Partner parental leave, rail workers’ health, and more


Partner parental leave, rail workers’ health, and more

Shorten confirms extension of unpaid parental leave for partners | Support for health and wellness of rail workers | SA hit as Westpac jobs head offshore | Miners welcomes measures to counter bullying.


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Shorten confirms extension of unpaid parental leave for partners | Support for health and wellness of rail workers | SA hit as Westpac jobs head offshore | Miners welcomes measures to counter bullying. 

Shorten confirms extension of unpaid parental leave for partners

The workplace Relations Minister, Bill shorten, has confirmed in Parliament that unpaid parental leave for the partners of employees on parental leave will be extended from three to eight weeks:
‘Mr SHORTEN … So I am pleased to advise the House … the Gillard Labor government is going to assist the parents of newborn children; we are going to assist pregnant workers with changes to ensure better workplaces for Australia. We shall increase the amount of unpaid parental leave that parents are entitled to take together from three to eight weeks. Members of the House, that is flexibility. We shall support parents to choose when they can take unpaid parental leave together … 
We shall support pregnant women at work by ensuring that they can transfer to a safe job regardless of their length of service. We shall ensure that women who need to take unpaid special maternity leave are not penalised by a decrease in the leave that they are eligible for after the baby is born …’

Support for health and wellness of rail workers

The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has said that the introduction of more stringent national health testing of train drivers and other rail safety workers needed to be supported by appropriate health and wellness initiatives across the industry.

RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said rail workers were concerned about how the new measures, which include very specific weight and BMI criteria, would be applied.

‘More rigorous health assessments must be matched by the introduction of health and wellness programs to ensure Category 1 rail safety workers, including drivers and signallers, can meet the tough new requirements.’

‘Programs which include regular access to the gym and health promotion can be easily implemented by the industry and will go a long way towards improving the health and fitness of our critical rail workforce.’  
‘Over the years the yearly health assessment has got more and more rigorous and on the whole it has not been matched by relevant programs for workers.’
’It’s time for the industry to step up and support their workforce as they work to comply with these new standards.’

SA hit as Westpac jobs head offshore

Finance Sector Union national assistant secretary Geoff Derrick said Westpac has announced plans to offshore 134 jobs to India and the Philippines, with more than half of those jobs currently located in South Australia.

Employees in Business Performance and Analytics, Card Fraud and Merchant Services, Information and Analytics, Mortgages Services and the Operations Service Centre are in the firing line. This latest announcement follows the loss of more than 1000 jobs from Westpac last year, with 565 of these jobs offshored by the bank in 2012.
Most of the jobs Westpac plans to offshore are from Lockleys, with roles at Bedford Park and the bank’s operations in Pirie Street Adelaide also earmarked to leave Australia.

Miners welcomes measures to counter bullying 
Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) chief executive Steve Knott said it is important that employees have rights to request flexible work and to work free of bullying and harassment:
‘Resource industry employers take these matters very seriously and already have in place practical mechanisms to support employee rights and protect against unacceptable conduct …
The resource industry welcomes discussion regarding further practical measures in these areas, but any further efforts to improve on the status quo must be properly managed and include training and educational support. The suggestion that the Fair Work Commission take responsibility for bullying complaints by “helping quickly” through “early intervention” is misplaced. State-based inspectorates and courts, where appropriate, should address bullying allegations …’
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