Your questions answered

Monique Roosen is an Industrial Officer for IEU-QNT. Lisa James is an Organiser for the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch. They answer your industrial and legal questions as they relate to state laws and regulations.

Dear Lisa

I am soon to graduate as an early childhood teacher and I am wondering if you can tell me what kinds of questions I should ask when I am looking for a job as a teacher?


Dear Natalie

I suggest that you ask prospective employers:

  • Does the centre have an enterprise agreement in place to cover the teachers at the centre?
  • How much non-contact time is provided to teachers per week?
  • What qualification does the current educational leader hold?
  • Is there an expectation that you will take on the role of educational leader in future?
  • What support does the centre provide for provisionally accredited teachers?
  • Can you provide me with a copy of the centre philosophy? (Does their philosophy align with your own?)
  • How is the wellbeing of teachers and educators prioritised and facilitated atthe centre?
  • What process should an employee follow if they have a concern about something at the workplace?
  • On average, how long have existing staff been employed at the centre?

These questions will assist you to understand whether the organisation really values the teachers and educators that work for them. Low staff turnover, good pay and working conditions and support (such as mentoring and additional non-contact time) provided to new graduates are all important indicators.


Dear Monique

I’ve been employed as an early childhood education teacher at the same kindergarten for 15 years and am considering taking long service leave, which I have never accessed before. I’m a bit confused by the process. How do I notify my employer and how much notice do I need to give them? I also took two years of unpaid leave due to illness, so I wonder how that will impact my long service leave.


Dear Alison

Long service leave is accessible for most employees after 10 years of continuous service with their employer, although LSL differs from state to state, so be sure to check with your IEU organiser

Over the years, some IEU chapters have fought for and won access to long service leave after just seven years, so be sure to check your industrial instrument, whether it’s a union-negotiated collective agreement or the modern award and familiarise yourself with your working conditions relating to long service leave.

In Queensland, it is typically (because most centres are on a collective agreement, but a couple are still on the modern award) accrued at 1.3 weeks of long service leave per year, meaning an employee will have 13 weeks of paid long service leave after 10 years. However, taking any period of unpaid leave will impact your accrual, as employees do not accrue long service leave during periods of unpaid leave.

It sounds like you will have access to 16.9 weeks of long service leave. Most industrial instruments, whether the modern award or a collective agreement, require an employee to provide written notice of intent to take long service leave, usually six months’ notice before commencing that leave. You are entitled to take all or part of your entitlement.

The final decision regarding accessing your entitlement to long service leave rests with your employer, who will consider the operational requirements of your centre before notifying you of their decision.

Our union can assist with drafting a letter to your employer notifying them of your request and support you if any problems arise. We can also perform calculations to work out how much long service leave you are entitled to and when you can access it.