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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Chapter 7 - Ensuring we have safe and productive workplaces

In 2015-16, a number of whole-of-service and agency-led activities were progressed to continue to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of State Service employees.

Developing partnerships

In 2015-16, SSMO worked with agencies to develop partnerships with community and public sector organisations to help build the capability of State Service agencies to respond to and support employee wellbeing.

For example, SSMO began to work with community organisations, such as Beyondblue, to support the development and implementation of a good practice framework for mental health and wellbeing that agencies can use to support their employees with mental health issues.

In addition, SSMO also commenced a partnership with GENOS International and Worksafe Tasmania to deliver a research project focused on exploring the relationship between levels of emotional intelligence, resilience, mindfulness and employee engagement.

The aim of this research is to provide Australian based data on these concepts and to use it to find new ways of helping people manage stress, build resilience, collaborate with colleagues and build healthy relationships at work. The findings of this research are anticipated to contribute to Worksafe Month in 2016-17, as well as inform whole-of-service and agency activities in this space.

Another key partnership developed during 2015-16 has been the inclusion of a State Service representative on the AMA Insurers Forum, which has been working on a model to improve return to work outcomes and exploring better ways to coordinate complex injuries or illness.

What our employees said

  • 83% of employees agreed with the statement ‘My organisation provides a safe work environment’.
  • 60% of employees agreed with the statement ‘My organisation is committed to employee wellbeing’.
  • 74% of employees agreed with the statement ‘I have received instruction/training appropriate to my role to address WH&S hazards, incidents and injuries in accordance with my organisation’s policies’.
  • 85% of employees agreed with the statement I am encouraged to report health and safety incidents and injuries’.

* 2016 People Matter Survey results. See Appendix B for more information.

Supporting a new employee assistance program tender

Employees access Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services for a wide variety of reasons that may impact on their capacity to undertake their work, such as family issues, stress, conflict, finance, grief and trauma.

In 2015-16, SSMO led a whole-of-service procurement which resulted in a single provider of EAPs for the majority of the State Service. Capability in family violence and the ability to support the Safe Homes, Safe Families: Family Violence Action Plan were important factors for this procurement.

The single provider model is expected to:

  • raise awareness of EAP;
  • deliver high quality counselling, referral and support to employees;
  • offer greater value for money;
  • deliver whole-of-Service EAP reporting for the first time; and
  • lead a more holistic approach to the mental health and wellbeing of State Service employees.

Other initiatives

The following initiatives have also been progressed at the whole-of-service level to support work health safety and wellbeing:

  • SSMO is currently working with the Department of Education to implement a Work Health and Safety Module that is integrated with the Employee Self Service (ESS) Human Resource system to improve incident and hazard reporting and information sharing.
  • SSMO has been working closely with Worksafe Tasmania’s and Skills Tasmania’s Employer of Choice program on a number of initiatives including network sessions and business to business cluster sessions on issues such as the ageing workforce, health and safety leadership and integrating health, safety and wellbeing.
  • An exciting innovative technology-based initiative in 2015-16 was the Ritualize Positive You 8-week Workplace Challenge that involved over 400 State Service employees, emphasising that a healthy worker is a safer worker.

These initiatives are in addition to the work in this space being progressed by agencies. For example, in their response to the Agency Survey, the Department of Justice reported that in 2015-16 it had focused on introducing a new integrated approach to work health and safety which included quarterly reporting to senior managers on key safety and wellbeing indicators.

Supporting employees experiencing Family Violence

Employment Direction No. 28 - Family Violence – Workplace Arrangements and Requirements outlines the support available to employees experiencing family violence. Responses to the Agency Survey reveal that 29 people sought access to personal leave and special leave entitlements in 2015-16 as a result of family violence. All applications were supported by the relevant agencies.

In addition to the leave entitlements, agencies also reported that they had provided employees experiencing family violence with other supports such as altered work arrangements or referral to the EAP. In addition, across the Service approximately 1,652 employees and officers were trained to support staff experiencing family violence in 2015-16.

As mentioned earlier in this report, in 2015-16 TTC introduced a new online awareness training program for all State Service employees to support their understanding of the impact of family violence, where to access support, and how to support colleagues experiencing family violence.

Quick facts

  • In 2015-16, 553 employees had work-related absences of more than five consecutive days.
  • The number of non-related absences of more than five consecutive days was 4,874 in 2015-16.
  • A range of full-time and graduated return-to-work programs were in place across agencies to assist employees’ return to work.

* Information collected from the Agency Survey in response to how agencies are managing arrangements under Employment Direction No. 29 – Managing Employees absent from the workplace.

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