CODE 2, VOL 32, NO 29 : 28 september 2018
PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTER UPDATE
Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday
Members are reminded that the upcoming Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday (Monday, 1 October 2018) is the one Public Holiday per year where full penalty rates are not paid.
You are no doubt aware this difference in public holiday entitlements has been in place since the commencement of the current rotating leave roster, some 20 years ago and has remained unchanged ever since.
As many of you may recall, the implementation of the Rotating Leave Roster resulted in an 8 hour deficit, and the Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday is used to balance out the hours.
Therefore, those members on shift who are rostered off duty do not receive an additional 8 hours and those members on shift who are rostered on duty only receive an additional half time payment for hours worked.
All members on day work receive their normal rate of pay for the day.
Mental health and wellbeing for firefighters
I reported to you in a previous Code 2 that your union made a submission on your behalf to the federal senate inquiry into the mental health of emergency services workers. That senate inquiry is ongoing and your union has been reviewing submissions made by many other parties and very similar statements are being made consistently across all emergency services across Australia.
An important point consistently being made is that a lack of positive engagement by managers in agencies with their employees and a negative and non-inclusive workplace culture that does not support those who self-identify that they need help clearly appear to contribute to the prevalence of mental health condition of emergency service workers (these are exactly the main themes strongly put in your union’s submissions to the inquiry).
You can find out more about the senate inquiry and see all submissions (including the UFUQ submission) and transcripts here
Supporting the view of your union that lack of engagement contributes to worsening of mental health amongst firefighters is significant research in Queensland, Australia and worldwide. And emerging now is a report by the leading Australian mental health organisation (BeyondBlue) who have published some preliminary findings of national research they have been doing into the topic. Their research clearly indicates that positive and proactive workplace culture and the way management engage with employees are contributors to positive mental health outcomes.
You can find out more about the BeyondBlue research, the full report is yet to be published, but preliminary findings are listed here.
I will keep you informed about the senate inquiry and the BeyondBlue report.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD