Casual teachers' dispute resolved

The IEU has resolved the dispute with the 11 NSW and ACT Catholic dioceses concerning the rate of pay for casual teachers under the new Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement 2015 (the new EA).

What was the dispute about?

Some casual teachers employed by a Catholic diocese in 2015 were shocked to find in 2016 that they were receiving a lower rate of pay than in 2015. This occurred because in 2016 under the new EA the structure for casual pay rates changed so that casual teachers are paid a rate based on whether they have Proficient teacher status or not. Some experienced casual teachers who did not have Proficient teacher status were paid a lower rate in 2016 than 2015.

Throughout the negotiations on the new EA the Union sought at all stages to make sure that no teacher would be disadvantaged by the move to the new standards pay structure. For example, specific deeming provisions were included for teachers who were pre 2004 in NSW and pre 2011 in the ACT, and not required to be Proficient in accordance with BOSTES/TQI requirements, so that these teachers would be deemed to be Proficient for pay purposes. The new EA also contains a savings clause, which provides that no employee employed prior to the commencement date will receive a pay rate that is less than what they would have otherwise received before the EA was in force. However, dioceses argued the savings provisions did not apply to casual teachers.

When we were unable to reach agreement with either individual dioceses or the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, the Union notified a dispute to the Fair Work Commission on the issue.

Back pay

We have now reached an agreement with all NSW and ACT dioceses concerning the dispute. The agreement is that if you worked in 2015 as a casual teacher for at least 20 days or as a temporary teacher for a block of at least 20 days with your current employer, then your 2016 rate will not be less than the applicable 2015 rate. If you worked those days in 2015 for another diocese covered by the EA, then you may apply to your current employer to have your 2015 rate saved for 2016, with proof of the service.

Back pay for days paid in 2016 at a lower rate than 2015 will be processed by dioceses as soon as practicable. The Union understands a significant number of casual teachers will receive back pay – contact the Union if you have any queries.

The Union will have further discussions about the arrangements to apply in any future enterprise agreement. Casual teachers are however urged to gain Proficient teacher accreditation to protect their position in the longer term.

Carol Matthews
Assistant Secretary