In recent months, there have been some significant improvements to the prevailing modern award, the Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2010. Improvements include a provision allowing for the conversion of casual employees to permanent, once they have completed twelve months of continuous service. The post secondary sector is rife with insecure work, and while the new award provision is no panacea for this, it is still a welcome development, and will hopefully see a gradual move away from casual contracts.
Award rates were increased by 3% in July, in line with the Fair Work Commission’s minimum wage decision. This has lifted the lowest step rate in the award to over $50,000, while the top rate is now over $66,000.
Domestic Violence Leave is now enshrined in law for all workers, albeit unpaid leave, and not the paid provisions that the union movement was seeking. Nevertheless, workers in the sector now have an entitlement to time off work should they find themselves in the unfortunate position of a domestic violence situation.
The implications of the Workpac v Skene decision, in which a long term casual worker was deemed to have accrued leave entitlements in spite of his casual status, are still being examined by the Union. Given the high proportion of casual employees in the sector, the IEU could well take on a case to extend this to the post secondary sector in due course.