YES vote recommended for AIS schools agreements

Carol Matthews
Assistant Secretary

The Union has reached agreement in principle with the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) on the terms of the new Multi-Enterprise Agreements (MEAs) that will apply to nearly 300 independent schools in NSW and the ACT from 2017.

As a result of the improvements we have achieved, the Union is recommending an in principle ‘yes’ vote to the teachers MEAs and the NSW support and operational staff MEA. Negotiations have only just commenced with respect to the ACT support and operational staff MEA.

Schools are proposing four year agreements, with increases of 2.3%, 2.5%, 2.5% and 2.5% each year for teachers and 2.5% each year for support staff.

By the fourth year of the MEA (2020), the top step for teachers in the Standards Model MEA will be over $113,000 and the top step of the Steps and Hybrid MEAs will be over $111,000.

Although the proposed pay rises are modest, the Union considers they are a good outcome in the current low inflation economic environment.

Hybrid model for teachers

The Union has been advised that nearly 90 NSW schools are proposing to move from the Steps incremental pay model for teachers to the Hybrid pay model for teachers. The Hybrid pay scale has three bands based on a teacher’s accreditation status with multiple steps within each band (unlike the standards structure that has only one step in each band).

Key elements of the model include the following: •teachers progress up the pay scale based on service, that is the current incremental steps and pay rates would remain, but with the changes set out below•current Steps 5 - 7 would be deemed to be Band 1 and current Steps 8 - 13 would be deemed to be Band 2•teachers only progress to Band 2 if they have Proficient Teacher accreditation on attaining Proficient Teacher accreditation a teacher would move from their current step to step 8 from the next February or July after attaining accreditation, and•the classification of Senior Teacher 1 will be replaced by the classification of Experienced Teacher from 2017, with the first applications to occur in 2017.

As a transitional arrangement, teachers currently with Senior Teacher 1 status or who attain it in 2016 would be deemed to be Experienced Teacher. Current Step 12 teachers will also able to apply in 2017 for Senior Teacher 1 and be deemed to be Experienced Teacher. All teachers who are eligible for Senior Teacher 1 (that is have been on Step 13 for 12 months) are therefore urged to apply immediately.

The Union will provide additional information to members about these changes and how to ensure teachers get the most benefit from the Hybrid model transitional provisions.

Other improvements for teachers

  • clearer support for teachers seeking accreditation at Proficient Teacher level
  • in the Standards and Hybrid MEAs, teachers will progress to the Band 2 Proficient Teacher rate more quickly after gaining accreditation from either the first pay period on or after 1 February or 1 July, whichever is earlier
  • in the Standards and Hybrid MEAs, streamlining of the Independent Schools Teacher Accreditation Authority (ISTAA) process of obtaining the Band 3 Experienced Teacher, and
  • temporary teacher – more specific circumstances in which a teacher may be appointed.

Personal/carer’s leave for teachers

The Union is recommending a change proposed by the AIS to 15 days of sick and carer’s leave per annum, fully cumulative, for teachers that would reflect more closely existing personal and carer’s leave arrangements in government and Catholic systemic schools.

This model combines sick and carer’s leave into one entitlement that is more flexible.

Although the current annual MEA sick leave entitlement is higher for second and subsequent years of service, the Union considers the total package of unlimited accumulation on top of existing sick leave and a bonus 15 days on transition and commencement of employment will be more beneficial for most teachers. Under the current MEA provision, accumulation is limited to the previous five years (in NSW) and capped at a maximum of 100 days for all teachers.

Points of agreement for support and operational staff

The Union has met the AIS on a number of occasions to discuss a revised draft MEA for support and operational staff prepared by the AIS. The AIS has extensively revised the format of the current MEA and not all issues have been finalised. The following has been agreed so far:

  • increase in casual loading to 25% for all staff
  • small additional increases for particular classifications of childcare workers
  • an additional 1% pay rise each year for trade qualified and supervisor classifications of maintenance and outdoor staff, and
  • junior rates payable to fewer classifications.

A final word

The Union is recommending the proposed MEAs in principle, subject to any particular school based issues and finalisation of drafting. Members in independent schools should not hesitate to contact their Union organiser for a meeting to discuss the MEAs.