Catholic Collective Bargaining ColB7 IMPROVING CONDITIONS COLLECTIVELY CATHOLIC SCHOOLS COLLECTIVE NEGOTIATIONS
LOG OF CLAIMS Without prejudice 1.
Resourcing the Expanding Role and Duties of Teachers
Members in Catholic schools experience increasing expectations arising out of curriculum change including the introduction of a national curriculum. Low definition curriculum documents and the delivery of high quality, high equity teaching and learning further increase expectations around planning, collaboration with colleagues and syllabus development. Members frequently take on other roles such as mentoring graduates and assisting in orientation activities or professionally supporting colleagues. Members believe teaching and the preparation for teaching are priorities for the delivery of quality education. The current hours of duty provisions that were negotiated some time ago provide for a quantum of preparation and contact time that reflected previous work demands. Various policies and guidelines exist across and within sectors and other employing authorities in regard to the administration of preparation and correction time. Employees seek an increase in teacher preparation and correction time to meet current demands to carry out the many additional tasks expected of teachers and the expanding role of the teacher. The application of the Hours of Duty provision, especially in regard to preparation and correction time requires a review and the development of guidelines that mandate fair and just application of preparation and correction time in conjunction with the contemporary role and duties of a teacher. 2.
Technology and Social Media
The introduction of technology (howsoever named) into facets of school life including teaching, record keeping and reporting increases the demands on and expectations of employees. Employees seek a commitment that (1) where an introduction of technology is intended there will be a review undertaken of hardware needs at each site as well as a review of training needs of all staff involved (2) training will be provided and occur within the normal hours of paid duty for all staff to meet identified needs and (3) staff will be consulted in regard to the timing of such training. With the place of technology rapidly expanding in schools and the introduction of a student/computer ratio nearing 1:1 employees seek a review of current levels of IT support staff relative to the number of pieces of equipment in the school/s to ensure an appropriate workload. The use by students of various social media is common. On occasion this social media may be inappropriately used and cause significant stress to members of the school community who may be the target of such inappropriate behaviour. Employees seek a provision which establishes policies of guidelines for social media use in the school context. Such policies should provide for the acceptable use of such social media so that its use does
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not constitute a real or potential workplace health and safety issue or in any way compromise members of the school community. As well employees seek efficient, timely and effective mechanisms and sanctions to be stipulated for cases where such social media is used inappropriately against members of the school community. 3.
There are pressures associated with very long or very short term length. Some schools arrange their academic year so that the negative impact of such significant variation is reduced. Consistent length of terms across the academic year would reduce unnecessary stress on employees and students, and contribute positively to the provision of education programs and overall school culture. Employees seek a provision that will mandate consistency of length of school terms across the Academic year. 4.
Attracting good teachers to the profession remains a constant consideration. Retaining them, ensuring that they are recognised and that their skills continue to develop is paramount. Induction programs have a vital role in ensuring a smooth transition for new teachers. These programs are usually limited to a 12 month period which may, in fact, not be long enough. The current induction programs largely rely on the good will and voluntary labour of other teachers rather than a fully resourced approach. The reality of a teacherâ€™s day to day life is that not enough time exists for their own professional development, let alone being able to support the needs of other colleagues. Employees seek a provision that where colleagues mentor graduate (or other) teachers it is resourced in regard to time release and remuneration. Employees seek a provision that would extend such mentoring for graduates from 12 months to a minimum of 24 months. 5.
Family, Personal and Community Responsibility
Employees who have the opportunity to balance their work and family responsibilities lead a healthy, balanced and better quality life. The changing age demographic of the workplace and wider population generally, impacts on members in their workplaces. Job share and continuing part-time work will increasingly be seen as an option for employees in the mid and latter periods of their working lives. There are as well demands placed on employees by community involvement that need to be addressed and managed. ď‚ˇ
Job Share, Part-Time Work and Flexible Working Hours arrangements
Currently collective bargaining agreements provide for access to job share. However, employees in schools have reported that access to job share is not standard across and within sectors and that on occasion the stated quota of job-share participants restricts access. Job-share is often not acknowledged or promoted as a viable alternative for older employees who may seek to access it for valid reasons. As well to engage in part-time work some employees have had to give up their continuing status. Personal responsibilities and considerations, including the care of elderly parents, care of grandchildren, care of children and transition to retirement, may all necessitate application for flexible working arrangements that should not be unreasonably denied.
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A provision that better acknowledges changing societal demands and the changing demographic of the profession should be negotiated to extend employees right to access flexible working hours arrangements, job share and part-time work. Employees seek a removal of the stated quota of one job share position per seven full-time positions as this unnecessarily restricts situations where job share could work effectively to the advantage of the school community.
Paid Spousal (Parental) Leave
The current collective agreement provides for 10 days paid spousal (parental) leave to be accessed within one month after confinement. In certain circumstances, and particularly in regional areas if there is a lack of specialised birthing facilities a pregnant partner may be sent to a more specialised medical facility – often a significant distance from their normal place of abode during the pregnancy or for the confinement. If the partner is attending they may need to access unpaid leave. Employees seek a variation to the current provision such that paid spousal (parental) leave can be accessed prior to confinement in cases of need.
Paid Parental Leave
The current agreement provides a paid Parental Leave entitlement. Employing authorities, however, have distinct and different policies around second and subsequent paid parental leave which may lead to significant differences and inequities across the state. For example: One employer allows employees in the first 52 weeks of maternity leave if they fall pregnant and apply for a further period of maternity leave, access to paid maternity leave. However, an employee who has greater that 52 weeks maternity leave for baby number 1 and who subsequently falls pregnant with baby number 2 during her extended period of leave, needs to return to work in some capacity for a minimum period of six weeks in order to be eligible to access further paid maternity leave. Other Employing Authorities don’t require an employee to return at all if they have extended their maternity leave out to the 104 weeks. Employees seek the policies surrounding paid parental leave be regularised for all employing authorities schools and included in the agreement with a commitment that where an employee on approved leave becomes pregnant she will be entitled to second and subsequent paid maternity leave payment/s. The current collective agreement provides for 14 weeks paid parental leave. There is, however, inconsistency across employing authorities in regard to the accessing this leave. Some employing authorities allow this quantum of time to be accessed as 28 weeks at half pay. Other employing authorities do not provide this option. Employees seek a provision that will allow paid parental leave to be accessed at half pay for double the time.
Community Involvement – Defence Force Reserve Leave
Employees engaged and involved in community organisations should be encouraged and supported in their contribution to these organisations. Frequently these involvements require time away from the usual workplace for training and experience. Whilst the current collective agreement provides for some leave time for service in the Defence Force Reserve this is significantly less than leave allowances recommended by the Australian government and what is available to employees in the public sector which equates to 32 calendar days per financial year with an additional 14 calendar days per financial year during employee’s first year of reserve service where attending initial training. C:\Users\ecuthbertson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\TXIWBER3\Colb7018rm - LOC endorsed.docx
The leave available to members of the Defence Force Reserve should be increased to reflect the quantum available to employees in the public sector.
Community Involvement – Sporting Representation.
Employees selected to represent their district, state or country in sport, frequently have to access unpaid leave to attend events. Employees seek a provision of access to five paid days per annum to attend representational sporting events.
Domestic Violence Leave
Domestic violence is a workplace issue which may impact on an employee’s health, well being and productivity. Current research into this problem has identified the workplace as a major source of support for those experiencing domestic violence. Positive provisions which provide for paid leave to attend court, source alternative accommodation, seek professional counselling need to be addressed. Other assistance and practical aspects of work structure and organisation that can help keep employees safe from harassment need also to be considered. Employees seek a Domestic Violence Leave provision which allows employees subject to domestic violence to access accrued leave entitlements to deal with relevant issues. Employees shall be granted up to five days Special Leave (paid) per calendar year. Employees seek a provision that in cases of domestic violence will encourage places of employment to adapt or vary an individual’s work environment to minimise the potential for domestic violence.
Special Responsibility Leave
The current collective agreement provides that an employee with responsibilities in relation to either members of their immediate family or members of their household who need their care and support may access up to ten (10) days paid leave per annum to provide care and or support for such persons when they are ill. This leave is taken as Special Responsibility Leave and is deducted from accrued sick leave. Employees seek a provision such that access of up to ten days per annum Special Responsibility Leave is available when an employee has used all accrued sick leave available to an employee for such purposes under the National Employment Standards. 6.
Infant Feeding and Expressing Facilities
The importance of breastfeeding to children, mothers, and the wider community is now well documented and widely supported. Whilst a basic provision exists in the current collective agreement providing for a private and secure area for breastfeeding/expressing and storing milk, this needs to be reviewed and extended to meet the reality of a contemporary workplace and contemporary workforce. Employees seek the provision of timetabled lactation breaks and exemption from duties during scheduled breaks to allow breastfeeding or expression of milk. Permission for infant carer to bring the infant to the workplace needs to be guaranteed. As well, basic structural requirements in regard to fitting out a breastfeeding private area need to be developed and stipulated.
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Contemporary and Equitable Remuneration
Salary and Wage Levels
Salary levels are an important factor in attracting and retaining employees of high quality. All employees should receive wage increases that reflect national benchmarks and there should be consistency of remuneration across sectors for similar positions or similarly classified positions. Payments of a percentage increase the same as teachers for school officers and ancillary staff is a fundamental recognition of the value of work performed by these employees. However, these employees are generally the lowest paid employees and a percentage increase on a low income is worth far less than the percentage increase on higher incomes. Payment of a minimum dollar increase is therefore essential to prevent a widening gap between income levels received by various employees.
The current collective agreement provides for the basic Superannuation Guarantee Contribution of 9% of normal salary/wages is to be paid to all employee’s nominated superannuation fund. Employees seek a provision that would require that the minimum percentage paid to employee’s superannuation, irrespective of any co-contribution, be increased from 9% of ordinary time earnings to 10% and that additional or enhanced superannuation, involving employee co-contribution be based upon that 10% quantum.
Accessing Provisions Associated with Remuneration
In some circumstances provisions that are available in a collective agreement are difficult to access. For instance, in seeking annualisation of salary, an employee has to apply in the preceding year to it being actioned. It is difficult, however, for some employees, who are on varying hours from year to year, to make informed decisions regarding the use of such a provision. Where provisions associated with remuneration are already available, such as annualisation of salary, these should be readily available and readily accessible. Employers need to ensure that formulas used by employing authorities in such calculations are those in the Agreement.
School Officer Allowances
Currently where a school officer is receiving a qualification allowance the employer will pay any fees associated with obtaining and maintaining a First Aid certificate. School officers appointed as First Aid Officers and school officers receiving Special Care Allowances however, may not necessarily receive reimbursement of First Aid course fees. School officers who are appointed as First Aid Officers or receive a Special Care Allowance should be reimbursed for costs associated with obtaining and maintaining their First Aid certificate. C:\Users\ecuthbertson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\TXIWBER3\Colb7018rm - LOC endorsed.docx
School officers designated by their employer to engage in, or assist particular students with ongoing specialised care needs receive a Specialised Care allowance. Members report that some employing authorities vary the allowance on a pro rata basis. School officers designated by their employer to engage in or assist particular students with ongoing specialised care needs will receive the applicable allowance as quantified in Schedule 1 – Salary, Wages and Allowances. Such allowance will not be varied to reflect part-time hours.
Casual Employee Loading
Employees employed on a casual basis receive a 23% loading under provisions in the current Agreement. This is a lower percentage loading than is prescribed in other industrial instruments. Casual employee loading should be increased to 25% to align with the casual loading prescribed in other industrial instruments. Any future increases in the casual loading in these instruments should also be maintained.
Proportion of Salary Calculations
The current collective agreement provides for a proportion of salary calculations to be based on a standard 40 weeks in secondary schools and 42 weeks in primary schools. However, schools in the Catholic sector in Queensland vary in the length of the school year for these stated quanta. Given that schools across Queensland may in fact have different standard lengths of the school year the formula used for various calculations should be varied to reflect actual term weeks so that the calculation is more accurate. Similar consideration needs to be given for calculation of annual leave loading. 8.
Redundancy and Minimum Engagement Periods for Continuing Part-Time Employees
Currently all staff classified as continuing part-time employees are in positions where their hours may be varied and such variation can have a very negative impact on their income and financial well-being. Employees seek a provision that will provide financial recompense for part-time continuing employees in that where a continuing part-time employee’s hours are reduced by a large or significant amount they will be entitled to redundancy provisions. 9.
Acknowledging Experienced Teachers
Teachers who progress through the classification structure have access to Experienced Teacher 5 (ET5) and Experienced Teacher 6 (ET6) negotiated for inclusion in the current collective agreement. This has occurred a number of times during the life of the current agreement. Employees seek variation of the current ET5 and ET6 schedules so that the following variations are included:
Application for ET6 will state on the cover page the position/role of the applicant and this will be considered by the validation panel.
Where an applicant is not recommended for ET6 classification by the (initial) Validation panel, the applicant will be allowed to submit more material to address identified criteria before the application is considered by the Review Panel.
Where an applicant is unsuccessful in applying for ET6 by virtue of failing to demonstrate meeting a criterion or particular criteria subsequent applications in other rounds need only address those criteria that had not been previously demonstrated as meeting the required proficiency level.
Experienced Teacher 5 requires the undertaking of a task/s. Where a teacher commits to undertake supervision/mentoring of a student teacher or graduate colleague this should automatically fulfil the criteria needed to gain ET5 status for ET5 eligible employees.
Structural Changes to Education
The white paper A Flying Start for Queensland Children includes a number of structural changes for Queensland schools including the move of Year 7 to high school. This will impact on a significant number of staff in both primary and secondary Catholic schools in Queensland. Employees seek a provision that establishes a structure and mechanism for this transition so that all affected employees – teachers, school officers and ancillary staff - are assisted and supported in and through the process. Employees seek a provision that establishes that any employee who of necessity is required to move to a new employer/employing authority is assured that all accrued entitlements are retained and/or is given the opportunity of electing for voluntary redundancy. 11.
Positions of Added Responsibility (PAR)
A Joint Working Party has been tasked with reviewing the current PAR structure in Queensland Catholic schools, exploring whether it is responsive to contemporary educational settings and making recommendations for an alternative Middle Leadership model that better addresses the various responsibilities and workload inherent in these significant roles. Employees seek the adoption and inclusion in this agreement of various Joint Working Party recommendations, delivering enhanced time release, financial allowance and clearer operational provisions to Middle Leadership structures. Continuing attention to the development of Middle Leadership support appropriate to Primary and P – 12 (or other non-standard variations) school contexts is also sought. Transitional arrangements, providing appropriate recognition for the service and commitment of current PAR holders, are fundamental to the acceptance of any new structure. 12.
Senior Administration in Primary Schools
The current collective agreement provides for the appointment of an Assistant to the Principal – Administration (APA) and an Assistant to the Principal – Religious Education (APRE) in primary schools with an enrolment of 451 or more students. Feedback from members indicates that with growing demands on schools generally and senior administration specifically this provision should be revised. Employees seek a provision which requires the appointment of an APA and an APRE once a school pupil population reaches 401. C:\Users\ecuthbertson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\TXIWBER3\Colb7018rm - LOC endorsed.docx
Remote Area Services and Conditions
Currently in the collective agreement the ITAS schedule provides certain benefits. These benefits are applied as per employing authorities policy and consequently there are variations in application between employing authorities which should be addressed.
The current agreement ITAS schedule refers to a disability allowance (or help with airfares). This allowance provides travel concessions. In application this allowance is subject to varying employing authorities policies with attendant expectations/requirements. Employees seek consistency across employing authorities in regard to conditions associated with such provisions as the disability allowance.
There is no reciprocal arrangement or understanding in regard to “western service” where teachers transfer between employing authorities. For example a teacher may spend 2-3 years at a remote western location, transfer to another employing authority, but receive no recognition of the remote service undertaken. Employees seek the development of a provision, between and across employing authorities, that acknowledges and credits “western service” undertaken.
Remote Area Staffing
Whilst provisions for emergent leave days, professional development and other standard leave are contained in the current Agreement, members have identified difficulty in accessing such leave due to minimal teacher staffing in remote and rural areas. Employees seek the consideration of appropriate levels of staffing to allow for access to professional development needs and accrued leave entitlements in remote areas.
Disparity Between Level 4 and Higher Level Centres
Currently teachers in Level 4 centres receive a bonus for the first five years of placement with no subsequent bonus payable. Other higher rated centres continue to receive a reduced bonus for subsequent years of service after the first five years of service. Employees seek a provision that Teachers employed in an centre designated as a Level 4 should be encouraged to remain in these centres and should continue to receive incentive payments beyond the first five years of appointment and for as long as they remain employed in that centre.
Boarding House Provisions
In practice, various operational guidelines are utilised in employment of staff in boarding schools across employing authorities and within an employing authority. It is noted that in some situations where boarding C:\Users\ecuthbertson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\TXIWBER3\Colb7018rm - LOC endorsed.docx
staff are required to “sleep over” they receive no remuneration and there are no firm guidelines around the employee’s responsibilities and acknowledgement when they are required to attend to student’s emergent needs in these circumstances. As well residential supervisors frequently are required to supervise homework/study programs in the absence of qualified teachers/tutors. Employees seek the development of agreed and acceptable operational provisions to be incorporated into relevant documents for the benefit of all affected. Issues of best practice, classifications, hours of duty, salary and other associated conditions should be addressed. 15.
Vocational Education Training
Vocational education training is an integral and expanding curriculum provision. Co-ordination and management of that aspect of the curriculum should be properly recognised. Consideration needs to be given to the structure, remuneration and time release provided to undertake this role as well as support provided to maintain accreditation to teach the subject. 16.
Valuing and Rewarding Counsellor Roles
Employees in Catholic schools in Queensland cater and respond to the educational, social and emotional needs of students in their care. A significant part of this task is undertaken by school based counsellors, howsoever designated. These employees undertake similar roles with similar demands upon them as do their colleagues in the public sector. Employees seek parity with colleagues in the public sector for employees in this role.
Careers counsellors in schools undertake a demanding and challenging role in a rapidly diversifying society with a volatile workplace with changing workplace needs and demands. Careers counsellors in schools undertake a complex role interfacing with students, their parents and the wider world of work. Often these tasks are undertaken without adequate and full role descriptions, acknowledgement and resources. Employees seek a provision in regard to the structure, remuneration and time release provided to undertake this role. 17.
At a time of regular change as is occurring in education currently all staff are entitled to know their role and responsibilities and the designated line of authority relevant to their position. This will impact on employer and employee expectations and will establish a common and shared understanding of responsibility. A provision should be negotiated where each year a current role description, including line of authority, is reviewed or developed and agreed with employees by the end of November or February for implementation. 18.
Occupational Health and Safety
The National Harmonisation of Occupational Health and Safety Legislation has occurred. The legislation provides an expectation and opportunity for occupational health and safety to be fully and properly addressed at workplace level. A provision should be negotiated which provides for the election of health and safety representatives, their prescribed training and the establishment of a health and safety committee at each site. The provision should provide for regular consultation between employer and employees and the use of risk management audits in regard to workplace health and safety matters and workplace change. Employees seek regular funded release for elected workplace health and safety representative/s to carry out the role. 19.
Affirmative Appointment of the Disabled
Many employers, including Catholic employing authorities, are inclusive of employees who are competent, able to fully carry out required employment tasks but are disabled. When organisations employ people with a disability they benefit from having employees who have the skills and aptitude to do their job effectively. Research demonstrates that these employees have low absenteeism and staff turnover, low incidence of workplace injury and high levels of employee loyalty. When employing people with a disability organisations benefit by attracting and retaining the best of the talent pool, strengthening workplace morale and productivity and being a good corporate citizen as well a as a role model for their clientele. In its employment practices Catholic employers should actively appoint capable and suitably qualified applicants who have a disability.
Deferred Salary Scheme
The ability to defer salary/wages for a period of time and then to access this deferred salary at a later date and access unpaid leave is an advantage to employees and assists employers to maintain experienced committed staff. This is a provision already being offered by some Catholic employers in Australia. Employees seek a deferred salary scheme where employees may over a 5 year period receive 80% of their income for the first four years of the nominated period and take the fifth year as unpaid leave using the accumulated reserves of deferred salary. 21.
Resourcing School Level Industrial Practice
The current agreement provides for the employer to support workplace union representatives role in the workplace by providing access to relevant resources, allowing representation at induction programmes and allowing consultation for workplace union representatives to consult with employees on various matters. Employees have found, however, that with the demands and diversity of work and activities in the school day the ability to meet with all employees is compromised. Employees seek the right to access a provision of one hour paid leave per term for the purpose of holding a union meeting to allow members to assemble and discuss relevant professional and/or industrial issues.
Attendance at School Camps.
Involvement in and attendance at schools camps is a particular issue for Outdoor Education and Physical Education staff as a well as for other teaching staff with significant loss of family time and increased expenses associated with being away from home. Employees seek a provision that will provide an allowance for out of pocket expenses (e.g. childcare) incurred in overnight attendance at school organised camps, retreats etcetera. Employees seek a provision which will provide time off in lieu for attendance at school organised camps, retreats etc. which involve overnight stay/s. 23.
The introduction of significant change into education and the increasing and continuing emphasis on resourced based education and diversity of curriculum has highlighted the importance of the role of teacher-librarian and contemporary resources in schools. The school population size in regard to the appointment of a full-time teacher-librarian varies across sectors and employing authorities. Employees seek a provision that will require the provision of a full-time teacher-librarian when the school student population reaches 350 students. 24.
Clarity of Agreement.
The current agreement has a number of errors and rubrics that are confusing and/or hinder its effective use. Consideration should be given to headings and formatting that would facilitate the more effective use of the Agreement. A number of clauses and associated provisions have been identified as ambiguous or open to interpretation and different applications. Where a clause and associated provision is identified as ambiguous or unclear, agreement should be sought and reached in regard to its application. ď‚ˇ
Regularising of Agreement across Catholic Schools
Employees note that applications of some provisions, contained in the agreement, are not applied/applicable across the entire sector and would seek regularisation of agreements for that to occur. ď‚ˇ
Timing and Application of Agreed Provisions
Negotiations may take a significant period of time and in some circumstances provisions are backdated. A commitment should be included in the agreement which guarantees that employees employed at the date of implementation of a clause will be subject to the benefits of that clause.
Coverage of Agreement
Under various initiatives and for various reasons the structures of educational workplaces are changing. Most recently has been the introduction and establishment of kindergartens on school sites. The current Agreement makes no reference to these situations and employees so employed. With the introduction of kindergartens on-site of schools and colleges, consideration should be given to the inclusion of these employees, where they are operated by that school, college or employing authority, in any negotiated agreement.