Supporting the independent education community

IEU reiterates position after newly increased distancing measures

The IEU notes today’s announcement (20 March) by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, recommending new measures for indoor gatherings of less than 100: four square metres per person in an enclosed space should be available.


These developments are causing considerable distress to many of our members. We reiterate our position regarding the work, health and safety conditions of teachers and support staff to major non government education employers, with whom the union is in constant communication and negotiation.

The union encourages concerned members to contact their IEU Organiser, and inform us of any failures to uphold adequate work, health and safety obligations.


We have called for the following concerns to be addressed as a matter of urgency.


For vulnerable employees


Employees who have a verifiable pre-existing health condition (who are not ill) or who are pregnant and those who provide care to elderly relatives within their own household, who are concerned about attending work are encouraged to meet with their principal to discuss their situation. Employees should not be required to produce a medical certificate but should provide some evidence of the condition, which in many cases will be well known to the principal. Wherever possible, these employees should be permitted to work from home. Where this is not possible, the employee should be granted ex gratia leave.


Hygiene and work, health and safety at school


Employers must implement comprehensive hygiene/safety measures including:


•          daily temperature taking of all students with contactless thermometers

•          provision of sanitiser/soap products for all staff and students

•          immediate cancellation of VET workplace visits/ placements.


Additional workload


Teachers should not be expected to deliver face to face lessons to classes as well as remain in contact with or provide lessons for those students whose parents have elected to withdraw them from school.


To cater for the eventuality that schools may transition to online learning, employers must provide teachers and administrators with additional release time to prepare such lessons. Dioceses should also centrally prepare resources.


Teachers should not be expected to work well in excess of what is reasonable to meet these drastically changed circumstances.


An open dialogue between employers and IEU organisers is imperative. The IEU acknowledges this is happening in some workplaces already. The IEU is available at short notice to discuss these matters.