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Annual Report 2020 - 2021

Programs aim to keep staff healthy and safe at work

Launch of flexible work

On 1 February 2021, we launched our flexible working policy, enabling all staff across the organisation to apply to work flexibly by choosing any of the following options:

  • work from home/alternate location
  • staggered hours
  • compressed hours
  • part-time arrangement, or
  • job share.

Our approach to flexible working is a team-based one, where individual arrangements are designed in alignment with team design agreements and based on our flexible working principles.

As at 30 June 2021, 1,021 staff had applied for flexible work arrangements, with 863 approved. The majority of these agreements related to work from home/alternate location.

A staff survey conducted in April 2021 showed that 92 percent of participants felt their manager strongly supports flexible working and 85 percent were satisfied with their ability to access and use flexible working arrangements.

Supportive workplaces pilot

We implemented the supportive workplaces pilot in six offices or teams as part of our mentally healthy workplace  program of work. We partnered with the University of South Australia and the NSW Public Service Commission to support staff in these offices to identify opportunities to strengthen work environments, practices, and systems.

Our response to sexual harassment

Following reports of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour in workplaces, including the legal profession and public sector, we commenced work to review our policies and resources that deal with this conduct.

New draft policies were prepared, and advice sought from senior counsel to review the content of the draft policies. The draft policies make it clear that Legal Aid NSW has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment and unacceptable behaviour. They also address complaints about the conduct of third parties, such as other legal professionals who do not work at Legal Aid NSW.

Workers compensation claims and associated costs

Staff recorded 148 workplace incidents this year. Of these incidents, 66.2 percent were related to unreasonable client conduct or threats from clients, which is an increase of 2.8 percent since 2019–2020.

There was an overall 5.1 percent reduction in incidents recorded since last year.

There were 18 injury/illness notifications reported to the insurer, of which 13 were cost-impacting workers compensation claims. The total net incurred cost of these claims was $21,925.

A total of $507,460 was spent on active workers compensation claims this year, with a breakdown as follows:

  • 83 percent of claims related to physical injuries, and
  • 17 percent of claims related to psychological injuries.

Mechanism breakdown for injury/illness notifications

Vehicle incidents and other332
Falls, trips and slips693
Hitting objects with a part of the body111
Being hit by moving objects43
Body stressing579
Mental stress343

*Two additional notifications were made after the reporting period for 2019–20 but occurred during the financial year.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will develop and implement a wellcheck program.
  • We will establish a peer-to-peer framework.
  • We will enhance the Connect to Support options available to staff.
  • We will launch our mentally healthy workplace policy.