Monday 10th March is the Labour Day public holiday. If working the public holiday be sure to check that you are paid correctly for it. If in doubt, check your agreement or contact the VHPA member assist line on 1300 322 917.

For those enjoying the day off it is timely in the current political environment to remember what this holiday commemorates. We haven’t always had the working conditions that we currently enjoy. In the 1850s unions fought to reduce their time at work to just an 8 hour day. Unionised workplaces led the way through the late 1800s instituting the philosophy of 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation and 8 hours rest. While we now take this for granted, prior to the 1916 Victoria Eight Hour Act, the length of any shift worked was unregulated and open to abuse.

This type of basic right should never be taken for granted. The Federal Government is in the process of attacking penalty rates. For Health Professionals, who often work unsociable hours, it is hard to imagine a world without penalty rates. But we now find ourselves having to defend hard won and long-standing basic entitlements. We can only do this with a strong, unionised workforce.