Supporting the independent education community

No support staff stand-downs in virus crisis

How is your school managing the move to remote delivery during the coronavirus crisis?


The IEU has been busy fielding calls from across all our areas of membership regarding the deep impact of the pandemic and has called for a halt to any threatened stand downs.


Under the federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy announced on March 30, businesses will be paid a subsidy of up to $1500 per fortnight per employee, with the aim of keeping Australians in work during the crisis. The full amount must be passed on to the employee to keep them connected to the business.


“There is no reason to stand support staff down,” IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said.


“Staff must not be stood down while these plans are still evolving. The union is seeking for all staff in schools and early learning centres to remain fully employed, even while schools and centres are operating with reduced numbers of students,” Northam said. 


“There is no shortage of work to be done. Schools need to creatively explore ways to ensure school sites remain safe for the staff and small numbers of students who attend and to enhance online learning provided to students.”


There are nearly as many approaches to managing the transition to a hybrid education model as there are schools. Support staff are helping teachers get set up for online class delivery, undertaking research, providing technical support, developing and preparing resources and taking small online groups for targeted work.


“Support staff are already playing a valuable role in assisting teachers to provide online learning and maintaining contact with students and their families,” Northam said. “Schools cannot be expected to deliver a new hybrid model of education without teachers and support staff working together.”


All awards and enterprise agreements require the employer to consult with employees and the union about potential stand-downs.


“Schools delivering online education are not shut,” Northam said. “We are calling for an immediate halt to any threatened stand-downs.”


If you have concerns about work, health and safety at your school, your request to work from home, or your rights as an employee, talk to the union rep at your school or your union organiser.