Author Topic: make sense much??  (Read 8535 times)

Offline boredmatrix

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make sense much??
« on: March 17, 2011, 08:55:23 AM »
STATE Emergency Service workers could be paid in a set-up similar to the Army Reserve under a proposal floated yesterday designed to boost volunteer numbers.

Emergency response to recent wild weather, including Cyclone Yasi and flash flooding, was hindered by not enough volunteer workers turning out when called upon.

Townsville City Council's Community Safety chairman Cr Dale Last said the volunteer group should begin paying its people to ensure they were ready and able in our darkest hour of need.

Cr Last said Cyclone Yasi highlighted the fact the service needed more members.

"The problem we are experiencing is people are now time-poor and a lot of other organisations are in the same boat with people struggling to give up their time," he said.

He said payment would make the ailing service more attractive to join.

"It would provide some form of remuneration and provide incentive for people to join and we need more people, there's no question about that," he said.

SES local controller Joyce Scorey said she was happy with the service's response during the recent wild weather.

"Overall, we did very well I think the only issues with that was the public expectation that the SES can do anything and everything," she said.

"However we were a bit thin on the ground, which is normal for this time of year."

"We had teams ready together within hours of the cyclone crossing the coast."

Ms Scorey said while the prospect of being paid for their work would entice new members to the services, it wouldn't necessarily bring with it a higher level of recruit.

"I think it will have a detrimental effect," she said.

Cr Last, who is also the Local Disaster Management Group chairman , urged the State Government to get behind the call.

"It's been the subject of previous discussion, but I think in the wash-up of all the disasters Queensland has experienced this year, I think it's something that should be discussed," he said.

Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said he preferred the SES remained a volunteer organisation.


http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2011/03/17/215741_news.html

Offline chook

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 10:01:57 AM »
Make sense? not sure. Maybe it was an indication of what happens when some people decide that SES should become a downgraded junior partner in a "super" organisation?
Maybe some sought of payment may attract more members but surveys in other states indicate that it would also drive other members away!
Maybe they should look at better funding of equipment, training & the reinstating of the QLD SES as a proper emergency service in the eyes of the community instead of being a sub branch of EMQ (QFRS)?
You reap waht you sow I guess  :wink:
Ken
just another retard!

Offline bajdas

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2011, 10:34:48 AM »
Fully agreed with Chook's comments.... I know it was discussed previously, but would payment to the business supporting any emergency service volunteer assist (eg training time & leave to do training) during a working week ?

I believe this is currently offered for USAR Cat II course.
Andrew Macmichael
lives at Pt Noarlunga South.

My personal opinion only.

Offline Pipster

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2011, 05:42:24 PM »
Dunno if paying volunteers for their emergency service work would necessarily fix issues with lack of crews, however, compensating employers, to let their people go might (perhaps if members received their normal pay, which their employer would be compensated for), might assist with responses to large scale disasters..?

Pip
There are three types of people in the world.  Those that watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

Offline Alan J

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 02:21:57 AM »
Am with Pip
We have the least affordable housing in the world (or so the papers tell us)
so leave without pay for extended ops isn't an option for many vols.

Leave with pay hits the employer with a double whammy - paying their employee for work they are not doing, plus losing the income that employee should have been generating. Want to spend 5 days in Qld or NZ shovelling mud & debris???... do it on your own time & expense.

High time the community started paying for the service it expects through an income support system like ADF reserves or similar.
Alan J.
Cherry Gdns CFS

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Offline 6739264

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 12:19:26 PM »
This seems to be a hot topic around the country with many volunteer emergency service groups look to hold onto declining numbers.

Is paying people really the best way to do this?

Maybe we need to focus on why people aren't joining? Why are people leaving?

If we pay people, does this then mean we get a higher class of operator? A more competent individual as they need to be held accountable?

Can we actually 'sack' people?

Something needs to be done and options need to be explored for sure, but its going to be very tough to implement a viable system that is fair to all.
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Offline chook

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 01:34:30 PM »
Interestingly with the recent multiple exposures of SES & others at work there was a significant increase in enquiries to join - however once it was explained that you can't just fill in paperwork & head off to help, the numbers decreased.
Also on one of the courses I help facilitate (aimed at officers managing people), the differences between the generations are explored in depth. Interestingly the young people are strongly interested in community work but everything has to have a purpose & they don't like being stuffed about. They don't cope well with poor management or "hurry up & wait". And I'm sorry to say that when you look at our organisations in a broader sense we don't always look like an attractive way to spend our free time. And these days people are more likely to leave rather than "sticking it out".
So yes while some incentives for employers may help, as has been said previously the respective services need to look a lot harder at themselves as well. I for one am currently in the middle of a transfer to the "big smoke". Now whether I remain with the service will depend on my impressions on the local unit in my new location. If however it seems a bit "Dads army" or worse my "face does not fit" then sadly I will not remain with the service. Time is far too short to be mess about by idiots :wink: Finally the medium projections for the future climate indicates that we will need more emergency service responders - not less. Something for all of us to ponder!
regards
Ken
just another retard!

Offline Pipster

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 06:44:22 PM »
It would appear (at least from an outsider) that simply paying volunteers for their time doesn't necessarily make more people join...

Looking at various MFS retained stations in SA who were struggling for membership, the money on offer didn't appear to increase the membership. 

Simply paying people for their time (on an adhoc basis) didn't appear to be enough of an incentive for more (suitable) members to join.

So if the service is not all about money, but other, more important issues, simply paying individuals is not the answer!!

As mentioned before, encouraging employers of existing members, through compensation for particular events, to release tier members, while the employee still receives their existing wage, might mean we have the right sort of people within a service, being more likely to be released for major events.

Pip
There are three types of people in the world.  Those that watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

Offline disOrderly

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 11:52:47 PM »
As a new volunteer, I think it would be good for the Government to reimburse employers for the time they give their staff to volunteer.

I for one know that if I would not lose income to volunteer, then I would do more shifts at the station, but for someone like me who is studying full time, I need every paid shift I can get my hands on, and unfortunately that means I cant volunteer as often as I'd like.
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Offline boredmatrix

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2011, 01:19:38 PM »
....And that's just the start of it Pip.

Having been a public servant for more than 10 years it is easy to see why, in the last 4 or 5 years that volunteer based  government ESO's will have difficulty retaining staff.

As an employee on a reasonable wage, I tolerate the bull$hit, the politics  and borderline bullying type behaviour because it is my job.....but when you're there volunteering your time and all these barriers keep popping up....it's easy to see why retention is an issue....not to mention the effect that a lack of retention has a direct knock on effect to your recruiting when word gets around as to why no-one hangs around!

It's not that hard to be nice to your staff now is it? 

Offline Alan J

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 01:12:47 PM »
I want to make it clear in my earlier posting that I am not advocating paying
volunteers directly for their time.

I am advocating payments to their employers (including the self-employed) to
maintain their employee's wages while they are absent. Just like SAAS & ADF &
the Courts do now.

This may not make any difference to the individual Unit/Brigade culture.
That's not the intent. Likewise, it may not change the number of people willing
to join. Becoming a skilled SES / CFS / SAAS operator is a big commitment of
time & effort.

Given that the overwhelming majority of ES/FS volunteers I know are not highly
paid, it does make it financially possible for them to put their hands up for
long deployments.

It also partly redresses the current unjust system of transferring the cost of
emergency services from the community which receives them to the individuals &
businesses which provide them. This injustice annoys me more than anything else.
Alan J.
Cherry Gdns CFS

Data isn't information.  Information isn't knowledge. 
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Offline bittenyakka

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 01:52:25 PM »
I had never thoguht of it as unjust before but it is a fair point.

Offline bajdas

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2011, 12:06:18 AM »
.....Given that the overwhelming majority of ES/FS volunteers I know are not highly
paid, it does make it financially possible for them to put their hands up for
long deployments.

It also partly redresses the current unjust system of transferring the cost of
emergency services from the community which receives them to the individuals &
businesses which provide them. This injustice annoys me more than anything else.

Alan, it might sound silly but I do not get the point.

I would have thought the community that has the emergency should be paying for the cost (in this case Queensland pays for flights/accomodation, equipment, etc).

I believe this is the current system where QLD will reimburse SA for the cost of sending staff/volunteers on deployment.

I do not think the business and volunteer in SA that is going on deployment to QLD should be paying the cost.

Why would you want to transfer the cost "...to the individuals & businesses which provide them...." ?

Thanks, Andrew Mac
Andrew Macmichael
lives at Pt Noarlunga South.

My personal opinion only.

Offline Alan J

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2011, 01:08:41 AM »
G'day Andrew
Let me spell it out - this applies to ANY business-hours response.

If the volunteer is not paid for their time away from work, they effectively
pay the community their forgone wages. In addition to doing the work. That's
a volunteers choice - some simply are n't financially able to do so for more
than a few hours occasionally.

HOWEVER
There are a bunch of flow-on costs in the back-ground which must be recognized.

When a volunteer leaves their work place to attend an emergency, their employer
loses that person's labour. The employer loses the income generated by their
employee, or the employer pays overtime rates for someone else to do their work.
There may also be contractual penalties for late delivery, or at least, loss of
customer goodwill. So the employer PAYS the community too.

If the volunteer is paid by their employer during their absence, their employer
effectively PAYS the community three or more times the cost of the response:
they pay for work not done by the volunteer, PLUS lose the income which the
volunteer would have generated. Or they have to pay someone else to do the work,
probably at Overtime rates, and lose customer goodwill due to delay.

The self-employed volunteer pays 4 ways - loss of pay for hours not worked,
PLUS loss of customer goodwill, PLUS extra costs to complete contracted work
including possible penalties, PLUS loss of future work while not available to
take calls & provide quotes.

So using volunteers in emergency response is far from "free". It merely
transfers the labour cost from the community receiving the benefit, to the
persons delivering it and/or their employers.

An employee income support payment by the state to volunteers' employers would
go some way to redressing this, pushing at least some of the cost of emergency
response labour back onto the community, where it belongs.  

Make more sense now?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 01:14:40 AM by Alan J »
Alan J.
Cherry Gdns CFS

Data isn't information.  Information isn't knowledge. 
Knowledge isn't wisdom.

Offline Alan J

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2011, 01:29:54 AM »
For the record, I don't think an employer compensation or volunteer payment
system would increase the total number of SES/FS volunteers. The commitment
demanded for training and immediate response is too hard for most.

What it would do is increase the number of existing vols who are able to go
on extended deployments by ensuring they can still pay the rent/mortgage, bills,
and feed their families.

It would increase the number of employers willing to release employees for
non-local emergencies by reducing their costs.

Defence Reserves, jury duty & SAAS are considered important enough civic
duties to warrant such payments.  Why not response to other emergencies &
disasters ?
Alan J.
Cherry Gdns CFS

Data isn't information.  Information isn't knowledge. 
Knowledge isn't wisdom.

Offline chook

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Re: make sense much??
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2011, 05:02:18 PM »
Totally agree - if there is going to be any payment system this is what it should be!
I was asked to do various out of area deployments recently - I had to answer no - due to what you highlighted above Alan J.
Backfilling my position for several days/weeks at short notice is impossible & I would not expect my employer to "make do" so I can help in another area/ state. In my position any compensation system would not work, however for some it would work. Anyway I really think the community needs to decide what sought of emergency response they require, who is going to provide it? (are volunteer emergency responders really the right people to be using?), how is it going to be funded?(should the feds take over emergency response funding)& what is the future of volunteer emergency response?
Just a few thoughts
cheers
Ken
just another retard!

 

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