The wave of voluntary redundancies in Telstra late last year raised some unexpected issues about the correct interpretation of the new Enterprise Agreement in the case of voluntary redundancies (VRs).
As reported in the last E-bulletin for 2015, in some sections of Telstra employees taking voluntary redundancy were informed by management that there was no point in their going into the Placement Period (PP) and that their payout would therefore not include the 4 weeks payment which would normally accrue to them while they did so.
While it obviously suited some employees to leave the company without going through the 4 weeks PP, employees in some sections of the company were not given this option and so missed out on 4 weeks’ pay.
In the CWU’s view, the new EA does not give management the discretion as to whether or not an employee enters the PP. Clause 43.4 specifies that even in the case of voluntary redundancy, employees go into the PP, like it or not!
And while Clause 49.7 provides that Telstra may “allow” you to leave the PP early, that’s not the same thing as saying you have to leave early – or not go into the PP at all.
Telstra has undertaken to address this issue for all future cases of voluntary redundancy. But that still leaves the issue of last year’s VRs. Members knowing of any cases where any of these former employees want to pursue this question should contact their state branch with details.