Women facing a fight

Anna Uren
Women’s Coordinator

Full-time child-rearing no longer works for pay progression

Federation is continuing the fight to protect the salaries and conditions of members affected by the Department of Education’s Interim Salary Review Procedure and its proposed “leave simplification” implementation.

Both these matters were reported on at Annual Conference, highlighting their disproportionate impact on women members.

In May, the Department unilaterally implemented a new procedure on the process by which teachers can apply for a salary review.

Some of the most significant changes include:

  • no longer recognising full-time childrearing, overseas teaching experience or military service for salary progression
  • sending experienced teachers back to the beginning of the salary scale because of a break in service
  • no longer combining casual and temporary service for determining salary on permanent appointment
  • penalising teachers who have broken service or varied career patterns.

These will have the combined impact of driving experienced teachers from the profession and punishing teachers (in the vast majority, women) who take time out to care for others. In many cases, the provisions were brought in specifically to ensure that women were not penalised for having children, and to retain experienced teachers in the profession.

For example, recognition of child rearing for salary progression was announced by the then Education Minister, Paul Landa, at a Federation Women’s Conference in 1980. This measure has been crucial in closing the gender pay gap in the teaching service and its removal only risks sending women backwards.

Federation is pursuing the matter in the Industrial Relations Commission regarding the Interim Salary Review Procedure and will continue to fight this attack on teachers’ pay and conditions.

In addition, the Federation continues negotiations around the Department’s proposed “leave simplification”. The Department has sought to implement a number of new leave determinations in a very short timeframe in order to be able to implement its new payroll system.

In negotiations, the Department has backed down from some of the worst aspects of its original proposals, including those that would have seen many of those teachers taking maternity leave and working part-time before their children start school losing tens of thousands of dollars in pay. The matter remains unresolved and Federation continues to analyse the revised proposals put by the Department to ensure members are not disadvantaged by the implementation of a new electronic payroll system.

Fighting for the pay and conditions of women teachers has always been core business for Federation. An infographic has been developed to show a quick history of the union’s fight for women teachers’ rights in NSW.

Click here for PDF of this story.

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