IEU Council has given its unanimous support to a motion from the Wilcannia-Forbes branch objecting to a new directive from the diocese that blocks staff from taking long service leave (LSL) in short blocks.
Wilcannia-Forbes IEU Organiser Marilyn Jervis said the motion asks the director to reconsider his decision to not approve LSL in short blocks. The motion was unanimously endorsed by 16 schools out of 18 in the Diocese.
The Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese covers over 50% of the state and is the most remote in NSW. Before the new director was appointed, staff of the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese were often given LSL from one to five days to attend family functions, special occasions and to take their children, who were representing the Diocese, to a sporting competition, Peter Nunn, the IEU delegate from Wilcannia-Forbes, said.
“Soon after his appointment, principals were directed to inform staff that LSL in short blocks would not be approved,” Peter said.
“Staff were told that LSL requests for less than 15 days would not be granted. Despite this directive the diocesan intranet still has contrary advice.
“With numerous towns in the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese being over six hours or more to Sydney, the concern and welfare of the staff must be taken into consideration.
“Having to travel to Homebush for Polding Swimming from Forbes takes six hours and, even worse, travelling from Hay to Glendale (Newcastle) is a nine hour trip, which is completely unacceptable to ask a teacher to do after a day’s teaching when their child is representing the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.”
Marilyn said teachers needing to settle their children into boarding school was another requirement.
Peter said: “The other option we have been given is to take a day without pay as we are not allowed to access our LSL in supporting children representing the Diocese.
“Other concerns are staff, who have worked decades in the Diocese, can’t use their LSL to be at weddings, funerals, christenings and other special events that are a long distance away.
“They can only attend if they are willing to forfeit their pay and or travel dangerously late to attend such functions.”
Wilcannia-Forbes is the only Diocese that does not give LSL in blocks of a few days and is also the only Diocese in NSW that did not agree to the new enterprise agreement, so their staff do not get the one day special leave, Peter said.