The Union advises many members each week about their entitlements under enterprise agreements and, in Catholic systemic schools, work practices agreements, that sit alongside the enterprise agreement.
Enterprise agreements apply to all Catholic systemic schools and nearly all independent schools and contain legally enforceable provisions relating to:
• Progression up the pay scale – for teachers and support staff – know where you are on your pay scale, whether you are entitled to progress and what you need to do in order to progress
• Letters of appointment – what must be specified?
• Temporary appointment – in what circumstances can a teacher be employed as temporary?
• Appointment processes – when must a position be advertised? In Catholic systemic schools all appointments for a term or longer must be advertised. Teacher appointments in most Catholic independent schools also need to be advertised.
• Promotions positions – how many promotion positions must be appointed in a school of a particular size and what are the requirements for advertising vacancies?
• Leave – personal and carer’s leave, long service leave and paid parental leave and evidence requirements or notice to access the leave
• Right to request part time work because of carer’s responsibilities and for other specified reasons
• Right to be consulted about major workplace changes.
A copy of your enterprise agreement should be available in your workplace but members can also access the enterprise agreement for your school from the IEU website. The new NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement 2017 (yet to be approved by the Fair Work Commission) is also accessible.
If you have a query about an entitlement, do not hesitate to contact the Union. In some cases, delay can affect your ability to enforce your entitlement, so do not delay.
New work practices agreements
Work practices agreements have been re-negotiated and improved in 2018 with each Catholic diocese, except Wilcannia-Forbes. Work practice agreements are enforceable separate agreements between each diocese and the Union but in two cases the provisions are contained in the relevant annexure of the Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement. Work practices agreements contain provisions such as:
• maximum face to face teaching and supervisory requirements
• release from Face to Face Teaching (RFF) in primary schools and the rights of a teacher to take RFF
• release for teachers in promotions positions
• maximum class sizes and support for a class teacher if desirable class sizes are exceeded
• support (release) for early career teachers and their mentors
• meetings – limits on the number of hours for which teacher can be required to attend meetings•email policies – ensuring schools and school communities do not expect or require teachers to answer emails outside normal working hours, and
• avoiding unnecessary data collection.
In most cases the work practices agreement for your school will have been circulated by your diocese. Encourage the members in your IEU chapter to meet to ensure you are all familiar with the new 2018 provisions. Don’t forget to encourage teachers new to the school or who have not joined the Union to become a member, so they are also fully informed. Your IEU organiser will be happy to visit your school to explain the new arrangements or answer any queries.
Independent schools without an enterprise agreement
There are a handful of independent schools in NSW and the ACT that do not have an up to date enterprise agreement applying to teachers or support staff. Where this occurs rates of pay and conditions can easily fall below industry standards.
In late 2017 support staff at Green Valley Islamic School were successful in encouraging their school to offer an enterprise agreement after many years without one, which delivered significant pay increases. If employees at your school are in this situation or you have friends at other schools without an enterprise agreement, urge them to join the Union and ask us for help.