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NewsExtra: NSW Christian schools teaching staff MEA 2021

September 2020




NSW Christian Schools Teaching Staff MEA 2021

Your school has circulated to teachers a Notice of Representational Rights, the first step in bargaining for a new MEA. The union understands from a Staff Update circulated by schools in the first week of September that they intend to finalise a new multi-enterprise agreement (MEA) by the end of this term so voting by teachers at each school on the proposed MEA can occur early next term.


The proposed MEA will be negotiated between the union (and any other bargaining reps nominated by individuals) and the representatives of the schools, Christian Schools Australia (CSA) and Prolegis, a legal firm that has been appointed by Christian Education National (CEN) schools. The union is automatically the representative for members in the negotiations.


The employers have sent the union a draft proposal for the new MEA. The union is now consulting with members concerning this proposal and our claim.


Increases in pay

Employers have proposed a three year agreement from February 2021 to December 2023, with pay increases as set out below:




1 February 2021

2.3 %

1 February 2022

2.3 %

1 February 2023

2.5 %



Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher classifications

Schools have proposed that new classifications of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher be included in the MEA from the beginning of 2021 for teachers who have been accredited as such by NESA . The rate of pay would be approximately $6,000 above a Step 13 teacher, but the additional amount is not paid on top of a promotions allowance, if the teacher holds a promotion position.


Concurrent parental leave

Part of the new MEA proposed by schools will be more flexible timing of the two weeks paid concurrent parental leave (including paternity leave). Schools have suggested that the leave can be taken any time within 12 months of the date of birth or date of adoption. However this leave is still proposed to be deducted from personal/carer’s leave which will remain a disincentive for teachers to access it.


IEU claim

The IEU has identified the following key issues as part of our claim:

  • pay increases should be 2.5% per annum
  • recognition of overseas teaching service and of service as an accredited early childhood teacher in an early learning centre for incremental progression
  • clearer provisions to ensure experienced teachers moving from interstate or overseas are not disadvantaged in their pay step
  • more detailed provisions setting out a teacher’s right to flexible working arrangements (for

example, where a teacher wishes to work part time following a period of parental leave)

  • clear coverage under the MEA for teachers who work in all early learning centres attached to schools (not just preschools)
  • the right to take concurrent parental leave (paternity leave) without such leave being deducted from personal/carer’s leave. This is less generous than the entitlement in other NSW independent schools and the entitlement in Catholic schools
  • emergency natural disaster leave of five days per year that would apply if a teacher was unable to attend work because of a natural disaster such as a bushfire or flood – this applies in government schools and has recently been agreed in NSW Catholic schools
  • domestic violence leave of ten days per annum that is more flexible than the existing provision

under personal/carer’s leave and is not deducted from personal/carer’s leave (this has also been

agreed in Catholic schools).


A word on pay rises

The union considers that the pay rises proposed by schools, although less than our claim, would be acceptable if all other matters in our claim were resolved. This is because there is considerable uncertainty about the pay rises that will be received by teachers in government schools in 2022, as a result of the current attempt by the NSW government to impose a pay freeze on public servants instead of the expected 2.5% pay rise. This attempt is being pursued in proceedings before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission and is being opposed by unions, including the IEU. Teachers in government schools will receive a 2.28% pay rise in 2021 but it is not clear how they will be affected by the pay freeze, if successful, in 2022.


Chapter meetings

The union asks all IEU Chapters to hold an urgent meeting (face to face or by zoom) to endorse the IEU claim and vote on the attached motion. Your IEU Organiser would be happy to attend and answer any questions.


The IEU supports members. Invite 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

P 02 8202 8900 E |