In February 2015, Estia management extended the day shift at the Encounter Bay site by 15 minutes. This meant all aged care staff had to stay an extra 15 minutes longer.
They also created an extra 15 minute “break” - but made it unpaid. This meant they could extend the workers’ shifts by 15 minutes without paying them any extra. The union members knew this wasn’t right. They contacted the union office straight away.
The change was particularly problematic for many workers who were parents, as the shift change impacted on being able to pick their kids up from school. The United Voice industrial team filed legal proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court on behalf of over 20 members, alleging that Estia’s unpaid “break” was a breach of the Award, that Estia had failed in their consultation responsibilities, and that members were entitled to back pay for all time worked.
When Estia failed to appear in Court, a mediation order was made. But a week before mediation was set to begin, Estia conceded entirely on all points. They agreed to back pay members and change the shift back. More than $20,000 was recovered in backpay for these union members.