Fair pay rises and support for indigenous, trans and female staff at the Brotherhood

Fair pay rises and support for indigenous, trans and female staff at the Brotherhood

7 June 2022
Petition to
Travers McLeod (BSL Executive Director)
Signatures: 163Next goal: 200
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Why this petition matters

Started by Jim R

We, the undersigned, are Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) staff and community members.
BSL is negotiating with the Australian Services Union (ASU) for a new enterprise agreement (EA) for BSL community services workers.
Above inflation pay rises
The ASU is asking for pay rises that keep up with the cost of living. Food, fuel and housing costs are skyrocketing. We believe all staff deserve pay rises that keep up with inflation, as well as measures that promote equity and inclusion.
Indigenous leave
The ASU is asking for 20 days’ personal leave and 10 days’ paid compassionate leave per year for Indigenous staff in recognition of the health gap between Indigenous people and other Australians.
This is not an abstract question. Right now Indigenous staff members of BSL are forced to take unpaid leave because they have used up all their paid leave.
BSL’s Reconciliation Action Plan has an Indigenous employment target of only 0.9%. A social justice organisation like the Brotherhood should aim higher. The ASU wants BSL to attract and retain more Indigenous staff by increasing the amount of paid and unpaid leave available to Indigenous employees.
Indigenous staff should have access to more compassionate leave and personal leave, in recognition of the fact that Indigenous people experience higher death, suicide, and infant mortality rates than non-Indigenous people, and need more time to conduct Sorry Business.
During National Reconciliation Week (NRW) BSL’s new Executive Director Travers McLeod told staff to adopt this year’s NRW theme of “Be Brave, Make Change”.
A good place to start would be by better supporting Indigenous staff members during periods of sickness and mourning.
Gender affirmation leave
BSL’s new Executive Director Travers McLeod told staff, “I want to say that BSL firmly stands by and with transgender Australians and the LGBTQIA+ community.” He also said, “As an organisation, we want to be creating change, fostering social inclusion, and building greater social support.”
BSL needs to put its money where its mouth is.
Gender affirmation leave is leave a transgender person can take for reasons of their ongoing transition. This can include time for surgery, other medical needs, time needed for legal processes, or other reasons. Transition is an ongoing process which is not limited to hormonal or medical forms of transition.
Transition is a stressful period when trans people often lose their job, quit, or need to take time out of work just to cope. No worker should be forced out of work just because they need to transition. The time needed for one procedure, bottom surgery, is at least 6 weeks for operation and recovery. Trans people may undergo many procedures in their lifetime. That’s why the ASU wants trans staff to have access to up to 30 days’ gender affirmation leave per year.

Equal parental leave
The current agreement provides 12 weeks’ paid parental leave for “primary care-givers” and 2 weeks for “secondary care-givers”. The ASU wants 14 weeks’ paid parental leave for both parents, removing references to “primary” and “secondary” care-givers.
BSL says this will cost too much.
In Australia 88% of primary carer leave is taken by women. This sets women on a path of being the unpaid carer when paid parental leave ends. In the 21st century parenting should be an equal responsibility, and it must be reflected in our enterprise agreement.
Reproductive health and wellbeing leave
The vast majority of BSL staff are female. Female and trans workers require additional leave entitlements so they are supported during menstruation, menopause and for other reproductive health matters like terminating a pregnancy and IVF. Many female staff are forced to take unpaid leave when unable to work due to painful periods because they have run out of paid leave. Too often women and trans people are forced to suffer in silence because of taboos around reproductive health. BSL should help to normalise these issues and support its staff by providing 10 days’ reproductive health and wellbeing leave per year. Men, women and trans staff will all benefit from greater support during their reproductive journeys.

Support now
Signatures: 163Next goal: 200
Support now

Decision makers

  • Travers McLeodBSL Executive Director