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What you need to know about Hours of Duty and Rostering

One of the many successfully negotiated outcomes of the Consent Agreement 2017 (CA 2017) saw several changes being introduced to Clause 25 Hours of Duty and Rostering, which affords members new protections and benefits not present in previous Consent Agreements.

  • Introduction of a 35 day (5 week) standard roster, with a minimum of two weekends rostered off in each period.
  • Restrictions put in place, that sees members not being required to work more than seven continuous shifts in any roster period or across adjoining roster periods (subject to operational requirements)
  • Redefinition of some shift hours
  • Improved rostering arrangements for court attendance addressing fatigue issues.

The other area of significant change within Clause 25 is the introduction of Centralised Workforce Management. Although, to date, it is still not entirely clear what this will entail, the premise is that a streamlined rostering framework/ capability will be introduced ensuring consistency and equity when it comes to rostering arrangements for members.

It is with these changes in mind that one can only assume the ongoing confusion surrounding rostering arrangements when public holidays occur should be eliminated.

The issues surrounding public holidays seems to ultimately relate to who is classed as a shift worker and who is entitled to observe the public holiday.

The introduction of a standard 5-week roster period should limit the first concern in determining who is regularly rostered to work weekends and highlight who can be classed as a shift worker Although there is not a clearly identifiable definition of what a shift worker is within either the Consent Agreement 2017 or the Police Arbitral Tribunal Determination No.1 of 2011, it is captured loosely in Part 4- Public Holidays and Leave of the Police Arbitral Tribunal Determination no.1 of 2011 at sub clauses:
47.3 A member who is regularly rostered for duty on any day of the week shall be paid for 8 hours at single time where a rostered day off duty falls on a public holiday.
47.4 The provisions of this clause do not apply to members who are only rostered to work Monday to Friday and who are not ordinarily rostered to work public holidays as part of their normal shift rotation.

The key word contained within sub clause 47.3 is regularly and, as already mentioned, it is expected that by having standardised 5-week rosters across the Northern Territory Police Force the patterns of shift regularity should be clearly visible. If a member is regularly rostered to work one weekend in every 5-week period they are have a clear shift pattern and the entitlements of 47.3 apply.

And, as mentioned above although the finer details of what is to be expected when the introduction of Centralised Workforce Management takes place, it would be anticipated that there would be mechanisms in place that can capture the shift patterns of officers throughout the Territory and further highlight who is regularly rostered weekends and who is not.

Once a member is identified as being regularly rostered for duty on any day of the week, there are three scenarios that can apply to them when dealing with declared public holidays:
1. Member is required to be rostered on and works the public holiday - member is entitled to payment at double time for the hours worked on the declared public holiday
2. Member has a rostered day off and the public holiday falls on that day - member is paid an additional 8 hours at single rates for this day on top of the 200 in a 5-week period. They do not attend work and do not receive another rostered day of in lieu of this.
3. Due to the operational needs of the work unit or station the OIC determines not all members are required to work the public holiday The member is able to observe the public holiday and is paid 8 hours for the day. These 8 hours will then count towards the 200 in the 5-week period. This is an operational decision and is addressed on case by case scenario.

If a member is identified as only being rostered to work Monday to Friday the following two possible scenarios apply:
1. Member observes the public holiday and is paid 8 hours at single time; these hours count towards the 200 in a 5-week period.
4. Member is required for operational reasons to be rostered on and works the public holiday- member is entitled to payment at double time for the hours worked on the declared public holiday

If you have any questions or concerns in relation to how public holiday entitlements are applied please contact Industrial Officer, Andrea Wyllie, via email andrea.wyllie@ntpa.com.au or Field Officer, Mark Solly Soligo mark.soligio@ntpa.com.au or via the office number 8995 9520.