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Curtin University
Note to staff

11 April 2014


Easter break

I am pleased to advise that with the support of my senior executive team, staff are not required to attend work on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 April 2014.

The unusual combination of public holidays comprising the Easter Weekend, Easter Tuesday (which is also a University holiday) and Anzac Day (Friday 25 April) provides an ideal opportunity to give staff a significant break. It is a teaching-free week, so no students should be impacted by the additional break and essential services will remain open.

Those staff unable to take the two days off because they are required to work (e.g. Security, Library) will be able to arrange with their line managers alternative arrangements to take the leave at a mutually convenient time. A note informing staff of the logistics of these arrangements will be issued by the HR Director shortly. Please note that paid leave bookings made for this period will be centrally reversed.

I have made this decision because I am aware of the extra efforts staff are putting in at present, in order to cope with the demands that have resulted from projects such as Reshaping and EQUIP. The decision to provide additional leave is not to be taken as a precedent, but as a gesture of appreciation and recognition.

I am very grateful for the commitment Curtin staff have made towards the progress of our strategic projects. I hope that the extra-long break will give you the chance to relax, refresh and come back to work recharged with enthusiasm.

I take this opportunity to thank you all for your contribution to Curtin and wish you a safe and happy break.

  1. Amanda Jefferson April 11, 2014 8:16am

    That is amazing. Look out Margaret River, here I come!

  2. Katherine Smith April 11, 2014 9:38am

    Thank you – this is really appreciated but all staff in my area!

  3. Karen Carriero April 11, 2014 9:42am

    Thank you VC and Executive a loud group cheer and applause has been heard in building 104.

  4. Barbara Newbon April 11, 2014 9:42am

    Thank you – this is a generous offer and very much appreciated.

  5. Laura Burgum April 11, 2014 9:43am

    We really all do sincerely appreciate this, however for the vast number of casual staff, if they don’t work, they don’t get paid. The public holidays coming up were already going to put a strain on resources, and with additional days, this may have an unfortunate impact on these valuable staff.

    • Jessica Wilkes April 11, 2014 10:43am

      Thank you for raising this Laura. As a casual staff member although it will be wonderful to spend some much needed time with my family, as a sole parent, in addition to the loss of earnings from public holidays and still recovering from living on credit whilst being in between contracts during semester breaks, I’m not really sure who is to pay the rent?!
      In addition the outfall of stressed students having had no staff presence for the week and a half directly before their assesments will be a wonderful anti dote for the “week off”

    • Jessica Wilkes April 11, 2014 10:44am

      Thank you for raising the issue of casual staff Laura. As a casual staff member although it will be wonderful to spend some much needed time with my family, as a sole parent, in addition to the loss of earnings from public holidays and still recovering from living on credit whilst being in between contracts during semester breaks, I’m not really sure who is to pay the rent?!
      In addition the outfall of stressed students having had no staff presence for the week and a half directly before their assesments will be a wonderful anti dote for the “week off”

    • Colin Beattie April 11, 2014 3:13pm

      Yes, thanks Laura
      I’m presuming as a casual member of staff I can work as normal which means I’ll be in on those days. If I don’t, I will find myself under significant financial pressure so unless this gesture also covers casual staff (of which there are a significant number) then I will be working.

  6. Sharon De Ronchi April 11, 2014 9:58am

    On behalf of the Health Sciences FSSO we would like to say thank for your very generous offer, it is much appreciated by us all.

  7. Dhavalkumar Panchal April 11, 2014 9:59am

    Denmark!!! here I come.
    Thanks a lot.

  8. Lana Bates April 11, 2014 10:09am

    On behalf of the Examinations Office we would like to say a very BIG thank you for your very generous offer and it is very much appreciated by us all!!!

  9. Natalie Gasson April 11, 2014 10:12am

    Thank you for this. It gives me an opportunity to spend some quality school holiday time with my daughter!!

  10. Llesa Hawke April 11, 2014 10:14am

    From all the Admin Staff at WASM Kalgoorlie thank you very much.

  11. Gillian Loh April 11, 2014 10:22am

    Dear VC, this is very much appreciated from the team down in 100:235!

  12. Corinne Williams April 11, 2014 10:35am

    Many thanks for this thoughtful decision. I’m sure that all staff appreciate – as I most certainly do – the focus on staff wellbeing that underlies it.

  13. Michelle DeGalt-Rohlf April 11, 2014 10:48am

    Thank you very much for this, it is really appreciated.

  14. Ruth McConigley April 11, 2014 10:50am

    Thank you – it’s always nice to have our hard work acknowledged and appreciated. Happy Easter everyone.

  15. Phillip Della April 11, 2014 10:51am

    As a Head of School thank you, this is really appreciated. Just what is needed for all during this time of great change.

  16. Elizabeth Henry April 11, 2014 11:07am

    Thank you from all the tired but now very happy staff in the Scholarships Office

  17. Sheela Krnjajic April 11, 2014 11:24am

    Thank you VC and Executives!

    This is so unexpected but greatly appreciated by all :-)

    A lovely gesture in an unsettling time – exactly what we need.

    Thank you so much :-)

  18. Naomi Yellowlees April 11, 2014 11:58am

    Thank you, very much appreciated. There are a lot of big smiles in the office today.

  19. Steven Bottomley April 11, 2014 11:59am

    The extra few days is appreciated but, as stated by the VC, is also well deserved. A cynic may suggest that these extra few days are a vain attempt to ameliorate the tumultuous personal disruption that has occurred to staff during ‘academic reshaping’ and the implementation of the Equip system. Let us not forget that many staff who have been made redundant, or who are about to be made redundant, have already been given a ‘holiday’ by the VC and the senior executive.

  20. Maureen Meredith April 11, 2014 11:59am

    Thank you for this unexpected gesture, much appreciated.

  21. Belinda Kerr April 11, 2014 12:52pm

    A kind gesture – but I intend to work.I work across a few different jobs and I have already made appointemtns to employ/ interview and train staff and modify unit content with instructional designers etc….. at a time of year when this is actually possible due to teaching loads during Semester.

  22. Elaine Miller April 11, 2014 1:18pm

    You can’t please all of the people all of the time… This is a kind gesture that would be very much appreciated if it weren’t for the fact that we already have bookings to use our instruments during those two days (because postgraduate students are around all the time) and, if we cancel them, we will lose income. Not to mention having to come in over Easter to do essential jobs like topping up the liquid nitrogen… There’s no rest for technicians (poor us)!

  23. Jane Armstrong April 11, 2014 3:03pm

    It is a relief to receive recognition of the personal costs to professional and academic staff of “reshaping” and Equip. This is a welcome gesture from our new VC and I am pleased that so many will benefit. However, a considerable number of staff in my area cannot afford to stop work as we are still trying to catch up after reshaping, and we are still suffering from inadequate staffing. I am afraid many of us will have to come to work for many different reasons regardless of this gift.

    It was also a pleasure to see someone recognise the problems of our casual colleagues, thank you Laura Burgum.

    • Kate COOK April 11, 2014 4:00pm

      Hi Jane,
      Your staff are still entiled to 2 days in lieu if they have to work it so they do not miss out on this ‘gift’

      Also casuals are still able to work and be paid for these days as per the email that was sent to all staff from HR this afternoon.’Easter and Anzac Break arrangements’

      • Laura Burgum April 11, 2014 4:15pm

        Actually Kate, they aren’t.

        The email states:
        • Please advise all casual (Academic and Professional) and agency staff that they are not required to work during this period.”

        It only mentions that commencing staff will be paid. Casual staff only get paid if they work.
        I’m of the understanding that there is a freeze on Professional Staff gaining a fixed-term or continuing contact at the momend due to Equip.
        Casual doesn’t mean unnecessary.

  24. Kerry Rotumah April 11, 2014 3:56pm

    Thank you so much to our newly appointed VC and the Executive’s for this additonal leave. I will thoroughly enjoy spending the extra time with my grandchildren. 😀

  25. Jane Armstrong April 11, 2014 4:57pm

    Thank you Kate – still looking forward to catching up from teaching online over Xmas close down so i will gratefully add these days to the bill :)

  26. Stuart Penman April 12, 2014 1:03pm

    You’ve got to be joking! 3300 staff members employed at Curtin earning $300 per day will cost the tax payer $1 million in salaries each day off work..Curtin is not a private university it is a public university receiving close to $1 Billion in taxpayers dollars each year…can you imagine the outrage by Hockey and Pine when they get wind of this? As a tax payer I am absolutely shocked that one person has the authority to squander $2 million tax payers dollars in two days unnecessary holidays in between two long weekends??? Unbelievable!

  27. Deborah Terry April 14, 2014 4:35am

    Thank you, Stuart, for your comments. When the decision was made to grant the extra two days leave, the issues that you have raised were considered very carefully by all members of the senior executive. They were balanced against an understanding of the costs of fully opening the University for two days during a non-teaching period with a large number of staff away and the expected impact of the spread of public holidays on productivity during this period.

    We are also very aware of the impact that the Academic Reshaping project has had on workloads, particularly over the past few weeks, and felt that it was appropriate to take advantage of the opportunity to acknowledge this effort and to ensure that staff are well-prepared for the additional changes that are anticipated to come from the EQUIP project. I have made it clear this is not to be considered a precedent, but an acknowledgement of the enormous contribution that staff have made during this recent period, coupled with an unusual combination of public holidays.

    If you would like to discuss the issues in more depth, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. I would be very happy to meet with you.

    With best wishes


  28. Stuart Penman April 14, 2014 12:18pm

    Comment removed at the request of the author

  29. Deborah Terry April 14, 2014 4:20pm

    Dear Stuart

    Thank you for this further message. I have agreed to meet with you but your comments today are inappropriate for this forum. If you have substantiated allegations of bullying, please report them through the PSCU and they will be investigated.

    Best wishes


  30. Stuart Penman April 15, 2014 4:54am

    Comment removed at the request of the author

  31. Melissa Davis April 17, 2014 11:14pm

    Thank you VC for your generous gesture and for your considered responses to the concerns raised by colleagues. I think the number of posts expressing appreciation are strong reflections of how exhausted people are due to the massive upheaval and great unsettledness at Curtin at the moment and I hope that the break will give people an opportunity to replenish their physical, mental, and emotional resources. We are all very mindful of those colleagues who are no longer with us and we know that those of us who are still here are all working very hard and doing our very best, many under very taxing circumstances. I would like to see us ALL stick together and support each other – keeping in mind our shared mission of excellence in teaching and learning and research for our students and the wider community – building our strength and resilience as individuals and as a successful organisation.

  32. Gillian Colclough April 18, 2014 1:13pm

    As one of many who had booked annual leave for the days concerned (in which the hallowed halls were undoubtedly going to echo quite a bit anyway), I am adding my support and thanks for this welcome gesture. I commute to Curtin from some distance, and lack the choice to do otherwise. These ten days will save me hundreds of dollars in fuel, plus wear on my car and myself, and give me breathing space. All I have to do now is try to reset my body clock to NOT wake me up at 4.45am for a 6am departure for work! Thank you.

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