Vote 'Yes' - Independent Christian Schools NSW (Support and Operational Staff) MEA 2019
www.ieu.asn.au | June 2020
Independent Christian Schools NSW (Support and Operational Staff) MEA 2019 Vote YES
Who does the MEA cover?
The Association of Independent Schools has finalised a new Multi-Enterprise Agreement (MEA) to apply to support staff in nine NSW Christian Schools. This MEA has been negotiated with the IEU. Seven of the nine schools are part of the Pacific Group of Schools.
Which MEA applied before?
Staff at Pacific Hills, Pacific Coast and Pacific Valley Christian schools were previously covered by the NSW Christian Schools Support and Operational Staff MEA 2012-2013. Support staff at Wycliffe Christian School and Nepean Christian School were covered by the Independent Schools NSW (Support and Operational Staff) MEA 2015-2017. Both these MEAs expired some time ago.
Support staff in four of the more recently established Pacific Group of Schools do not appear to have been covered by any enterprise agreement at all although your school may have followed the conditions applying in other Pacific Christian schools (based on the NSW Christian Schools Support and Operational Staff MEA 2012-2013).
Key improvements of the new MEA are as follows:
- A minimum increase of a 13% pay rise over four years for all employees including an initial pay rise of 4% from February 2020 (preschool/child-care employees will get slightly more). These percentages are calculated in respect of the pay rates generally paid in NSW Christian schools in 2019 in accordance with Christian Schools Australia advice. These increases are well above inflation.
For some staff at Wycliffe Christian School and Nepean Christian School the new rates may not be above existing rates for all staff (because a different MEA, the Independent Schools NSW (Support and Operational Staff) MEA 2015-2017, previously applied). Special undertakings have been negotiated for staff so that all staff at Wycliffe Christian School will get the same percentage pay rises as under the MEA (4%, 3%, 3% and 3%). For staff at Nepean Christian School who are currently receiving more than the new MEA, they will receive a minimum increase of 2% per annum. All staff at these two schools should speak to their bursar to clarify the arrangements that will apply to them.
- Graduate pay – the new MEA provides a clearer structure for the pay progression of graduate employees (see clause 16.2(d)).
- Detailed flexible working arrangements clause – there is a new clause that is more helpful to the employee if he or she seeks to change their working arrangements because of carer’s arrangements (for example caring for a child of school age or younger or caring for aged parents) or for other prescribed reasons. The school is now obliged to genuinely try to accommodate the employee’s request and should also consider other options.
- Inclusion of casual conversion clause – a long term regular casual employee can apply to be employed on a full time or part time basis.
- Reduced penalty for insufficient notice of resignation – the debt due to the school is now limited to one week if an employee resigns without giving the required notice.
- Domestic leave – one day of personal/carer’s leave per year may be used for moving house or a domestic emergency.
Don’t forget to vote
In order for an enterprise agreement to be legally effective, employees must vote to support it in a ballot conducted by the employer. The vote will be on two days next week, for most schools from 8.30am on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 until 4pm on Wednesday, 1 July 2020. After the vote, if there is a YES vote at your school, the MEA will be lodged with the Fair Work Commission to be approved to apply to your school.
It is also important that as many support staff as possible vote in the ballot (and vote YES) to demonstrate to the Fair Work Commission that staff understood and supported the EA.
If a majority of staff who vote, vote NO, the MEA will not apply to your school and your school will NOT pay the pay rises.
A final word
The IEU supports members. Encourage your colleagues to join here:
Authorised by Mark Northam, Secretary, Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch The Briscoe Building 485 – 501 Wattle St Ultimo NSW 2007