What is the COVID-19 Employee Mobilisation Response?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented event requiring a dynamic response from the Victorian Government to address how, when and where work is performed and by whom. The state of emergency creates dual imperatives of maintaining public sector employment to the greatest extent possible whilst also rapidly filling current and emerging surge workforce needs.
Together with Industrial Relations Victoria (IRV), the Jobs and Skills Exchange (JSE) is implementing the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 Employee Mobilisation Response. In accordance with the , this initiative seeks to mobilise the Victorian Public Sector workforce in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) by deploying some employees to fulfil surge duties in areas where they are needed most.
How does the Employee Mobilisation Response work?
Mobility Officers have been nominated by departments to collate and share information regarding:
- the duties required to manage the Victorian Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response, ensuring the public sector is supported to deliver essential services to Victorians during the pandemic. This includes the provision of additional capacity to perform critical and essential support and other emerging or required functions across the Victorian Public Sector, as well as other consequential functions such as backfilling (surge functions); and
- those employees with capacity that may be mobilised where the functions of their role have been reduced due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The JSE is coordinating this process.
How will employees eligible for mobilisation be identified?
Employees with capacity to contribute to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response and participate in mobility arrangements include:
- ongoing and fixed-term employees receiving salary maintenance
- casual employees who are receiving financial support
- VPS fixed term employees (other than DJCS and DHHS) whose employer has nominated them to be a mobility employee
- other casual employees seeking work
- volunteer employees and employees with latent capacity or necessary skills, training or qualifications necessary for surge functions
How will employees be matched to surge functions/duties?
Employees will be asked to identify information such as skills, qualifications, necessary workplace adjustments required to support them in fulfilling any new duties, and personal circumstances that may make them unsuitable for certain work (e.g. healthcare conditions).
Employers who have available functions or roles will be required to identify key requirements such as location, duties and any special circumstances so that employees are appropriately matched.
Employees found suitable to perform surge function duties will be notified of the match and given 24 hours to express their interest in the opportunity.
Every effort will be made to match employees with duties that best align with their skills, capabilities and personal circumstances.
How can employees contribute to this response?
Your availability will then be communicated to the relevant departmental mobility officer and you may be contacted regarding suitable surge function/s.
What are some examples of surge functions?
The surge workforce needs that have arisen as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic require a diverse set of skills to ensure that the government can continue to deliver essential public services to our community and our colleagues.
In addition to a need for staff to fulfil frontline duties such a contact tracing and quarantine concierge, there is a high demand for surge functions such as workforce optimisation analysts, executive assistants, financial analysts, technical IT support staff, allied health professionals, hotel managers, grant administrators, and many more. Many of the duties require a short-term commitment, can be performed remotely, and every effort will be made to assign employees to duties that best align with their skills, capabilities and workplace needs.
Many departments already have their own internal mobility processes. How will this affect their work?
The Employee Mobilisation Response is designed to supplement existing internal mobility processes already in place within government departments and public sector agencies. It is not mandatory for departments or agencies to participate in the Mobility Response if duties can be assigned through internal movement or usual job advertisements.
What is the difference between the Employee Mobilisation Response and Working for Victoria?
Both of these initiatives are a part of the state’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Employee Mobilisation Response aims to support employees of the Victorian Public Sector. The focus is limited to employees whose roles have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and those with available capacity or with special skill sets.
The Working for Victoria initiative is designed to connect job seekers across Victoria with opportunities for paid work that will contribute to Victoria’s ability to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and support the community. This is open to any job seekers who have legal rights to work in Australia - including workers who have recently lost their jobs or casuals who no longer have shifts.
If a public sector role or duties cannot be filled within 48 hours through the Employee Mobilisation Response, it can be advertised immediately on Working for Victoria and elsewhere. In some circumstances, may be appropriate for some public sector roles, due to their nature, number, location or urgency, to be filled directly or concurrently through Working for Victoria or other means.
FAQs for mobilised employees
How long will my mobilisation be for?
You will be advised of the expected duration of the new duties at the time they are identified, however a maximum period of six months applies. Timeframes may change as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic conditions change. Your manager will work with you to manage this.
How will my mobilisation impact my pay and conditions?
In most instances it is anticipated that deployment will be on a secondment basis with no change in the substantive employment relationship. In most cases, employees will continue to receive their regular remuneration while mobilised performing other work. Your usual employer will continue to pay you in the usual way and on your usual pay day in the majority of assignments. If the work you are doing entitles you to extra payments or conditions under your existing enterprise agreement, these will also be provided.
I’m a casual or a part-time employee. Am I eligible to be mobilised?
Yes. As far as possible, you will be matched to perform duties that fit in with your existing work patterns (e.g. normal number of hours worked for casuals or part time employees).
I’m not sure I have the skills to do this work
Employees will be supported with training and induction where necessary. Please raise any concerns with your manager (home employer) as appropriate.
Can I do this work from home?
In some cases, it might be possible to conduct surge function duties from home but not always, and the work may be performed from another location.
I am vulnerable because of my health or personal circumstances. Am I able to be placed in this mobilisation?
We are committed to keeping people safe during this process. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, suppressed immunity, or have other specific circumstances you will not be placed into workplaces where risk cannot be appropriately mitigated.
We will seek to find alternative duties for you so you can still be involved in mobilisation. Your home agency manager should be aware of your circumstances and identify appropriate duties for you.
What information will I be provided before I am placed?
The reassignment of duties for existing public sector employees will generally involve a temporary reassignment of duties to meet demand within the context of a public sector employees’ existing role. Prior to placement into surge functions, employees will be given details regarding the opportunity title, anticipated time frame of the commitment, department/agency and location to which they will be deployed, details of a local contact and any special requirements if applicable.
What support do I have during this time?
Mobilisations can create uncertainty for employees who face the challenge of transitioning to a new work environment, working with new people and learning new skills.
Managing your own health, wellbeing and safety is of paramount importance:
- Check-in (email, text, Teams, Skype, phone call) regularly with your home agency (at a time that is mutually convenient).
- Reach out to someone if you are not coping, are having difficulty with the work, feeling unwell or exhausted. These are difficult times and we all have our limits.
- Refer to the for helpful advice regarding looking after your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you need support - confidential counselling is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are encouraged to let your manager or HR contact know if you need assistance in accessing EAP support while you are on mobilisation, although you are entitled to contact them confidentially.
- You or your family can also access BeyondBlue's free Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at or through their dedicated phone line, staffed by mental health professionals trained on the pandemic response, on .
Reviewed 14 September 2020