About us

The Health Services Union
is a member-based union

With more than 95,000 members and counting

Our members work across the health and community services sectors in every State and Territory of Australia.

We know our members are often over-worked and undervalued, which is why we stand for continuous improvements for all workplaces, wages, and rights.

Like our members, the HSU is a strong advocate for better, fairer and high-quality health and community services.

Protect the security of your job, wages, and livelihood by becoming a member of the HSU today.

Our Commitment

Protection

Advance and protect the wages, conditions, rights, and entitlements of members.

Activism

Campaigning and workplace activism to drive change.

Support

Provide a range of services and support to assist members with work and family life.

Member Benefits

Whether you need representation, legal advice, insurance or guidance, HSU members enjoy an extensive range of benefits plus discounts on goods and services.

HSU officials visit workplaces regularly to provide support and assistance to members. You can also call or email us for advice, whether it’s about your pay and conditions, workplace change, health and safety, disciplinary matters or anything else concerning you at work. We make sure you don’t get left out on your own.

Get representation and support from those who know your workplace rights.

Being called into a meeting with the boss can feel daunting, especially if you feel underprepared. 

What are they going to say? 

Will you be put on the spot? 

What if they ask you to sign something you’re not sure about? 

In important disciplinary meetings and processes, the HSU will provide members with ongoing support and representation. We work tirelessly to see that members know their rights and any outcomes are fair.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is a form of liability insurance that protects you at work. It is essential for anyone working in the health, aged care and community sectors – especially those who work with vulnerable people. PII provides you with the legal protection and support that you will need if there is an issue with your professional practice at work. 

Some issues that require protection can include:

  • Medication errors
  • Client deaths
  • Misconduct allegations
  • If you are sued by a client

There are many more issues you could be exposed to, which is why you need PII.

Professional Indemnity Insurance policies vary between branches. However, members are typically insured for a minimum of $10 million in individual indemnity.

Each HSU branch provides designated lawyers who will give you a free initial consultation on any matter or full legal representation on industrial matters.

HSU members can enjoy huge discounts on a range of goods and services such as movies tickets, vouchers from major retailers (Coles, JB-HiFi, Bunnings, etc.), wine, car rentals, insurance and more. Benefit programs vary by branch.

Find your branch

The HSU is a federated union with individual branches in every state and territory. Each branch of the HSU covers different workers depending on their job or workplace. Choose your state or territory to learn more about the branch that covers you and the benefits they can offer.

We are proud to represent workers from across the health and community services sectors

Our members work in:​

  • aged care
  • ambulance services
  • community health
  • disability
  • mental health
  • pathology
  • private practice
  • public and private hospitals

Our members include:*

  • Aboriginal Health Workers

  • Administrative and Clerical Workers

  • Allied Health Assistants

  • Chinese Medicine Practitioners

  • Cleaners

  • Cooks and Chefs

  • Dental Therapists and Technicians

  • Dentists

  • Dietitians

  • Disability Support Workers

  • Gardeners

  • Home Care Workers

  • Junior Doctors

  • Managers

  • Medical Imaging Technologists
  • Medical Librarians

  • Medical Scientists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometrists
  • Osteopaths
  • Paramedics
  • Personal Care Workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Radiation Therapists
  • Secuity Officers
  • Social Workers
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Technicians
  • Ward Clerks

*This is small sample list of job titles. To confirm you are covered by the HSU, please contact us.

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History

While the Health Services Union officially came into existence in 1991, its history traces all the way back to Federation when hospital workers began to organise themselves in the newly established Commonwealth of Australia.

In 1959, nearly three decades later, the union changed its name again to the Hospital Employees’ Federation of Australia (HEF). The ranks of the HEF were swelled in 1961 after the establishment of two Tasmanian branches of the federal union. At the 1986 annual conference a Victorian No.3 branch was established to represent professional staff such as scientists, therapists and pharmacists. Meanwhile, in NSW, the Hospital and Asylum Employees’ Union of NSW was also undergoing changes both to its name and coverage which initially extended to all members working in hospitals, universities and the ambulance service. The union became known as the Hospital Employees’ Association of NSW in 1947, before becoming the Health and Research Employees Association (HREA) in 1965

In 1911 two unions were registered as federal organisations, formalising the workings of groups of hospital workers. One of these unions was the Hospital and Asylum Employees’ Union of NSW and the other was the Hospital and Asylum Attendants and Employees Union of Australia, which changed its name only three years later to the Hospital Dispensary and Asylum Employees’ Union of Australia (HDAEA). However, despite its name, HDAEA only covered Victorian workers. Just over a decade later, another Victorian-based union was federally registered as the Hospital Employees Association (HEA) representing workers in Victorian and NSW mental hospitals.

Rivalry between the two Victorian unions soon emerged. However, five years of negotiations took place to resolve the conflict, leading to an amalgamation of the two unions and the creation of the Hospital, Dispensary and Asylum Employees’ and Allied Government Officers’ Federation of Australia in 1930.

The HEF and HREA moved towards amalgamation in the late 1980s. Members officially decided on the merger on 4 July 1990 and the HSU officially began almost a year later with the first meeting of the union’s National Executive on 7 February 1991. In 1994, three new branches came into the union. The Hospital Salaried Officers Association from Western Australia and in Victoria the Medical Scientists Association of Victoria and the Victorian Psychologists Association also became members of the federal HSU as part of the Victoria No. 4 branch.