2010 - Estimates Committee B (McKim) - Part 1
Nick McKim MP, Minister
for Human Services, Minister for Corrections and Consumer Protection,
Minister for Community Development, Minister for Climate Change,
Minister for Sustainable Transport and Alternative Energy
O'Connor MP, Secretary to
Stevens, Deputy Secretary
Director of Prisons
Batt, Director, Office of
Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading
of Premier and Cabinet
Evans, Director, Policy
and Programs, Program Development Unit
Director, Office of Climate Change
Jansen, Assistant Policy
OF SICK LEAVE
FINCH - I would like to
go back to the subject of sick leave because I remember there was
quite an issue last year that we focused on and we were shocked then,
as we are now, about the amount of overtime that is being paid
related to sick leave. What is the entitlement of a TPS staffer
in respect of their sick leave allocation through their contract?
How many days of sick leave have been taken by the staff at Risdon
Prison? But also, are there any comparisons made with other
sectors of the public service to see whether there is something
specific to the work of the prison service that means that they
perhaps take more sick leave than other areas of our work community?
McKIM - We are currently
doing an audit, not to compare across other agencies in Tasmania but
to compare with other corrections agencies around the country, so we
are comparing like with like. That audit is currently under way
and has not been completed yet. We are hoping that it will
allow us to understand how we are travelling in the national context,
comparing apples with apples rather than with oranges. Sick
leave represents about 43 per cent of the overtime
DEAN - What was it?
McKIM - 43 per cent.
do not have specific details on days of sick leave but I am happy to
FINCH - Yes, and I think
it might also be interesting to have a look and compare apples with
oranges - it is alright in correction services to have a look at that
situation - to see if there is something that is specific to a prison
service that causes more sick leave or gives a suggestion of whether
it is over-used or whether, in other areas of occupation, people do
not access their sick leave requirements as much as perhaps a prison
DEAN - Could you do some
McKIM - I will respond to
Mr Finch if that is okay. Prison work is shift work, so it is
not directly comparable to non-shift work in the context that we are
discussing. For that comparison to be valid, you would need to
compare those rates for other agencies that require the delivery of a
24 hour a day service, rather than just a standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
DEAN - A comparison with
the police service would be reasonable, wouldn't it, because they are
a 24 hour service and a similar situation?
McKIM - Perhaps it
would. I do not know what the police data collections are.
It is not my agency. You might know better than me.
DEAN - I am sure they can
tell you to switch.
McKIM - If we can source
that data I am happy to talk to Ms Thorp about accessing data from
Tasmania Police and I am happy to consider making that comparison if
that is technically possible.
FINCH - Minister, when do
you suggest that audit might be completed?
McKIM - It is an audit
that is being done internally within our agency. It is not
possible to give a specific time for the completion because it
requires data being sourced from other states so some of the sources
for the data are beyond our control. We are progressing that as
quickly as we can. I would prefer not to put a timeframe on it
because the timeframe is outside my control because we are waiting
for corrections agencies from around the country to respond. We
have a good relationship with both ministers and corrections
divisions around the country and, as I indicated, Mr Barber is
representing me at the ministerial council today. Hopefully we
can have that completed sooner rather than later.
FINCH - Maybe before next
McKIM - Well, I am
hopeful that will be the case and I would expect to receive some
tough questioning from you if it was not the case.