New agreements for teachers in independent schools

Gloria Taylor
Deputy Secretary

Teachers in independent schools have voted strongly for new four year Multi Enterprise Agreements (MEAs) in NSW and the ACT ensuring ‘yes’ votes in all but a limited number of schools.

The new agreements deliver pay increases of 2.3% from February 2017, and further increases of 2.5% each year in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The increases provide certainty going forward in the current low inflation environment.

The MEAs also include a new package of sick and carer’s leave. The new arrangements provide an annual entitlement of 15 days per annum, but we believe the package is better because it is more flexible and includes unlimited accrual. The existing balance of a teacher’s accrued sick leave will be maintained indefinitely and there is a bonus 15 days for teachers in 2017 and on their commencement of employment with a new employer. The package also relaxes some of the requirements around the provision of medical evidence.

Other improvements include clarity around conditions of temporary positions; support for teachers undergoing accreditation at Proficient level and improved processes for Experienced Teacher recognition.

This year a new Hybrid Model MEA was introduced along with the existing Standards Model and Incremental Model MEAs. The Hybrid Model combined features of the Standards Model while maintaining elements of the Incremental Model.

ISTAA fees

A blight on an otherwise productive negotiating process was the decision of some employers to pass the ISTAA fee of $850 to teachers seeking accreditation at Experienced teacher level. The Union advised the AIS from the start of negotiations that this approach would be highly unacceptable in Hybrid (model) schools. It was disappointing that the AIS engaged in supporting schools seeking to implement this fee arrangement.

The Union applauds those schools that are meeting the cost of ISTAA fees.

Where a school has voted ‘no’ for this or any other reason, the Union will work with the chapter to secure a resolution to the stalemate.

Support and operational staff

As Newsmonth goes to print, NSW support and operational staff will vote on a new MEA. A similar MEA for ACT support and operational staff is currently under discussion. The Union will be seeking improvements to casual loadings, appropriate limits on the use of junior rates, new uniform laundering allowances and the extension of First Aid allowances to workers in long day care, preschool or OOSH centres.

The Union congratulates members on the outcomes for teachers and thanks IEU Reps and members for their engagement in this process.