Unfortunately, your story is not uncommon in our sector.
In the first instance, check whether your centre has a collective agreement with a casual conversion provision. Our union has successfully negotiated enhanced conversion provisions for casual employees and generally, where staff have been employed for 12 months, on regular casual engagements, they can be considered for conversion to either permanent continuing or part-time status. Our union can help you navigate this process or can step in to help if there are issues regarding an application already underway.
Unions have also won some amendments to the National Employment Standards (NES) for those employees not covered by a collective agreement, requiring employers to offer conversion to casual employees in certain circumstances. Again, we can support you through this process. However, the requirement to offer does not apply to businesses with less than 15 staff, which is the case for many of our community-based centres. Contact us for advice specific to your situation.
Job security is an ongoing challenge when it comes to the delivery of quality education and one our union continues to campaign on.
In terms of your situation, I would suggest you contact your organiser or an IEU industrial officer to discuss how a formal request for casual conversion may be made and supported by your chapter colleagues.
I would encourage you to become an active campaigner for our union’s Fund Our Future campaign which aims to secure fairer ongoing, guaranteed funding to the early childhood education sector so that kindies can plan long-term investment into their staffing. While this campaign will not be won overnight, together we will make a difference to the job securityof the sector.