Physical Competency Assessment

Members have been updated in newsletters and memos on the progress of the development of the P.C.A. and associated matters – most recently in Newsletter 4/2003
of 9 May 2003. That newsletter advised that the only outstanding matter was the finalisation of the payment for undertaking the assessment.

There was considerable pressure to finalise this amount urgently to allow the payment to be made this financial year; i.e. before the end of June 2003.

You will recall the agreement with the Fire Service to make the payment once the P.C.A. had been agreed and with this agreement the payment is in effect backdated to 1 July
2002.

Previous newsletters have detailed the problems experienced in attempting to achieve the restoration of the employer Superannuation Subsidy back to $1.80 nett. of tax. The
Union’s position over the years has been based on the premise that a person only received the employer’s Superannuation Subsidy if they became a member of the
Superannuation Scheme.

This position as far as the method of restoring the subsidy level, was undermined by the employer agreeing to pay some persons a Total Employment Package; i.e. persons
could take the Superannuation Subsidy in their fortnightly pay packet. Therefore, there are a significant number of people who are not in the Superannuation Scheme

  • Grand-fathered ex CSTs
  • Many DCFOs and above
  • Persons in the N.P.F.
  • Persons not in the Super Scheme and not able to receive a TEP

As well, there are a significant number who are contributing at a lower than 6% rate – some at 0%. It was because of this that a lump sum option was explored.

The final determination of any such allowance obviously is dependent on the total amount of money the employer would be required to pay if all those required to
undertake the P.C.A. were members of the Super Scheme.

It became apparent that the Fire Service had not budgeted sufficient money to pay the amount necessary.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that this matter was resolved and the Fire Service could confirm to the Union that they had available the required amount of money.

A calculation was done on the basis of each rank/driver grade pay rate and then a Superannuation calculation was done at a 6.75% contribution rate (the average rate).

The calculation of difference between a subsidy at $1.52 nett and $1.80 nett. was undertaken.

Superannuation Contribution Withholding Tax; i.e. the actual money to be paid is calculated as the difference between $2.27 gross and $2.70 gross.

F.F  Non Driver $931
  Grade 1 $966 
  Grade 2 $945
 QFF  Non Driver $1178
  Grade 1 $1216
  Grade 2 $1193
SFF  Non Driver $1223
  Grade 1  $1262
  Grade 2   $1239
 SO Grade 1 $1359 
  Grade 2   $1336
SSO  Grade 1  $1410 
  Grade 2  $1387

These amounts are equivalent to a 2.45% increase in the Total Weekly Wage Payment.The payment for Deputy Chief Fire Officer and above is fixed at $1450 and Trainers at
$1330. This rate for DCFO and above is significantly less than the 6.75% calculation on pay rates would produce and allows a high rate for SSO and below.

If the total amount to be distributed was simply divided by all those required to undertake the P.C.A., the allowance would be $1220. This would give a percentage pay rate
equivalent to 3.21% for a Firefighter down to 2.12% for an S.S.O.

The Union Committee concluded that none of the various alternatives considered was without problems – there was no perfect or ideal solution.

However, the option above was considered to be the best – it delivers the most amount of money to the most number of members at a level at which they will spend the majority
of their Fire Service career.

However, given that because of time constraints due to the late receipt of accutrate information on the total amount of money available, and the need to make a decision
before the end of the financial year (i.e. the money would have been lost), this agreement is an interim one for this financial year only. The Union has advised the Fire
Service that, particularly the method of making the payment, will be reviewed for next year.

Key issues are:

  • The allowance will be paid for this financial year – 25 June 2003.
  • The allowance is for undertaking the P.C.A. (not passing it) and will be paid to all required to undertake the P.C.A.
  • The allowance will be paid every year (maybe in the future in 2 x 6 monthly payments).
  • The P.C.A. will be required to be undertaken every 2 years.
  • Any assessment will follow a period of familiarization with the assessment format to allow sufficient practice on the equipment etc.
  • Any person unable to satisfactorily meet the P.C.A. time will immediately be removed from operational duties and undergo rehabilitation, which has a
    minimum time of 6 months.

The Union is confident that the total amount to be paid - $2,078,949 is what the Fire Service would have had to pay to restore the Superannuation Subsidy back to a
$1.80 nett. of tax level.

The interim option outlined above delivers an equivalent pay increase of 2.45% and will be paid annually.

The Union understands that special arrangements will be made to facilitate anyone wishing to directly put the allowance into the Superannuation Scheme and the
Superannuation Scheme will advise members of this.

As part of the process of review of the option above as far as the method of payment is concerned, the Union seeks feedback from members as to the acceptability of the
option as outlined above or any other alternatives for future payments.

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