Starting work as a teacher with a new employer in 2018?
In addition to all the other information you will need about your new school, set out below are a few pointers relevant to your pay and conditions if you are starting with a new employer.
Provide proof of your qualifications and prior service to your new school
Schools will expect that you provide copies of qualifications and statements of service on letterhead from your previous employers. Check that you have statements for all service that you have done, including casual teaching and, where relevant, overseas teaching. Proof of your pay slip is normally not enough to establish your pay step when moving between employers and even related employers will usually require separate proof. Failure to provide this documentation when requested to do so will affect your rate of pay.
Make sure you understand the pay structure in the enterprise agreement (EA) that applies
There are now a number of different pay models applying in non government schools. In some EAs, progression on the pay scale occurs with additional teaching experience; in others there is a further criterion. For example, for teachers in AIS standards schools and for new teachers in Catholic systemic schools, you need to have Proficient Teacher status to progress to Band 2. In AIS standards schools, status as an Experienced Teacher is necessary to progress to Band 3.
Pay rates may also vary between employers – just because your pay has gone up does not mean that your classification is correct. Check that you understand your classification and what you need to do to get further increases.
Also make sure before you accept the job that your pay rate will not go down if so, any deal to maintain a higher rate of pay will need to be made before you accept the new job and should be recorded in writing, preferably in your letter of appointment.
Proficient Teacher status
Even if the date that you obtain Proficient Teacher status is not relevant under your current EA, it may be relevant under a different EA with the same or different employer in the future. IEU therefore recommends that all members try to attain Proficient status within their first two years of equivalent full time teaching (that is approximately 406 days), even though NESA or TQI may allow a longer period.
Letter of appointment
Employers are required to give teachers a letter of appointment on commencement. This should state your classification and rate of pay, whether you are full time or part time, and whether your employment is temporary (that is, has an end date) or is ongoing, and the usual face to face teaching load. Check that these details are correct.
Most EAs limit the circumstances in which a teacher may be appointed as a temporary, for example, you are replacing a person on leave, and require the reason to be specified. Temporary appointments cannot be used for probation. Be aware that a written letter of appointment that has a fixed end date will normally be interpreted as overriding any verbal promises about the chance of ongoing employment. Read the letter of appointment and keep a copy of it. If you do not understand any clauses (for example on intellectual property or confidentiality), ask for them to be explained.
A final word
Read all the documents that your employer gives you carefully and do not hesitate to call the Union for confidential advice about your rate of pay, classification or letter of appointment.
And finally, make sure you advise the Union office of your change of workplace at email@example.com; or phone 8202 8900 and let us know if you need to change payment arrangements.
*This article appeared in the February 2018 edition of Newsmonth online.