Your questions answered

Sherryl Saunders is an industrial officer for IEU-QNT and Tina Smith is an organiser for IEU NSW/ACT. They answer your industrial and legal questions as they relate to state laws and regulations.

Dear Sherryl,

I am a Director in a kindy and for the first time ever our centre has accepted the enrolment of a child who has a medical condition and who needs extra assistance with toileting. Is there any protection for myself and other staff who have to be involved in the toileting process?


Dear Maree,

There are a number of matters that should be considered by the centre in terms of Work Health and Safety and Child Protection matters. Firstly, all staff should have sufficient and appropriate first aid training and qualifications to cover the needs of the child. Appropriate documentation from parents and health professionals (if required by the service provider), should outline the condition and what is needed to support the child.

A second consideration is whether there may be a need to provide staff with personal protect equipment (PPE) to ensure protection from bodily fluids. Another matter to give some thought to is the common sense approach of having two staff members present when addressing the intimate needs of a child, as a response to any potential concern on child protection.

Of course, all extra assistance and support to the child should be provided on the basis that parents have given their express permission for the support to be provided in the ways that the centre envisions it will be given.


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Dear Tina,

I currently work full time in a community based preschool as an early childhood teacher. I work a 38 hour week, which is 7.6 hours per day. I start at 8am and finish at 3.36pm. Children arrive at 9am and are collected by 3.15 pm. The times when the children are not present I attend to setting up and packing up inside and outside areas, programming and preparation of activities for my focus children, engage in pedagogical and child development discussions with my colleagues and/or parents and generally anything else that needs to be done to fulfil my role as an ECT.

My employer has informed me that due to the NSW State Government’s new funding model, Start Strong, the children’s attendance hours will be increased from 8am to 3.30pm. This means that I have only six minutes to do all the other tasks as outlined above. Can my employer increase my face to face time with children and diminish my preparation and programming time?


Dear Ashleigh,

This is not an easy question to answer. Your employer can increase attendance hours of children, which will have a direct impact on your ability to complete other duties. The NSW State Government’s Start Strong funding model is complex. In order to fulfil these funding requirements, the preschool must increase its enrolment numbers and offer 600 hours (15 hours per week over 40 weeks) to children who are preparing to go to school the following year. If these requirements are not met then the preschool will not receive any funding dollars, or receive substantially reduced funding dollars. Many preschools are extending their hours and are asking that teachers increase their face to face hours. Other preschools are hiring additional staff.

If your preschool received additional funding under the new model we understand that 75% of the increased funding dollars (extra dollars above the preschool’s past allocation) must go to reducing fees. Then some consideration should be given to allocating the remaining 25% of the funding dollars to supporting teachers and educators in their programming and pedagogical responsibilities. This may include hiring additional staff, or increasing salaries. Your preschool should not be asking you to perform additional face to face hours without ensuring that your other duties and responsibilities are reduced or your salary is increased to compensate. You must be consulted about any changes to your current working arrangements. Please contact your union organiser if you would like us to assist you.


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