The Union received a much improved offer of settlement on 24 April in relation to the current dispute about an enterprise agreement to apply to teachers and support staff in NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools.
The Union considered there was sufficient basis for a suspension of the protected industrial action that had been scheduled for Tuesday 28 April, although not all matters are resolved. The position on the key issues is as follows:
Sick Leave (Personal/Carer’s Leave)
The employers will proceed with the reduction in sick leave for teachers from 25 days to 15 days per annum, fully accumulative, from 2016. The Union has negotiated compensation for this reduction that means for the vast majority of members the new scheme is an improvement.
The compensatory measures include:
•all current teachers will receive a one-off grant of sick leave of 15 days (pro rata for part-time teachers) at the beginning of 2016 in addition to the sick leave that accrues in the course of 2016;
•new teachers will also receive an extra 15 days personal/carer’s leave (pro rata for part-timers) on commencement (unless they are rolling over sick leave from another Catholic employer);
•existing sick leave accruals are retained as well as the new sick leave entitlement;
•the current requirement to produce proof of illness for every day of sick leave in a year after the first two days sick leave will be relaxed to only apply to longer absences. We are still discussing this issue;
•personal /carer’s leave may be taken for personal emergencies as well as because of illness or injury of the employee or a member of their immediate family or household;
•special leave of one day per year will be available for family commitments in addition to the 15 days personal/carer’s leave (this will not accrue);
•compassionate leave will remain - three days on the death of a member of the family or household or two days in the case of serious illness
The Union considers the uncapped accrual of personal/carer’s leave will benefit all teachers in the longer term. Support staff will also benefit from the change to uncapped accrual and the reduced requirement to produce proof of illness.
Allegations of reportable conduct
Employers have agreed to retain fair procedures in all cases of reportable conduct allegations (not just extremely serious allegations) where a finding adverse to the employee is made. Employees would be entitled to see the evidence in these cases, subject to the usual confidentiality provisions for witnesses.
Teacher meal breaks
Employers have agreed to the retention of a 30-minute uninterrupted lunch break. Only in cases where an employer suggests (not requires) and each affected teacher genuinely agrees to a different arrangement can this be changed. Agreements must be in writing and can only last for one school year.
The CCER has agreed that professional development that is a requirement of the employer must be offered within designated school hours.
The Union does not agree to the proposed CCER clause on Catholic ethos, in particular the reference to the ability for employers to put different provisions in letters of appointment and policies.
Support for provisionally and accredited teachers and their mentors
Employers have agreed to support for Provisionally and Accredited Teachers, including the provision of appropriate release, as a term of the EA.
Work Practice Agreements
The employers have acknowledged that Work Practice Agreements are agreements with the Union and will only be changed by agreement between the Union and the individual Diocese.
Teacher’s classification structure and transition.
The Union has agreed to the introduction of a standards pay scale from 2016 that provides faster progression to the top of the scale for new teachers employed after 2014 and introduces the new classification of Highly Accomplished Teacher. Employers have now agreed that existing teachers will not be disadvantaged in the transition to the standards structure in 2016. The earlier proposal has been amended to remove the requirement to spend two years on the one increment for transitioning teachers.
Special education teacher allowance
The current EA provisions will be retained, that is payment of the allowance for teachers of classes of children with a disability.
The employers will maintain the current arrangements for payment of higher duties to employees acting in a higher classification (in most cases employees are paid after one day not after one week as previously proposed by CCER).
Maintenance and outdoor staff
The employers will not change the current arrangements for existing staff in relation to the requirement to be available during school vacations, as earlier proposed. The Union has not agreed to this proposed change for new employees. The Union has also reached agreement on the translocation of maintenance and outdoor staff to the proposed new pay structure.
Teachers in ACT schools
Employers have now agreed to match the DEC offer to government school teachers, that includes 1.5% pay rise back-dated to October last year and a 1.5% pay rise from April this year with ongoing increases of 1.5% each six months.
Teachers in NSW schools
Teachers in NSW will receive a pay rise of 2.27% back-dated to the beginning of January 2015 with an increase of 2.5% from January 2016.
General Employees will receive a pay rise of 2.27% from 1 July 2015 and 2.5% from January 2016.