Floods prevent attendance at work

Question: I am a registered nurse working in a public hospital. Recently I was affected by flooding that would have prevented me from getting to work if I had been rostered. I believe the hospital was very good to those who couldn’t get to work but I was wondering what rights arose in this situation?

Answer: Clause 32A of the Public Health System Nurses’ and Midwives’ (State) Award 2015 recognises that in such situations, access to FACS leave is available as follows:

(4). In a case of pressing necessity (e.g. where an employee is unable to attend work because of adverse weather conditions which either prevent attendance or threaten life or property…)

The Award and the relevant NSW Health Policy Directive (PD2014_029 – Leave Matters for the NSW Health Service) also contemplate that when FACS Leave is exhausted, an employee may request to access other leave they have accrued.

However, members and the branch should always contact their hospital in such emergencies or declared disasters, as access to Special Leave on a case-by-case basis has in the past been made available by Local Health Districts, something that NNSWLHD – to their credit – did in the recent Lismore floods.

NOTE: Special Leave is available for those who are working in the SES (for example) during a declared disaster.