Supporting the independent education community

New agreement for teachers in NSW Christian schools

The Union is pleased to advise that an agreement has been reached between Christian Schools Australia (CSA) on behalf of 46 NSW Christian schools and the Union for a new NSW Christian Schools Teaching Staff Multi-Enterprise Agreement (MEA). We anticipate that the proposed agreement and explanatory notes with details of the voting process will be made available to you by your employer in the coming weeks. CSA advises that they hope to complete the process by the end of the school term.

The Union recommends a ‘yes’ vote for this agreement that delivers solid improvements to salary and conditions.

The Union congratulates members on the outcome and commends those chapters that participated in the campaign for an improved offer for new personal/carer’s leave. A record number of Christian schools responded to the IEU motion calling for personal/carer’s leave in the MEA “to be comparable to personal/carer’s leave that applies in other NSW schools”. In our view this action had a significant impact on negotiations leading to the much improved arrangements.

The agreement will commence seven days following the approval of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and it expires on 31 December 2020.

Salary increases

Teachers will receive:

  • a 2.3% salary increase backdated to the first full pay period on or after 1 February 2018 (Bands 1 and 2) and 2.5% (Band 3)
  • a 2.5% from the first full pay period on or after 1 February 2019 and
  • a 2.5% from the first full pay period on or after 1 February 2020.

A 2.5% increase will also apply along the same time frames to casual teacher rates and allowances for deputies and positions of responsibility in schools and directors of preschools.

These increases are similar to percentage increases in the other education sectors. They are also significantly higher than the salary increases initially proposed by CSA on behalf of Christian schools. Christian school salaries at the top of Band 3 are approximately 1% above the top rate in Catholic and government schools.

Personal/carer’s Leave

A new arrangement for personal/carer’s leave is the major change in the proposed agreement. The current scheme is a capped accumulation model that provides for 15 days in the first two years of service then 20 days per year in the third and subsequent years of service. Accumulation of sick leave is capped at 120 days and only applies to the preceding six years of service. This means that the maximum would be reduced by any leave taken in those years.

All NSW school sectors have now moved away from a high annual entitlement with a cap to a lower annual entitlement with indefinite accrual. Despite the reduction in annual entitlement, there are considerable benefits to ongoing accrual. The uncapped scheme is also important to meet National Employment Standards (NES) requirements in the Fair Work Act.

The new scheme includes:

  • Fifteen days per year entitlement (full time) accruing progressively over each year of service which accumulates indefinitely.
  • Retention of current accumulated leave balances for existing staff.
  • Five bonus days leave (full time) staff on the commencement of the scheme to assist with the transition to the new accrual arrangements.
  • Pro-rata entitlements continue for part time staff.
  • The ability of staff in their first year of service to request personal leave in advance for absences due to illness or injury up to the entitlement of 15 days – such a request cannot be unreasonably denied.
  • Removal of existing limitations to carer’s leave to enable members to access any current and accrued leave for this purpose.
  • Expanded access provisions and lower evidence requirements. There are major improvements in these provisions. A medical certificate can now be provided by a wider range of health practitioners. The agreement now reads: “Other than in respect of the first three days absence due to illness or injury in any year, a teacher shall, upon request for each absence of two consecutive days or more, provide a medical certificate”. The new scheme removes the pressure from teachers to provide certificates for one day absences, although an employer can seek such evidence after a teacher has taken seven single days within a year.
  • Access to personal /carer’s leave for an ‘unexpected personal emergency’ or domestic violence.

The IEU believes that the new arrangements will benefit members through higher accumulation over time and greater flexibility to access leave as well as lower evidence requirements.

What next?

The Union will provide further details once the voting process is finalised. Please contact your organiser to arrange a visit to discuss the proposed agreement. For further information also see Newsmonth.

The IEU strongly encourages you to share this information with non members in your school. As we have seen in this round of bargaining, enhanced member participation improves bargaining outcomes. If every member recruits just one colleague, we will double our strength in your sector. Your colleague will also enjoy professional support and industrial advice and representation.

Thank you for your support during this campaign.

Click here to download the full June NewsExtra