Catholic systemic schools: Vote on Enterprise Agreement

Teachers and support staff in NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools will vote on their new NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement 2020 (the EA) in early November, most likely from Monday 9 November to Friday 13 November.

The union also expects that there will be a vote of principals on the state-wide Catholic Systemic Schools Principals Enterprise Agreement around the same time.

The dates for the voting on the separate Principals Enterprise Agreement for Sydney Catholic Schools are not yet confirmed and may be a little later.

Members should have already received 2020 pay increases back-dated to January (from July for ACT teachers). Under the EAs, a further increase of 2.28% will apply from January 2021 (teachers in the ACT will get a further 3% pay rise in July 2021).

Changes to teacher classifications

Of particular benefit to female teachers in the new EA will be the gain that unpaid parental leave will be counted as teaching service for the purpose of salary progression, to a maximum of one year. The leave will be counted at the full-time equivalent (FTE) at which you would have been employed, had you not taken the leave, and will be credited on your return to work. This new provision will apply to leave that commenced after 1 January 2020.

A small number of teachers employed prior to 2014 may not yet have transferred to the standards pay scale – this will now occur from the start of 2021. For some teachers this may result in a pay increase, but this will only occur if you have Proficient Teacher accreditation. If you do not currently have this status, for example, because you have been working part-time, you should try to finalise this as soon as possible.

Experience after 2020 as an accredited teacher in an early learning centre will now also be recognised as teaching service.

Five days emergency disaster leave

There will be a new leave entitlement of up to five days per calendar year for employees unable to attend work because of a “declared natural disaster”. Disasters are declared by the NSW Government in relation to a particular event in a particular location, depending on the amount of damage caused. If you can’t get to work because of a flood, severe storm or snowfall, bushfire or other natural disaster and cannot work from home, but it is not a declared natural disaster, you will now be able to access personal/carer’s leave to cover the absence.

Family and domestic violence leave

Dioceses have agreed to match NSW public sector conditions for paid family and domestic violence leave. This provides 10 days per calendar year for full-time and part-time employees experiencing domestic and family violence and may be used to look for alternate accommodation, attend counselling and legal appointments, attend court, etc.

Next steps

Dioceses will circulate to employees a copy of the proposed EA together with an explanation of the changes before employees are asked to vote. Your employer will also confirm to employees the dates of the vote and how the vote will be conducted.

The union is urging all members to cast their vote for 'yes' and to ensure a high turnout in the ballot.

Do not hesitate to contact your IEU organiser if you have any queries.