by the Secretary and Staff member and if the Staff member is under 18 years of age, signed by a parent or guardian of the Staff member; and
  4. includes details of:

  5. i. the terms of IFA; and
    ii. how the IFA will vary the effect of the terms; and
    iii. how the Staff member will be better off overall in relation to the terms and conditions of his or her employment as a result of the IFA; and

  6. states the day on which the IFA commences and, where applicable, when the arrangement ceases.
53.4 The Secretary must give the Staff member a copy of the IFA within 14 days of the agreement being made.

53.5 The Secretary or Staff member may terminate the IFA:
  1. by giving no more than 28 days written notice to the other party to the IFA; or
  2. if the Secretary and Staff member agree in writing at any time.
53.6 Where an individual flexibility arrangement is entered into during the life of this Agreement the IFA dispute resolution clause, which refers to clause 84 of this Agreement, will be included in that IFA.