Independent schools vote on multi-enterprise agreements

Staff in 250 independent schools voted on multi-enterprise agreements (MEAs) to cover both teachers and support staff during the week finishing 24 November. As we go to press, the union understands only one school has voted “no”.

The Association of Independent Schools (AIS) will now lodge the MEAs for approval by the Fair Work Commission in respect of those schools where staff voted “yes”.

Pay rise

The pay rise over four years (including the increase in 2021) will be just over 8% for teachers and support staff. This was a substantial improvement on the offer made by schools in June this year of 5% over four years (inclusive of the 2021 increase).

Superannuation will also increase in July 2022, July 2023 and July 2024. The IEU considers the final pay outcome to be the best we could achieve and broadly in line with anticipated inflation over the period.

More than 100 schools paid increases of 2% to 2.5% this year. For 2022, the pay rise under the MEA of 3.28% in 2022 may be inclusive of the 2021 increase, leaving only a small additional increase at the start of 2022. However, many schools have agreed to pay in excess of the MEA rates in 2022 so that staff receive a reasonable pay rise. This will occur either by an over MEA pay rate (for example by paying 2% at the start of 2022 and maintaining the differential above the MEA pay rates throughout the MEA) or by paying above the MEA in 2022, but scaling the differential back during the life of the MEA.

The union understands that members in some schools were disappointed with the pay rises on offer. This is particularly the case where their school is in a strong financial position with booming enrolments. We would urge members in those school to hold a Chapter meeting and invite their Organiser to attend to discuss the options going forward.

Comparison with public sector rates

Members may be aware of the current pay claim by the NSW Teachers Federation on behalf of teachers in NSW government schools. The IEU will pursue the same claim on behalf of our members in Catholic systemic schools.

At press time, the NSW Government had not agreed to the pay claim and had instead indicated it would be determined by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

The timeline and likely outcome of this process is unknown but if significant pay increases are awarded, the IEU will seek either to re-open the current MEAs for independent schools or seek catch-up increases in the next round.

The Band 3 (Experienced Teacher) MEA rate in 2022 in Hybrid schools will be $114,921 and in Standards schools $117,009. For teachers on Band 3, this is still well above the current top of the pay scale for teachers in NSW government schools of just under $108,000. However, Band 2 rates are less competitive.

Accessing Band 3 Experienced Teacher

Members in Standards Model and Hybrid Model independent schools are strongly urged to apply for Band 3 Experienced Teacher as the pay rates are significantly higher than Band 2 and the classification is portable to other Standards and Hybrid schools.

If your school does not publicise or provide support for this process, please contact the IEU Organiser for your school. The union expects the date for the next round of applications will be in Term 1, 2022 – check with your school for the precise dates.

Other improvements in the MEA

There were several important improvements in conditions in the MEAs, many of which were summarised in the November NewsExtra sent to members. The union will write to members early in 2022 setting these out in more detail.