Leave changes resolved

Gary Zadkovich
Deputy President

Leave negotiations will reassure members

Federation Council on September 10 endorsed acceptance of the Leave Simplification changes that have been negotiated with the NSW Department of Education in recent months.

Council made this decision on the proviso that this settlement does not diminish leave conditions for Federation members.

After being confronted with proposals in a number of areas that would have disadvantaged members relative to the way various forms of leave have previously been calculated, Federation was able to achieve significant changes to the Department’s original proposals through negotiations.

The Department sought changes to the way leave is calculated in order to make IT cost savings when building a new payroll system compatible with other government departments. It should be noted that, because the Department will take most of 2017 to develop the new system, the leave simplification changes do not come into effect until 2018.

Federation is developing information for distribution to members to explain the outcomes with regard to the following leave types — Family and Community Service Leave, Vacation Pay, Maternity, Adoption and Parental Leave, Sick Leave, Special Leave and Extended Leave (Long Service Leave).

Salary review

Council also endorsed acceptance of the Department’s undertaking to develop revised salary review procedures that account for the Federation’s objections to the Interim Salary Review Procedure (May 11, 2016).

The Department’s move to implement this policy is described in Federation correspondence (May 25) as follows: “… Federation rejects the Department’s action in ceasing to apply an existing policy, write a new one, apply it retrospectively, and provide no notice to teachers of the policy change.”

The Department sought to abandon previously granted credit for child-rearing, overseas teaching experience, military service and casual and temporary teaching experience, and also to use breaks in service to drop teachers to a first-year salary.

Federation is currently supporting many members who have been disadvantaged by the Department’s imposition of salary review changes. These cases evince a disconcerting capacity for the employer to ignore the severe consequences of its actions for teachers and their families.

It is clear that the prospect of our members taking action against these changes was a key factor in achieving an undertaking by the Department to develop revised procedures.

While Federation hopes that acceptable procedures can be achieved in negotiations, the union reserves its right to take further action, including in an appropriate legal jurisdiction, on these matters.

Members affected by the Department’s salary review changes of May 11 who have not yet contacted Federation for support and advice are urged to do so. Further information will be developed for members and distributed in Term 4.

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