Members in the Public Sector are reminded that they now have an entitlement for up to two days of paid study/conference/seminar leave per year (see p. 52 of the Agreement).

Where any such approved study/conference/seminar leave covers a period during which the Employee would be rostered off—weekends, ADOs, after hours etc.—then the Employee is entitled to time off in lieu (TOIL) for the equivalent period of the course.

This means, for instance, that if you attend an approved 2-day course over a weekend on which you are not rostered to work, then you can take 2 days of leave as reimbursement for the loss of your weekend.

The VHPA has recently received more than a few reports from members who have been denied their Conference/Seminar/Study TOIL entitlements. The most often cited reason for such denials is staff shortages.

Some Members are also advising that hospital or departmental policy states that TOIL or ADO’s must be used within a particular period such as the next pay period or the next month.  There is nothing to this effect in your Agreement. Management are free to strive for this outcome however they cannot use these policies as a means to override entitlements that flow from the Enterprise Agreement.

It is worth remembering that your Employer agreed to all the conditions in the Enterprise Agreement—it is, as the name implies, an Agreement. Moreover, this is an approved and legally enforceable document. It is also worth remembering that you are not personally responsible for any staffing shortages that may exist in your department and should not suffer a detriment as a result of inappropriate funding arrangements.

“Employees are entitled to this leave just as they are entitled to annual leave and sick leave,” said VHPA Organiser, Emma Brelsford. “You wouldn’t give up your annual leave if management said they didn’t have enough staff to cover you so why would you surrender this hard won entitlement?” concluded Brelsford.

VHPA Members who are refused access to this provision should contact the Union so that we can assist you.