QIEU’s GUIDE FOR GRADUATES
Your union - Your voice The Queensland Independent Education Union (QIEU) is the professional and industrial voice of more than 14,000 employees in Queensland non-government schools, including teachers and support staff. QIEU members come from many education sectors including:
Catholic schools Anglican schools Lutheran schools Independent schools Christian schools Community kindergartens English language colleges (ELICOS) and Business colleges.
Your union’s strength comes from members in these diverse sectors joining together to collectively respond to workplace issues. The strength of this collective action continues to provide significant gains in wages and conditions and a strong voice on professional and industrial issues.
What is a union? “A union is a continuous association of workers ‘for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working lives’ that is free from influence by an employer or employer organisation”. David Peetz, Brave New Workplace
Can you afford not to be a member of your union? Working in the non-government education sector is exciting, challenging and rewarding. As an education professional you face challenges in the classroom and the wider school community. All education professionals potentially face legal and duty of care issues. As a graduate you will face these challenges as well as issues regarding teacher registration, employment conditions and the demands of a changing curriculum and education environment. Being a member of your union provides you with professional support and advice, as well as the support and assistance of your union colleagues when you need it.
How do I become a member of my union? Step 1.
Ask your chapter representative or organiser for a QIEU membership form. Alternatively, you can download a form from the QIEU website www.qieu.asn.au
Fill in your QIEU membership form. You can pay your membership fees by direct debit, credit card, cheque or BPay. There are also many different payment frequency options including fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half yearly or yearly.
Return the completed form back to your chapter representative, organiser or post it to your QIEU office.
Gaining access to expert advice and assistance In what will probably be a hectic and challenging first year of your career, you may find yourself in need of professional advice or assistance. Seek the support and advice of your school union chapter Your QIEU chapter, which is the group of union members in your school, is a great source of support and assistance. Each chapter has elected representatives, including your chapter representative, who can provide information on workplace issues and entitlements. They can also liaise with your union office on your behalf if necessary. Visit the QIEU website www.qieu.asn.au QIEUâ€™s website provides you with access to information about working conditions including wage rates, working conditions, workplace health and safety information and other workplace policies. Obtain advice from your QIEU office As a member of QIEU you can call on your union at any time for confidential, expert advice on any workplace issue. The contact details for your QIEU office are located at the back of this booklet.
Strengthening your union voice What can you do? As a graduate there are three things you can do to strengthen your voice and ensure your rights at work are protected: 1. Build membership strength A strong collective voice requires strong active union membership. Be an active member of your union chapter and encourage your colleagues to join QIEU in the campaign to protect our working rights and improve our profession. 2. Be educated about the issues Be well educated about the issues facing you and your colleagues. Find out what you can do to address these issues by participating in union meetings, attending union training and being involved in branch and chapter activities. 3. Build a strong union culture As union members we must support each other in the workplace. When we are united in common purpose we can achieve fair and just outcomes.
Obtaining a position in a non-government school Upon nearing the completion of your studies, securing a position in the education sector will be your immediate priority. Non-government education employers utilise a variety of application procedures; from central office applications (e.g. Catholic Diocesan schools) to individual school applications for independent schools. Your QIEU office is able to provide information kits to assist you in applying for teacher positions. You may also wish to contact QIEU to obtain information on the culture or employment practices of a particular school. Probation and Fixed Term Contracts Queensland industrial law allows for probationary employment of three months. This period is sufficient and QIEU would advise against the acceptance of a longer probation. Queensland industrial laws restrict the use of â€˜fixed-term contractsâ€™ and promote the use of permanent employment in schools. Graduates should not be placed on fixed-term contracts (such as six months or one year) as a matter of course. Such contracts can only be used in limited defined situations, such as replacing a colleague who may be on a period of leave. If you have any questions about the terms of your appointment or contract, talk to the members of your school chapter or contact your QIEU office.
Becoming a registered teacher The Queensland College of Teachers The Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) is the professional registration body for teachers in Queensland. It replaced the Board of Teacher Registration (BTR) in 2006. All new teachers are initially provided with ‘provisional registration’ from QCT upon commencing teaching in Queensland. This provisional registration lasts for a period of two years from the date of issue. To obtain full registration, a provisionally registered teacher must teach satisfactorily for one full year in a Queensland school and have a principal’s report completed to indicate that they have met the standards for full registration. One year of teaching is defined as 200 days or 1,000 hours. QIEU is able to assist, and if necessary represent you, should you have any difficulties in the registration process. Further information on registration requirements is available by contacting your QIEU office.
Teacher salaries and conditions By acting collectively, QIEU members have won significant gains in wages and conditions across the non-government education sector. Graduate salaries in schools with a union negotiated agreement are up to 20 per cent more per year compared to schools without a union negotiated collective agreement. Employment conditions and salaries can vary between schools but your award conditions and union negotiated agreement usually provide:
Fully cumulative paid sick leave Enhanced employer superannuation contributions Long service leave Paid school vacation breaks Paid and unpaid maternity leave Family carers leave Job share opportunities Access to enhanced superannuation Access to salary packaging arrangements
Please contact your chapter representative at the school for full details of the salaries and employment conditions you are entitled to in your school.
Access to legal assistance It’s your protection Education professionals can face many legal pitfalls in the course of their day so it is important to make sure you have access to adequate legal protection. New laws and the growing expectation for schools to deal with a wide range of issues have created a complex legal situation for education professionals. Relying on your school for legal protection is not enough. As a QIEU member you are automatically covered by comprehensive Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance as well as having access to expert legal advice from QIEU lawyers. Such insurance protection and legal representation is invaluable in legal cases where you could face:
Allegations against you as an education professional
Liability for negligence for a student injury
Criminal or civil action against you as an education professional
Your duty of care The law relating to liability for negligence applies at school, before and after school, and during school activities conducted outside the normal school day. Teachers have a duty of care to protect students from reasonably foreseeable injuries. For a case of liability for negligence to be proven, the following tests must be satisfied: A duty of care relationship exists between the teacher and student The duty has been breached by a failure to take reasonable care Damage or injury has been caused or contributed to by the breach A student injury therefore does not automatically demonstrate a breach of the duty of care on the part of a teacher. The particular facts of the case would determine whether the incident was due, or contributed to, by negligence.
Communication with students Communication with students should only occur within the parameters of a professional student / teacher relationship. Communication via text message, phone calls, email, and web based technologies should not occur between students and teachers. You should seek advice if any difficult situations arise (such as a student threatening self harm). This should be reported ( and this may be required under a policy relating to risk of harm) so that the issue can be correctly managed by the appropriate people in the school. - 10 -
Your rights and responsibilities at work As an education professional you have certain rights and responsibilities which are designed to ensure a safe and productive workplace for staff and students. Your current workplace rights include the right to: Work in a safe workplace Work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment or bullying Join your union and seek union representation and support Receive all wages and conditions to which you are entitled In addition, you have a responsibility at work to: Display due care in the performance of your work Ensure that you do not hinder the health and safety of others Abide by anti-discrimination laws and bullying and harassment policies Uphold your duty of care to students If you have any questions about these rights and responsibilities ask your chapter representative for advice or contact your QIEU office.
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Complaints against teachers A fact of school life It is a reality in schools that from time to time parents raise concerns about teachers, and they have the right to have such complaints heard and addressed. Unfortunately, the majority of non-government schools have no published policy or procedure detailing how parental complaints against teachers are to be dealt with. You have the right for any complaint to be handled in a fair and transparent manner according to the following guidelines: Any complaint should be discussed professionally, in the appropriate forum and only with the relevant school staff You should be provided with full details of the complaint and reasonable opportunity to respond You should have the opportunity to seek advice from your union If required to attend a meeting you should seek to have a support person attend with you Contact your QIEU office immediately if you face any allegation which is of a job-threatening or of criminal nature. In such cases, do not make any written or verbal statement before you have obtained legal and/or industrial advice. Remember, as a union member you have access to expert legal advice from QIEU lawyers. - 12 -
Surviving your first year Some simple steps Your first year can be challenging, but there are some simple steps you can take to ensure a positive start to your career:
Ask for help and advice from your colleagues - they are a great professional resource and personal support mechanism
Remember, your union is there to support you. Find out who your union representative is and ask to become a QIEU member. If you are already a member let them know
Check to see if your school has an induction program and make sure you are happy with how it is being implemented
Ask for copies of your school’s policies and procedures and make sure you are familiar with them
Set realistic goals for yourself and don’t over-commit
Take an active role in the union chapter at your school to address common work issues and protect your rights at work
Utilise all professional development opportunities. QIEU offers a range of professional development opportunities for union members – see page 16 for more details
Contact your QIEU office if you need information or advice
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Induction A good start to your career A systemic scheme of induction should be planned and implemented in all schools where there are graduates, as an essential phase of professional development. Q:
What induction process should I expect when I begin at a school?
The school should offer you: A pre-appointment visit A letter of welcome with the letter of appointment and an outline of the induction program and the requirements to satisfy teacher registration provisions A handbook about the school, its policies, objectives and procedures
What should be stated in my Letter of Appointment?
Your Letter of Appointment should contain: Classification - e.g. Band/ Level and Step Rate of wage/salary - either annually, per fortnight or per month Whether the position is continuing or fixed term and whether it is full-time, part-time or term-time.
Contact your chapter representative or your QIEU office for more information or if you have concerns about the induction process in your school.
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Managing workload and work intensification The campaign against working harder and working longer (work intensification) is a critical issue for education professionals. Unfortunately, workplace stress is a serious health and safety issue in the non-government education sector. As an employee you are entitled to a fair balance between work demands and your personal life. In your first year it is especially important to ensure that your work/life balance is fair and reasonable. While participating in the school community and giving your professional best as a teacher is important, this should not be at the expense of your classroom teaching or your personal health. Remember, industrial provisions stipulate that: ď‚ˇ Extra curricular activities are honorary and voluntary unless your collective agreement says otherwise ď‚ˇ Teachers are entitled to a minimum amount of time for preparation and correction ď‚ˇ There are a maximum number of hours of directed duty teachers can be asked to perform Should you feel under unnecessary work pressure or subject to unrealistic demands at your school, please contact your chapter representative or your QIEU office for urgent advice.
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Professional development QIEU provides a broad range of professional development opportunities to union members. Details are regularly advertised in the QIEU journal The Independent Voice and on the QIEU website at www.qieu.asn.au Training and seminars include: Graduate teacher seminars to assist in your first year Strategies to strengthen your union chapter Workplace health and safety Legal liability issues for teachers Dealing with workplace bullying and harassment Industrial relations and employment conditions
Superannuation Start saving now for retirement It may seem strange to think about retirement when you are just starting your career, but research shows the younger you start investing in superannuation the bigger your ‘nest egg’ will be. QIEU members have achieved enhanced superannuation provisions in many sectors which provide a higher rate of superannuation if you make a co-contribution. Ask your chapter representative about the superannuation provisions in your school’s agreement or contact your QIEU office.
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Other QIEU member benefits As a QIEU member you also have access to a range of organisations specialising in services to teachers and union members. QIEC Super: The Queensland Independent Education and Care Superannuation Trust (QIEC Super) specialises in superannuation for teaching and non-teaching employees in non-government schools, kindergartens, childcare centres and related services. Automatic Income Protection Insurance as well as Death Cover is also available. For further information please call 1300 360 507 or visit www.qiec.com.au Members Equity Bank: Members Equity Bank is the union membersâ€™ bank with competitive home loan rates and no administrative fees. For further information please call 13 15 63 or visit www.membersequity.com.au Union Shopper: Compare prices and save money with this buying service available throughout Queensland to all QIEU financial members. For further information please call 1300 368 117 or visit www.unionshopper.com.au. Teachersâ€™ Union Health (TUH): The not-for-profit health fund established in 1972 to meet the unique needs of teachers and their families. As a QIEU member you have access to a range of benefits and services. For further information please call 1300 360 701 or visit www.tuh.com.au. For more information about member benefits, visit the QIEU website at www.qieu.asn.au
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QIEU Communications QIEUâ€™s signature journal The Independent Voice and your union website www.qieu.asn.au provide members with up-to-date information on educational, industrial and professional issues as well as a voice for highlighting issues of concern and celebrating wins. A range of other union and professional journals are also available. Useful Websites www.qieu.asn.au
On the QIEU website you can find out the latest news about what is happening in the non-government education sector
The Queensland College of Teachersâ€™ site contains information about the teacher registration process, professional code of conduct for teachers, Continued Professional Learning etc.
To find out what is happening at a national level visit the federal Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) site. From here you can find links to the other IEUA state union branches.
The Queensland Studies Authority website provides on-line materials relating to syllabuses, testing, assessment, moderation, certification, accreditation, vocational education, tertiary entrance and research.
www.worksite.actu.asn.au A great site to help teach children what unions do, why they are important and what their rights at work are.
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Glossary of terms Union – a continuous association of workers formed to maintain or improve their working rights and conditions, which is free from influence by an employer or employer organisation QIEU – Queensland Independent Education Union, the union representing employees in the non-government education sector Chapter – the name used to refer to the group of QIEU members acting collectively in a non-government school Chapter representative – an elected member of your union chapter who can provide information on workplace issues and entitlements as well as liaise with the union office on your behalf if necessary Branch – QIEU is divided up into 15 Branches, based mainly on geographic location – for further information visit www.qieu.asn.au Award – a set of standard, legally enforceable, working rights and conditions which have been awarded by a state or federal industrial tribunal for a particular industry or occupation. Collective agreement – an agreement which determines the workplace rights and conditions of employees in a particular sector or school, which has been collectively negotiated between employees and their employer Extra curricular/Co-curricular duties – duties expected of a teacher which are outside hours of directed duty. While these duties are honorary and voluntary, which means you are not compelled to do them, there is a general expectation that you ‘volunteer’ to undertake a reasonable portion of such duties. Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) – The body responsible for the registration of teachers in Queensland
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Brisbane office: 346 Turbot Street SPRING HILL QLD 4000 PO Box 418 FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006 Telephone: (07) 3839 7020 Facsimile: (07) 3839 7021 FREECALL: 1800 177 937 Bundaberg office:
Unit 5, QCU Building 44 Maryborough Street BUNDABERG QLD 4670
Level 1, 316 Sturt Street TOWNSVILLE QLD 4810
Postal Address: PO Box 1227 BUNDABERG QLD 4670
Postal Address: PO Box 5783 TOWNSVILLE WEST QLD 4810
Telephone: (07) 4132 8455 Facsimile: (07) 4151 5199 FREECALL: 1800 177 937
Telephone: (07) 4772 6277 Facsimile: (07) 4772 6629 FREECALL: 1800 177 937
www.qieu.asn.au firstname.lastname@example.org ABN: 45 620 218 712
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Published on Nov 25, 2011