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In early 2017, the TSS and key unions launched a joint awareness campaign to help address occupational violence and aggression against TSS employees. Since the launch agencies have been progressing work in a number of areas to support the agreed Statement of Principles:
To support agency activity, SSMO coordinated de-escalation training for at-risk service areas which was provided by Tasmania Police. In 2017-18, 215 employees underwent this training, with a further 1,000 employees to be trained over the next 12 months.
We are also working with unions to research and trial other strategies to reduce the risk to employees in front-line service areas including how changes in the client environment may reduce the triggers for aggressive behaviour.
SSMO and the TTC partnered with UTAS and Smiling Minds to undertake a stress management training research study for employees in mid-high demand roles across the TSS during 2018. The project aligned with the Tasmanian Healthy and Safe Workplace Initiative and the Rethink Mental Health Plan by building partnerships and evidence around mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention in the workplace.
All TSS agencies were invited to participate with the addition of TasNetworks and two councils (the Hobart City Council and the Kingborough Council). A total of 211 participants were selected through an expression of interest process.
Agencies implemented activities in 2017-18 to increase access to flexible working arrangements, and promoted such arrangements through:
Agencies also expanded on their support for flexible working arrangements through replacing existing desktop PCs with laptops, and enabling access to key systems through external networks.
There was an increase in the number of formal arrangements in place over the period, with 418 agreements across seven agencies, compared to 269 agreements in six agencies in 2016-17.
In addition, employees have the ability to access additional leave, in 2017-18 across all 16 agencies this totalled:
In 2017-18 agencies continued to promote WHS and consult with employees and officers on WHS issues through:
Since November 2012 the TSS has assisted employees experiencing family violence with access to leave, supported by Employment Direction No 28: Family Violence – Workplace Arrangements and Requirements (ED 28).
In December 2016 State Service Awards were amended to provide employees experiencing family violence with access to 10 days paid leave per year to attend medical, legal, housing, education, counselling and other support services. Employees can also access personal leave to provide support to a family member experiencing family violence.
Agencies reported that, in accordance with the provisions of ED 28, 42 applications for leave were made and approved over the 2017-18 period (compared to 33 in 2016-17). This was in addition to the informal support provided such as:
Agencies also continued to train key staff in supporting employees who may be experiencing family violence, with 822 managers and contact officers participating in training in 2017-18 (an increase from 365 in 2016-17).
A number of agencies also noted the increase in supportive policies, training, and assistance provided was aligned with activities associated with White Ribbon Australia accreditation.
Employment Directions and the corresponding policies and guidelines, including those relating to Work Health and Safety (WHS) and Wellbeing, are being reviewed as part of the wider Employment Framework examination by SSMO.
In 2017-18 SSMO helped our workforce to form healthy lifestyle habits by promoting use of the Ritualize Tasmania app-based program. As part of the Healthy Tasmanian Workplaces initiative, the app guides users to make healthier choices and promotes a more active lifestyle.
In accordance with Employment Direction No. 27: Work Health and Safety agencies must ensure that information, training and instruction is provided to protect workers from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of their business or undertaking. In 2017-18, 3,373 employees and officers received training.