Principals: Major wins in Catholic systemic schools agreements

Principals in Catholic systemic schools have voted up their agreements.

In nine dioceses (excluding Sydney Catholic Schools and Catholic Schools Broken Bay), Principals have voted up their enterprise agreement. Of the 71.5% who voted, 99% voted in favour of the EA.

Voting in the Sydney Catholic Schools EA and Catholic Schools Broken Bay EA concluded on Friday 15 March.

The three new EAs bring a range of benefits to principals, not least an 8% pay increase. Below is an outline of the new pay and conditions.

Conditions for all dioceses

Revised personal/carer’s leave evidence: Evidence requirements for absences on personal/carer’s leave will be less stringent than in previous wording of the EA.

The evidence need only satisfy a reasonable person rather than to the satisfaction of the employer. This wording reflects the requirements under the National Employment Standards.

Improved parental leave: The non-term time that falls within the period of 14 weeks of paid parental leave will no longer count as paid parental leave. In effect, under the new EA, principals will receive an additional two weeks of paid parental leave. Eligible principals employed on temporary basis (at least three years) may also have access to paid parental leave.

Any personal/carer’s leave taken in the four weeks prior to the expected date of birth will no longer be deducted from the 14 days of paid parental leave entitlement.

Additionally, the partner of the birthing parent will be entitled to 12 weeks of paid parental leave (inclusive of non-term time).

Compassionate leave: Access to compassionate leave under the EA will now include situations where the principal has experienced stillbirth or miscarriage.

Legislated changes: In addition to all the key changes outlined above, the EAs provide greater entitlements to principals introduced by the changes to the legislation. The changes include:

  • right to request flexible work arrangements, and
  • greater entitlements to paid family and domestic violence leave.

Expiry dates

The EA covering nine dioceses and the Sydney Catholic Schools EA expire on 9 October 2024, in line with agreements for teachers and support staff. The new Catholic Schools Broken Bay EA will have a nominal expiry date of 31 December 2025.

Catholic Schools Broken Bay

This is the first stand-alone EA for Catholic Schools Broken Bay (CSBB) principals.

Pay increase guarantee: The EA guarantees a pay increase of 3% per annum applying from the first full pay period of 1 July 2024 and 1 July 2025.

The increases will be applied to the adjusted rates paid from 9 October 2023 that incorporated the 8% general increase plus the additional 1.5% that CSBB offered to all their employees. There will be no changes to the classification structure for principals.

Annual salary review: In addition to the guarantee, the EA introduces an annual salary review which takes place prior to 1 July of each year. The annual salary review (applicable to all principals in the Broken Bay diocese) gives capacity for CSBB and the IEU to consider whether the pay increase guarantee should be raised taking into account:

  • percentage increase received by principals in NSW government schools
  • percentage increase received by principals in other Catholic systemic diocesan schools
  • annual percentage movement in the Wage Price Index for NSW based on the immediate last quarter, and
  • CSBB’s financial performance for the previous 12 months and the forecast for the years ahead.

The IEU will have a key role in the annual salary review and be provided with the relevant information relied on by CSBB in determining the appropriate increase for that year. The EA recognises that the IEU will be entitled to make representations to CSBB in this process.

Stay in touch: Principals’ Branch meetings

The IEU holds regular meetings for our principal members. They take place at the IEU’s head office, 485-501 Wattle St, Ultimo or via Zoom. This year’s meeting dates are as follows:

Term 2: 11 May
Term 3: 3 August
Term 4: 9 November

Regular diocesan Principals Sub Branch meetings are organised throughout the year.

Lyn Caton, Principal’s Organiser

From the March 2024 edition of Newsmonth