The Guardian • Issue #2051


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2051

This International Day of Mourning, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) remembers those who have lost their life at work and renews calls for more to be done to address mental health workplace risks to prevent further tragic losses. International Day of Mourning (28th April) is a day to remember and honour those who have lost their lives at work. NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, expressed concern around the increasing psychosocial and mental health risks impacting nurses and midwives. “We’d like to see urgent investment focused on protecting the psychosocial wellbeing and mental health of nurses and midwives,” Candish said “We’ve seen a significant amount of research in the past year highlighting the extent of the problem. A COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Worker study found one in 10 healthcare workers surveyed reported thoughts of suicide or self-harm over a two-week period. Healthcare workers were also twice as likely as workers in other industries to experience psychological injury, according to a Design for Care survey on Psychological injury in the NSW Healthcare and social assistance industry.” A report released earlier this year commissioned by the NSWNMA revealed 15 in every 100 nurses and midwives surveyed are suffering symptoms of post-traumatic stress at clinical levels, with overwork, exhaustion, and burnout identified as key contributors. “The data and research into mental health risks at workplaces is there, now we need action to address the issues,” Candish said. Workplaces should be proactive and encourage reporting of workplace psychosocial hazards and risks, as ignoring them or accepting them as the norm is increasingly dangerous. “In addition to that, we need increased risk mitigation measures to address occupational violence, improved programs to reduce bullying, further training for staff and managers to support each other after traumatic events, and a review of the Employee Assistance Program,” Candish continued. “The NSW government commitment to implement ratios in NSW public hospitals through their Safe Staffing policy will have a positive impact on nurses’ and midwives’ mental health, but more must be done.”

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: Measures are being put in place to prevent employers from absconding with workers’ super. The union movement has welcomed the federal government’s announcement that superannuation is to be paid on the same day as wages. When super is paid quarterly rather than on the same day as wages, it is harder to track when it is not paid. Like wage theft, failure to pay superannuation is rife: millions of workers have up to $5 billion a year in superannuation unpaid by employers, and this has serious implications for their retirement. Mandating for super to be paid with wages will not only make it easier to detect and recover unpaid super, it will also help prevent its non-payment – as quarterly payments will no longer obscure what’s owed. This announcement comes as legislation is also before federal parliament to finally enshrine superannuation as a universal workplace right, ensuring every worker has the right to recover unpaid super.

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