Home Affairs again told it must consult staff on contentious dress code

Ian Bushnell 27 July 2021 15
Woman in sleeveless top

The CPSU believes Home Affairs’ dress code is aimed at women. Photo: File.

The Home Affairs Department has had its bid to introduce a contentious new dress code for staff without consulting them knocked back for a second time by the Fair Work Commission.

Home Affairs first tried to implement the new dress code which bans sleeveless attire and jeans back in February, but it was thwarted by the Community and Public Sector Union, which took the matter to the Commission, arguing that the Department had to consult first with staff.

In an April ruling, the Commission agreed, but last week Home Affairs tried to appeal the decision, only to be told that having to give two weeks’ notice of a new policy so staff can comment was not onerous.

The dress rules, which even cover employees in home offices when they are on video calls, may still be introduced but only after the department talks with the union and staff.

But the CPSU believes the dress rules are aimed at women, who make up 54 per cent of staff.

The rules provide a list of suitable and unsuitable attire. In the unsuitable column are sleeveless tops, dresses and blouses; activewear such as tracksuits, T-shirts, polo shirts, tank tops and shorts; and joggers and sneakers.

“The appearance of both our uniformed and non-uniformed officers is the first impression of the department and forms a lasting impression on the public,” the dress code says.

“Staff working from home should display a neat and tidy appearance. If required to attend a meeting in person or virtually with external parties, the business professional attire standard applies.”

READ ALSO: Should your workplace have any say in what you wear?

CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said CPSU members welcome the Commission upholding the right of workers to be consulted on policies that will affect their day-to-day working life.

She said the wording of new uniform rules had clear gendered implications and targeted women.

“It is disappointing that Home Affairs can not see the strength and experience its workforce could bring to policies and standards through consultation,” Ms Donnely said.

“CPSU members are on the front line of immigration, border and national security every day, their experience can only make policies strong.”

The union had said that Home Affairs had staff all over the country, including in places like Darwin and Townsville, where they might not have air conditioning at home.

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15 Responses to Home Affairs again told it must consult staff on contentious dress code
Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 7:44 pm 28 Jul 21

When men stop wearing their ridiculous old fashioned suits and ties because they have no imagination the they can discuss it. Until then leave womens dress alone.

Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 7:57 am 28 Jul 21

Could someone please tell the dept of Home Affairs that it's almost almost 2022. Next they'll be bringing back tea ladies and sacking women when they get married ffs 🙄

Mark Johanson Mark Johanson 10:52 pm 27 Jul 21

WOW, home affairs obviously have a lot on their plate! Talk about the big issues!

Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 10:06 pm 27 Jul 21

Why? Too sexy? Can’t the old white men control themselves? From what happens in Parliament, I think I’ve just answered my own question!!

Marea Stefek Marea Stefek 9:25 pm 27 Jul 21

Laura Folkard Megan Aster-Stater nothing has changed 🙄

Jess Lucia Jess Lucia 8:28 pm 27 Jul 21

Yup cause this looks so unprofessional… Jesus if I roll my eyes any harder I’ll have a stroke.

Steve Jones Steve Jones 8:18 pm 27 Jul 21

We pay their wages so why are they wasting our money.

Get on with the job your are paid to do.

Lily Rimanic Lily Rimanic 7:47 pm 27 Jul 21

Business attire is one thing ... but can someone please elaborate on the reasons given for smart sleeveless tops or dresses being an issue an issue?

    Joanne Mitchell Joanne Mitchell 8:11 pm 27 Jul 21

    Lily Rimanic they shouldn’t be . They used to be allowed here and are commonplace in other departments - especially with the Canberra heat in summer

    Lily Rimanic Lily Rimanic 8:23 pm 27 Jul 21

    Agreed, Joanne Mitchell ... I was curious as to the actual reasons cited in the submission to the FWC for their prohibition.

Sammy Elder Sammy Elder 7:15 pm 27 Jul 21

This issue, sadly, is just a small insight into the poor management & blatant disregard for staff that is currently happening in Home Affairs. The whole dept. is toxic.

Shayne Borger Shayne Borger 7:05 pm 27 Jul 21

Its not 1950 and they're not a Military or Para-Military organisation. Its a government department that should be treating women with respect not degrading them or the modern fashion. Move with the times and modernise.

    Mandy Evans Mandy Evans 7:16 pm 27 Jul 21

    Shayne Borger sadly due to more conservative old white men being in positions of power they can't move with the times and modernise, their whole world would cave in...and we've seen how much the parliamentarians value and respect women of late, it would surely filter through the rest of the public service.

Heidi Tunks Heidi Tunks 7:05 pm 27 Jul 21

Liz Bevan no shoulders, too sexy

chewy14 chewy14 6:05 pm 27 Jul 21

These types of clothing decrees are silly but the idea that this is gendered is ridiculous.

Unless they are admitting that the current situation is also gendered in that the appropriate attire for men in an office is far more limited than it is for women.

So naturally any form of new restrictions will affect women more.

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