New life breathed into agreement

Thanks to their active participation with the IEU, educators at Life Education have achieved a new improved enterprise agreement (EA). Life Education is an Australian non profit organisation whose primary objective is raising funds to help Australian children in making healthy lifestyle choices. It was founded by the Reverend Ted Noffs in 1979 above the Wayside Chapel. Their mascot is a giraffe named Healthy Harold who teaches children to be healthy.

The high level of IEU membership at Life Education was a significant factor in progressing the EA negotiations, as was the vital contribution of three IEU members on the bargaining team.

Bargaining reps Angela Egan, Libby Rowe and Michelle Crowther deserve praise for their contribution to the EA negotiation process.

Life Education’s leadership also conducted negotiations in a positive and respectful way which acknowledged the experience, skills and professionalism of the educators.

The EA was put to the vote in February and received overwhelming endorsement from educators. The agreement now awaits approval from the Fair Work Commission.

Important gains in the new EA include:

  • annual pay increases of 2.25% (1 January 2019), 2.50% (1 January 2020) and 2.50% (1 January 2021)
  • greater clarity around salary step increases – received 1650 paid work hours or three years from the date of the last step change, whichever comes first, with all paid hours as a trainee educator counting towards reaching the step increase:
  • trainee educator rate increased to $25 per hour (was previously $18 per hour)
  • Living Away From Home Allowance increased from $45.55 per day to $55.00 per day from 1 January 2019 with 2.5% increase on 1 January 2020 and 1 January 2021
  • three days private leave has been maintained and is now referenced in the agreement as special leave
  • five days paid and five days unpaid domestic/family violence leave has been added
  • parental leave – Life Education will assess options for providing paid parental leave over the term of the agreement, and
  • flexible work arrangements clause as per the new Fair Work Commission model clause.

During the negotiations, IEU members also identified some areas of concern/clarification and it is hoped that these matters can be addressed during the term of the agreement.

These issues include the level of the trainers’ allowance; phone use arrangements for educators and the proposed app, support for educators who are teachers to maintain their NESA accreditation and the need for ongoing consultation about the practical implementation of the EA, especially with reference to educators’ workloads

With regard to Life Education policies and procedures, the IEU hopes that there can be greater opportunities for information and engagement to ensure that these policies, procedures and practices are consistent with the EA and serve to protect and enhance the industrial, professional and wellbeing interests of educators.

Overall, the IEU believes that the EA deserved endorsement to ensure regular pay rises and greater clarity around working conditions. As with all EAs, there will be a need to monitor the implementation of the agreement and to continue to pursue other issues which affect the quality of members’ working lives.