Following a prolonged dispute, the IEU and Catholic employers have reached agreement on a new enterprise agreement covering teachers and support and operational staff in NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools. The Union can now confidently recommend members vote ‘YES’ for this EA that protects existing conditions and provides salary increases and benefits for all staff.
As the EA merges a number of agreements, it is complex and over 250 pages long. The IEU is now working on the final draft of this massive document with the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER). The Union has been advised that the employers intend to provide employees with the document as soon as practicable this term. We will recommend to employers that voting occurs early next term to allow time for members to review the EA. The voting will occur electronically with some capacity for phone voting.
The purpose of this NewsExtra is to highlight the outcomes for teachers and general employees. A supplement to this document will be included in this mailout for members in the ACT. Further detailed information will be available on the IEU website www.ieu.asn.au.
* Please note that in this new Agreement, the term General Employees is used to refer to all existing categories of support and operational staff: administration, clerical, classroom support, assistants, as well as maintenance/outdoor, cleaning and other staff not employed in a teaching capacity.
Teachers in NSW will receive a pay rise of 2.27% backdated to the beginning of January 2015 with a further increase of 2.5% from January 2016.
For teachers in the ACT, employers have now agreed to match the DEC offer to government school teachers, this includes 1.5% pay rise backdated to October last year and a 1.5% pay rise from April this year with ongoing increases of 1.5% each six months.
As teachers are well overdue for their pay rises, the employers have agreed to pay the backdated increases prior to the ballot.
General employees will receive a pay rise of 2.27% from 1 July 2015 and this will be paid in the processing of the EA in the Fair Work Commission. The payment of 2.5% will be brought forward to January 2016 to bring the payment dates in line with teachers.
SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES
After more than 12 months of a strong campaign and tough negotiations, the EA now delivers the following outcomes and improvements for members:
Teachers’ Working Conditions
•Maintenance of Work Practice Agreements (WPAs), preserving hard-won entitlements that can only be changed by agreement between the Union and the individual Diocese
•Protection of all conditions contained in the WPAs including RFF and limits on class sizes
•Retention of a 30-minute uninterrupted lunch break with a new process to ensure any variations are agreed by individual teachers
•Provisions to ensure that professional development that is a requirement of employers must be offered within designated school hours
•Guaranteed support for Graduate teachers, including appropriate release for both the Graduate teacher and their mentor/s
•Protections for Graduate teachers seeking accreditation at proficient level
•Retention of Assistant Principal, Coordinator and Religious Education Coordinator positions.
General Employees Issues
•Protection of support staff wages and conditions for both existing and new staff
•Maintenance of the current arrangements for payment of higher duties to employees acting in a higher classification for more than one day
•Retention of the right of progression for Level 2 and 3 employees
•Introduction into the EA of now enforceable entitlements for the appointment of senior clerical staff
•Restoration of a solid base of protections and entitlements for support and operational staff, many of whom have not been previously covered by an enterprise agreement since the move to the federal system of industrial relations
•Introduction of a Broken Shift Allowance for Cleaners and Bus Drivers
•Protection of existing minimum start provisions for part-time employees.
•Maintenance of the paid tea break for employees working three hours.
•Retention of fair procedures for staff subject to complaints with new streamlining of processes which ensure access to relevant file documentation
•Agreement to establish a Union/Employer working party to consider process issues and best
practice in handling complaints.
•Agreement on improved wording concerning the expectations and requirements of staff. Professional Issues
The Union and Employers have also agreed:
•to have ongoing discussions during the life of the agreement in relation to VET teachers
•to commence discussions in regard to a Diocesan-wide framework for Teacher Performance and Development with an employer undertaking to consult with the Union where the Diocese is currently developing a framework.
Personal/Carer’s Leave for Teachers
The EA changes the annual quantum of Personal/Carer’s Leave for teachers from 25 days to 15 days per year, but the removal of the cap on accumulation will benefit most teachers immediately and others over time. Further the EA includes compensatory measures that significantly enhance flexibility for taking leave and in providing evidence. These include:
•all current teachers will receive a one-off grant of 15 days leave (pro rata for part-time teachers) at the beginning of 2016 in addition to the leave that accrues in the course of 2016
•new teachers will also receive an extra 15 days (pro rata for part-timers) on commencement
(unless they are rolling over leave entitlements from another Catholic employer)
•existing leave accruals are retained as well as the new Personal/Carer’s Leave entitlements
•the current requirement to produce proof of illness for every day absent after the first two days sick leave will be relaxed to the following: evidence will not be required for the first three days personal/carer’s absence each year. For subsequent absences due to illness or injury, evidence may be required for each absence of two consecutive days or more. For subsequent absences due to other forms of Personal/Carer’s Leave, evidence may be requested at any time
•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 also remain – three days on the death of a member of the family or household or two days in the case of serious illness.
Personal/Carer’s Leave for General Employees
Support staff will retain their current quantum of 15 days per annum, but accumulation of Personal/Carer’s Leave is now uncapped. Support staff will also benefit from the reduced requirements to produce medical evidence (see above) as well as the same right as teachers to the one day per year special leave (also outlined above). Access to Carer’s Leave will be unlimited from the total accrued Personal/Carer’s Leave.
The Agreement also compensates for progressive accrual:
•existing full-time and part-time employees who have less than 15 days accrued will receive a once off allocation to bring them up to 15 days (pro rata for part-time)
•staff newly employed prior to 1 March 2016 will also receive a once off allocation to 15 days (pro rata for part-time).
Teacher Classification Structure
The EA introduces a standards based pay scale from 2016 that provides accelerated progression to the top of the scale for Graduate teachers employed after 2014 and introduces the new classification of Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT).
The new salary scale will compress the nine incremental steps to seven. They are divided into Graduate (two steps) and Proficient (five steps).
In order for Graduate teachers to progress to Proficient level, they must have two years full time teaching and be accredited at Proficient level. During this period, Graduate teachers will continue to attract annual percentage increases. The new standards scale will however produce very significant salary increases over the span of the Agreement.
Transitional arrangements for existing teachers
Teachers employed prior to 2014 will continue progressing through the existing incremental model and transition to the standards model over time. The model is based on the Agreement in NSW government schools, however the Union has ensured that there will be no delay in progression.
Teachers in the NSW part of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn will also continue to progress on the incremental scale during this transition period. A Savings Clause ensures that no one will lose any salary as a result of making this agreement.
A new voluntary classification level will be introduced for those accredited by BOSTES at Highly Accomplished Level with a salary of $101,614 in 2016. There is no limit on the number of HATs.
The new scale is advantageous and enhances salaries.
General Employees Classification
The existing classification and progression arrangements for support staff (clerical and administrative staff and school assistants) have been retained for both current and future employees. Employees due to progress to a higher level will do so at their currently anticipated progression date.
In respect of most other General Employees, the translocation arrangements will mean that employees move to a new classification that is generally higher than their existing classification. For this reason, future progression will take place 12 months after the date of commencement of the EA. All current modern award employees will move to a higher rate of pay, and future employees in classifications currently under the modern award will be employed at those higher rates.
The current five step structure for maintenance and outdoor staff will be compressed to a three step scale, meaning that future employees, or current employees not yet at Level 5, will move to the highest rate of pay in a shorter period of time. All existing Level 5 staff will translocate to a new classification structure that has been established on top of the existing rates of pay; for existing full-time Level 5 staff this can mean increases of up to $5,103 pa upon commencement of the EA.
Most, if not all staff received interim increases in July 2014. For staff not due to translocate to a higher rate of pay, the general 2.27% increase to the rate of pay will apply from the first pay period after 1 July 2015 (or backdated from the Agreement commencement if after 1 July). All General Employees will then receive a further pay increase of 2.5% brought forward to the beginning of January 2016.