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Online News - AMA Queensland
ASMOFQ Website
Proposed changes to the Industrial Relations Framework in Queensland

Queensland Health employed medical officers are covered within the jurisdiction of the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld) (‘The Act’), the Medical Officers’ (Queensland Health) Certified Agreement (No.4) 2015 (‘The Agreement’) and the Medical Officers (Queensland Health) Award – State 2015 (‘The Award’). In contrast, those medical officers who are employed at private hospitals and at the Mater Public Hospital are generally covered under the jurisdiction of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

In 2015, the Palaszczuk Government initiated a review of The Act which marks the first comprehensive review of the Industrial Relations framework since the inception of The Act in 1999.  The review produced in March 2016 included 68 recommendations.  The Government accepted the recommendations of the review, and on 1 September 2016, the Industrial Relations Bill 2016 (Qld) was introduced into State Parliament.

What are the key changes?

1 Aligning the Queensland Employment Standards (QES) with the National Employment Standards, including standards for parental leave, carers’ and compassionate leave and a requirement for the provision of an information statement when an employee commences employment.
2 The introduction of new protections to employees to ensure them similar protections to those employed under the Federal System.   These include:

Workplace bullying remedies

Medical officers employed by Queensland Health will be able to lodge with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) an application for a stop bullying order if they believe they have been bullied in the workplace. 

    General protections to protect public sector employees from adverse action

Medical officers will be also able to make an adverse action claim for protection from an action taken by the employer which adversely impacts on them.  The purpose of the general protections part of the Act is to protect workplace rights, freedom of association and protection from workplace discrimination.


Up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave

Medical officers (other than casuals) experiencing domestic violence will be able to access up to 10 days paid leave per year.  Employees will also be able to utilise their “carer’s leave” in order to care for a person who has experiences domestic violence. 

If implemented, Queensland will be considered to be the first state to implement paid leave for persons affected by domestic violence.


A right to request flexible working arrangements

An employee will be able to request a flexible work arrangement by applying in writing and providing reasons.  This will only be a right to request flexible work arrangement and is not an automatic entitlement for the work arrangement.


3 Amending the legal representation arrangements within the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to align them with those applicable within the Fair Work Commission.  This will mean that a party may be permitted to be represented by a lawyer in certain proceedings (other than enterprise bargaining matters) if the QIRC finds that it is unfair to not allow legal representation. 
4 Amending the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 to enforce the duty to consult with unions before health employment directives are issued.
5 Collective bargaining will continue to be the basis for determining wages and employment conditions of state employees with the view that arbitration will only be used as a last resort.
6 The QIRC will be vested with the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with all workplace related anti-discrimination matters.  The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) will continue to deal with these matters at the conciliation stage only. 
7 Amending the Holidays Act 1983 (Qld) insofar as to declare Easter Sunday a public holiday. This will mean that the Easter period will have four (4) public holidays in a row being: Good Friday, Easter Saturday (the day after Good Friday), Easter Sunday (the Sunday after Good Friday) and Easter Monday. Any medical officers working on those days will be entitled to public holiday penalty rates.

How will ASMOFQ support members through the change process?

ASMOFQ predicts that the flow-on effects from this legislation will provide Queensland Health and the individual HHSs incentive to review and update their policies and procedures, especially bullying and harassment and employee grievances policies, to ensure best-practice compliance is achieved and reduced levels of disputation. 

The Industrial Relations changes are currently going through parliament with these changes expected to provide increased protections doctors. ASMOFQ has made a submission to the Finance and Administration Committee that overall we are supportive of the changes.

Throughout this process, ASMOFQ will keep members up-to-date on the changes to their employment and how this will impact Queensland Health employed doctors. We will work in consultation with the Office of Industrial Relations, Queensland Health and individual HHSs to ensure the changes both now and into the future are implemented smoothly and in accordance with the law.

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consultative forums
ASMOFQ is involved in the following consultative forums. If you have any issues you would like raised, please call Industrial Relation Team on (07) 3872 2222 to discuss.

4 November 2016
Central Queensland

4 November 2016
MOCA 4 Oversight Committee

16 November 2016
Children’s Health Queensland

17 November 2016
Queensland Health

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