Kyogle Memorial Hospital.
Kyogle Memorial Hospital. Susanna Freymark

Father quit full-time work to go casual, lost job entirely

A KYOGLE single parent and hospital security officer has been left unemployed by the Northern NSW Local Health District after he requested to scale back his working hours to fit his family commitments. 

Mitchell Moore was working as a full-time Health and Security assistant at the Kyogle Multi-Purpose Health Centre when management changed his shift arrangements, making it more difficult for him to fulfil his parenting obligations. 

"I've worked there for five and a half years and I've gone above and beyond," Mr Moore said.

Mr Moore was encouraged by conversations with management, and NSW Health's 'if not, why not' approach to flexible work, to seek a conversion to casual working hours. 

On that basis, Mr Moore tended his resignation as a full-time employee, along with a request for re-employment as a casual. 

"I wanted to go casual so I could work around my two children. The rosters were not family friendly," Mr Moore said.

Management then accepted his resignation, but did not accept his application for casual employment, leaving him out of work and stranded. 

"I feel gutted," Mr Moore said.

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said the union considered that Mr Moore had been unfairly dismissed, and was taking his case to the NSW Industrial Commission. 

"The State Government spruiks its commitment to family-family work policies, and Mr Moore had every reason to believe that this commitment was genuine. 

"Instead, he was double-crossed into submitting a resignation on the understanding that he could pick up more flexible work that would suit his family situation. 

"This is an appalling way to treat someone who's both a dedicated employee and a dedicated parent." 

Mr Hayes said shift hours for Health and Security Assistants at Kyogle had been reduced from 9.5 hours to 8 hours in 2016, resulting in fewer days off for workers. 

"The rosters for Health and Security Assistance are not family-friendly and have contributed to increased staff turnover and difficulties in attracting new staff at Kyogle. 

The HSU believes that Mr Moore is being punished for simply trying to find more suitable working arrangements, he said. 

"Given that Kyogle is already struggling to fill positions, the attitude of local management has been both petty and detrimental to safety and security at the hospital." 

Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones said as the matter was currently before the Industrial Relations commission, it was inappropriate for either party to make comment at present.

The LHD respects the consultative and investigative process that system provides for both staff and health management.

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