Support Staff Working Party identifies pay disparities

Over the past nine months, a Joint Working Party on Pay and Classification Issues for General Employees under the NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement has been undertaking a review of the classification structure and comparative wage rates for employees in Catholic systemic schools.

It compared support staff in Catholic systemic schools to support staff in NSW government schools covered by the Crown Employees (School Administrative and Support Staff) Award 2019.

The working party was not tasked with making any recommendations.

We acknowledge that comparisons only provide limited information and cannot capture the full range of duties, skills and competencies of any individual job. But the working party also considered information regarding more specific aspects of a range of roles.

The working party has identified that the following roles in Catholic systemic schools and NSW government schools are comparable:

  • Clerical and administration (excluding business managers)
  • Classroom and learning support
  • Aboriginal education support

However, due to the inherent differences in the classification structures, not all classification levels of these roles in the Catholic systemic schools enterprise agreement have a corresponding classification within NSW government schools.

The working party also identified the differences in wage rates and classification structures between identified comparable role classifications. The extent of the wage differences vary greatly depending upon the incremental salary step and classification level, with differences ranging between 3.13 % and 32%.

The working party was due to conclude its work by 31 July 2021, but due to COVID lockdowns, the report has been delayed.

The union is now seeking to have the pay disparity identified by the working party addressed. The union’s proposal will be put forward during the upcoming enterprise agreement negotiations. This will require both a flat percentage salary increase to bring the rates up to a comparable level for most employees, as well as a nuanced rework of the current classification structure throughout the life of the upcoming agreement.

The union Executive and officers thank Carolyn Collins, Belinda McRae and Kylie Booth-Martinez for their work as member representatives on the working party.