Sutherland Shire Council provides 'cushion' of four weeks pay to casual workers whose jobs have gone

Sutherland Leisure Centreis among council facilities that have closed. Picture: John Veage
Sutherland Leisure Centreis among council facilities that have closed. Picture: John Veage

The closure of many Sutherland Shire Council facilities due to the coronavirus has left 260 casual staff without jobs.

Workers have been paid a "a cushion" of four weeks' wages, based on the average they have received for the last six months.

The council is trying to ensure there is meaningful ongoing work for 160 permanent staff at the facilities, which include leisure centres, entertainment venues and libraries.

A council statement said, "Due to the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and despite its best efforts to keep facilities and services open as long as possible to keep our people in jobs, Sutherland Shire Council, in keeping with Public Health Orders, has implemented temporary closures of some of our services.

"Due to temporary closures of Sutherland Shire Council's less-traditional local government services; fitness, gyms and pools, art gallery, entertainment venues and events as well as its libraries, approximately 260 casual staff have been advised that there are no longer shifts available, but have been provided a cushion four weeks wages, based on the average of the last six months, to assist.

"We are adopting the agreed industry approach, applying the joint statement brokered between the combined unions and our industry body, Local Government NSW, to ensure our employees are provided their entitlements.

"Like so many other businesses we aren't able to offer ongoing shifts to our casual employees while Council facilities are closed, but we are working to ensure meaningful ongoing work for our 160 impacted permanent staff.

"We'll continue to monitor federal government health directives and will work with impacted casual staff as these facilities are allowed to reopen to assist in finding them roles where available.

"We understand that these closures will have a significant impact on many of our staff who work in casual roles or are seasonally employed and Sutherland Shire Council is striving to support the mental and physical wellbeing of all staff during these trying times, taking added care to ensure that those staff whose employment has been directly impacted by these service closures are engaged in a compassionate manner and provided appropriate support.

"Our staff have been offered access to a free counselling service through our employee wellbeing and assistance program, and we continue to encourage all staff to seek the support they need and look out for each other as we continue to face this challenge together.

"Council continues to make every effort to minimise the impact of these necessary and mandatory health measures on our staff, our services and our local residents."