Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Delegated supportive tasks do not necessarily amount to a change in work value

The Public Service Arbitrator has dismissed a reclassification application filed by four ECG Recordists Cardiology G-2 at Royal Perth Hospital.

The applicants claimed that the review position had, since 2002, assumed the additional duties of teaching new staff, recording and explaining blood pressure results, placing and removing ECG monitors in a broader range of tests and participating in peer review and professional development activities. The applicants further claimed that there are new challenges in the role brought on by different computer programs and the increase in the cultural, social and linguistic diversity of patients.

The respondent did not dispute that there had been changes to the duties of the position but instead argued that the changes were not substantial enough to meet the work value test. The test, among other things, requires a significant net addition to work requirements to warrant the reclassification of a position to a higher level. The test also requires that any alteration to wages must have regard to skill, responsibility and the conditions under which the work is performed.

Commissioner Emmanuel accepted that health professionals delegate supportive tasks to the applicants' positions but, based on the evidence, found that the responsibility for those tasks still lay with the health professionals and not the applicants' positions. It could not be determined if the use of new technology and computer programs resulted in an increase in the skill required for the applicants' positions as there was no evidence given regarding the complexity of the computer programs or systems. Additionally, the Commissioner found that many of the new duties of the position, such as training in basic life support and being able to respond to certain emergency situations, are within the current G-2 classification of the position.

The Arbitrator found that whilst there had been some increase in workload and a general broadening of tasks at the G-2 level, the change does not amount to a significant increase in net work value.

The decision can be read here

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