Your questions answered

Dear Gemma

You will not be surprised to hear that we get this question a lot. Since the Queensland Government made changes in 2017 to ‘reduce red tape’ for early childhood services, we have had a lot of queries from assistants being asked to take on the duty of ‘Responsible Person’.

According to ACECQA, a Responsible Person must be either the approved provider or person who has managerial control, a nominated supervisor or the person in day-to-day charge of the service.

Assistants should not be expected to take on this responsibility, particularly as there are no provisions for this under the award or in any agreements that we are aware of.

The person appointed as the ‘Responsible Person’ needs to be someone who is already responsible for the day-to-day running of a program. There may be exceptional circumstances where an assistant may be asked to take this on, but we would not want that to occur without consultation, consent, clear guidelines and compensation.

Should you have any questions about whether or not your employer can ask you to do this, we encourage you to contact our union for advice.


Dear Louise

Teachers are entitled to a break from work during their lunch break. Requiring a teacher to perform work during their meal break is not compliant with the Educational Services (Teachers) Award. In fact, if your employer interrupts your break, you are entitled to be paid overtime until the remainder of your break can be taken.

B.3.1 Meal break (b) Where an employee is called back to perform any duties within the centre or the break is interrupted for any reason the employee will be paid at time and a half for a minimum of 15 minutes and thereafter to the nearest quarter hour until an uninterrupted break, or the balance of the break, is taken.

If you are asked to meet with your employer during your break, I suggest that you email her a copy of the relevant section of the Award (above) and explain that you should not be required to work during your break. If you can demonstrate that the employer has continued to direct you to perform work during your break and would like the IEU’s assistance, please email copies of documentation showing any meeting that was held during your break, such as the roster specifying your break time, meeting invitation and/or meeting minutes. We will then write to your employer and request that you are paid overtime for that day and that the practice of meeting with employees during their breaks is discontinued.