Sherryl Saunders is an industrial officer for IEUQNT and 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.
Your questions answered
I have a Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts and a Master of Early Childhood. My university told me I would be classified as a five year trained teacher but I have applied for a position as an early childhood teacher and I have been told that I am only entitled to be paid as a three year trained teacher. I can’t see how someone who spent five years at university can be paid $25.35 an hour. Can you please tell me what level of the award I should be on?
Your employer can pay you as a three year trained teacher as a Bachelor in Visual Arts is not recognised in the Educational Services (Teacher) Award 2010.
The Educational Services (Teachers) Award (definitions) states that a “five year trained teacher means a teacher who has completed a degree in education or early childhood education that requires four years of full time study at an Australian university and in addition has completed a postgraduate degree at an Australian university requiring at least one year of full time study, or the equivalent as determined by... in the case of early childhood teachers the relevant licensing and accreditation authority”.
The Educational Services (Teachers) Award (definitions) states that a “four year trained teacher means a teacher who has completed a degree in education or early childhood education that requires four years of full time study at an Australian university or the equivalent as determined by... in the case of early childhood teachers the relevant licensing and accreditation authority”.
I suggest you provide your employer a copy of your university transcripts and ask if they will pay you above the award rate to better recognise your years of university study.
I am a teacher in a community kindergarten that is run by a committee of parent volunteers. This year we have a new director at the kindergarten. For some reason the new director has taken a particular dislike to me and has been picking on me. It has now gotten to the point where I do not feel comfortable at work and it is affecting my health and wellbeing. I have been reading online information about workplace bullying. Is there anything I can do about the director’s behaviour?
Workplace bullying is a major health and safety issue in our sector and it is a significant issue in early childhood education. Early intervention can help minimise the impact of workplace bullying. Under the Fair Work Act 2009 a “worker is bullied at work if an individual or a group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker or a group of workers of which the worker is a member and that constitutes a risk to health and safety”. It is important to note that reasonable management is not workplace bullying. Any behaviours from your director which consist of raising possible issues with your performance unless completely unreasonable, are subject to the defence of reasonable management action.
If you are unable to resolve the issue informally, then it is likely you will have to make a formal bullying complaint to your committee. The outcome of a bullying complaint rarely results in disciplinary action being taken against the other party. The focus is usually on finding a way for you and the other party to move forward and continue to work together. If you are unable to resolve the issue informally, I suggest that you contact your Union office for advice and support.