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Public service middle managers need protection

Public service middle managers need protection

A government department forcing its employees to work excessive hours is unnecessary and unacceptable, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.

“PSA and the Department of Courts are currently negotiating a Managers and Team Leaders Collective Agreement. The department is insisting on the insertion of a clause stating that these employees will work ‘a minimum of no less than 40 hours per week’.”

“We believe this places undue pressure on those employees, most, if not all, of whom would work more than a 40 hour week anyway. The department, by insisting on the insertion of this clause, seems to be flying in the face of the current trend being followed by many organisations, which is to encourage their employees to achieve a healthy balance between heavy workloads and a life outside of work”.

Richard Wagstaff said the department did not appear to have learned its lesson following an Employment Tribunal decision two years ago.

“In a case brought by a former employee against the department, the Tribunal found that the applicant ‘was subjected to duress’ and that ‘…in order for the department to achieve its own ends, it attempted to bully the applicant into submission’.”

Richard Wagstaff said a State Services Commission survey report released last year showed that three-quarters of public servants worked more hours than they were employed for, with one in five working 10 or more additional hours a week.

“Of the managers in the public service who were surveyed, 45% reported working 10 or more hours a week than they were employed for, with 5% working 20 or more extra hours a week. The survey also reported that “a quarter of managers said concerns that they would not be able to balance their work and family responsibilities had put them off applying for a more senior position”.

“It is clear that hours of work is a health and safety issue around the management of stress. We cannot have government departments inserting clauses in collective agreements which imply that staff are required to work 50 or 60 hours a week, a move which is in direct contrast to government policy such as the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Act.”

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