Medical certificates and flexible rostering occupied our time at the bargaining table with Brisbane City Council. Last meeting the Council offered to revisit the sick leave and medical certificate issue and respond with some possible wording amendments. We were provided with a document which sought to summarise the main principles of what the Council was seeking in relation to sick leave.
In the main there was much to agree with in what the Council set out, but when it came to the crunch the Council continues to seek a medical certificate which contains information about the nature of the medical condition.
All the Council needs to know is whether the medical practitioner considers the employee to be fit for work or not.
The Council states that its concern is to ensure that employees who have been ill or injured are given work which takes the nature of their illness into account. This is getting ahead of itself really, as this only becomes an issue where an employee has had some significant time off or does have some specific requirements. In such cases the rehabilitation procedure would most likely be triggered and this is not in dispute.
All of this means that there was no movement in relation to the contents of medical certificates today and no indication that there is any potential for movement. This is a very important issue for all members.
There were some developments in relation to flexible rostering. The Council produced a document which usefully set out what they have been seeking in the form of a flowchart. That was where the usefulness ended as the flowchart flowed straight to the main points that an employee could be directed to work in accordance with a new roster arrangement or the Council could employ contractors.
After some further discussion about the provision allowing an employee to be directed to work in accordance with a new roster, the Council altered its position to say that maybe it could live with employee consent. One immediate requirement raised by the Council however, was that existing Local Area Arrangements and other arrangements dealing with hours of work would have to go. The result of such a requirement would inevitably be a loss of income for many employees. This issue is well travelled ground.
Concern also arises about whether the Council’s proposal would allow for or result in an increase in the number of temporary and contracted employees including labour hire rather than a reduction.
The meeting concluded with the Council saying that it would produce a clause to set out what its proposal is. The Council has now said this afternoon that it does not want to meet for further discussions until 30 May in order to give it time to develop its proposal.