This policy and procedures, or parts of this policy and procedures have application to all employees, members of the BCOM and Branch Delegates to National Council as appropriate

PURPOSE

This policy sets guidelines for all employees and Branch Officers. This Policy provides broad guidelines on gifts (as defined) given by members, employers, suppliers or other persons or organisations to employees and Branch Officers or, in certain circumstances, members of their immediate family. This policy does not cover gifts given to the Union or gifts purchased from Union funds.

POLICY STATEMENT

HSUSA employees and Branch Officers are expected to uphold the integrity of the Branch and Union in the highest manner when undertaking their duties and in their undertakings with members, employers, outside organisations and suppliers.

  • HSUSA employees and Branch Officers must behave honestly and with integrity in the course of their employment or duties.
  • HSUSA employees and Branch Officers must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with their Branch or Union employment or duties.
  • HSUSA employees and Branch Officers must not make improper use of inside information or use the employee’s or Officer’s duties, status, power or authority in order to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage for the employee, Officer or for any other person.

DEFINITIONS

‘BCOM’ is the Branch Committee of Management elected in accordance with the rules of the Union.

‘Branch’ refers to the Health Services Union, South Australian Branch.

‘Credit Card’ also means ‘Debit Card’

‘Executive Committee’ means the Committee established by resolution of the BCOM and made up of the Officers of the Branch as defined by Rule 50.  The Executive Committee performs all of the functions and duties of a Finance Committee required under the registered rules of the Union.

‘Bookkeeper’ means the person appointed to manage and operate the financial accounts of the Branch on a day to day basis.

‘Gift’ means present, benefit, offering, or token of appreciation from a member, employer, vendor, supplier, potential employee, or potential vendor or supplier and includes, but is not limited to, cash, merchandise, services, hospitality or social invitations whether offered free or discounted.

‘HSUSA’ or ‘Health Services Union, South Australian Branch’ means the Health Services Union, South Australian Branch.

‘Health Services Union’ or ‘HSU’ means the National Union (as defined by the rules) of which HSUSA is a Branch.

‘Immediate Family’ means any child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, spouse (including defacto), sibling, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and any person (other than a tenant or employee) sharing the household of the employee or Branch Officer.

‘Officer’ is an Officer of the Branch in accordance with the rules of the Union.

‘Union’ means the Health Services Union.

POLICY

  1. Receiving Gifts

1.1     As a matter of course, HSUSA employees and Branch Officers should attempt to discourage a person from providing a gift as a result of them performing their duties.  Judgment should be exercised so not to offend well-meaning intention.

1.2     Under no circumstance must an employee or Branch Officer initiate, suggest or encourage a member, employer or supplier to offer or provide a gift.  Such action will be treated as a disciplinary offence for employees or misconduct offence under the rules for a Branch Officer.

1.3     An employee or Branch Officer must decline a gift if they believe that the gift is being provided to secure some special benefit or to influence some decision, or that acceptance of the gift would undermine the integrity and impartiality of the Branch or the Union, or that the acceptance of such a gift could be construed by others in this way.

1.4     All gifts offered or received by an employee or Branch Officer, or to a member of an employee’s or Branch Officer’s immediate family, over an estimated value of $40, must be declared to the Branch Secretary in the case of an employee or the Branch President in the case of the Branch Secretary or a Branch Officer.  Where the gift is in the form of an invitation to a hospitality or social event, the invitation should be disclosed to the Branch Secretary in the case of an employee or the Branch President in the case of the Branch Secretary or a Branch Officer.  This applies to gifts whether they are accepted or rejected.

Meals associated with pure entertainment, where Branch or Union business is not discussed, are considered to be gifts.

1.5     In the event that a gift is disproportionate to the reason provided or is excessive in magnitude, a judgment will be made by the Branch Secretary or Branch President as to whether the employee or Branch Officer may retain that gift.  In the event that the Branch Secretary or Branch President decides that an employee or Branch Officer may not retain a gift, that gift will be returned to the giver, used for the benefit of the membership or donated to an appropriate charity.

1.6     The Branch Secretary must maintain a Register of Gifts for all gifts declared in accordance with sub-clause 15.4 and shall provide the BCOM with a copy of the Register in December and July each year.  The register should include information such as the date the gift was offered, who offered to, offered by, the reason the gift was offered, description of gift, estimated value of gift, whether the gift was accepted or declined, and the decision by the Branch Secretary or Branch President regarding gift.

1.7     This policy extends to members of an employee’s immediate family where the gift is offered in or in connection with the employees employment or the Branch Officers duties with the Union.

1.8     For the purpose of this policy, the following are exempt:

  • A plaque or an award;
  • A non-cash raffle prize or draw at a conference or similar events, where the employee or Branch Officer is representing the Union; (Any cash prizes must be used to offset the expenses associated with attendance at the event/conference.)
  • Meals with a supplier, prospective vendor or at professional meetings and conferences are not considered gifts if the Branch or the Union gains from such attendance and or the invitation to attend is in the employee’s or Branch Officer’s capacity as an employee or Branch Officer and is consistent with their role.
  1. Accepting fees

Generally, it is expected that Branch Officers and employees will not accept outside payment for activities considered part of their normal duties. If an employee is offered a fee to speak at a work-related conference, it may be accepted providing the Union receives the benefit, not the individual.

  1. Sponsored travel

Situations may arise, where an external organisation or Government Department pay’s for travel for a Branch Officer or employee to attend a meeting or function. Where the Branch or the Union is the sole beneficiary of such sponsored travel, it is not considered to be a gift under this policy.

Where an individual employee or Branch Officer benefits personally from sponsored travel, then it is considered to be a gift under this policy and such offers of sponsored travel should be reported as a gift and placed on the gift register.

  1. Compliance and Review of this Policy

3.1     A substantial or repeated breach of this policy by a Branch Officer or employee covered by the scope of this policy will be deemed to be a disciplinary offence in the case of an employee or misconduct under the rules of the Union in the case of a Branch Officer.

3.2     In June each year, the Executive Committee will undertake a review of the operation of this Policy and Procedures to ensure that the policy is adequately regulating the financial governance of the Branch and that the policy is being fully complied with and report the findings of the review to the BCOM.

3.3     The Executive Committee and the BCOM will each have a standing ‘Governance Issues’ agenda item for each meeting to provide a regular forum for the discussion of union governance issues.

3.4     The Branch Secretary will ensure that all relevant policies and procedures are made available to Branch Officers and employees and that appropriate training (including an induction process) is offered to ensure they understand the union’s financial policies and procedures and their own responsibilities.

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