Salary adjustment talks underway

Rod Brown
Assistant General Secretary (Research and Industrial)

A change is on the cards because of the postponement to superannuation increases.

Negotiations around the appropriate adjustment of salary increases for 2015 and 2016, given the Commonwealth Government's postponement of increases in the Superannuation Guarantee, are underway.

Discussions are between Federation and the Department of Education and Communities, and other NSW public sector agencies where teachers work.

During negotiations regarding the current awards and enterprise agreements covering teachers in schools, TAFE colleges, Corrective Services centres, AMES, and Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards, Federation received undertakings that should increases in the Superannuation Guarantee be postponed, the salary rates under those awards and agreements would be adjusted.

On July 1, the Superannuation Guarantee was increased from 9.25 per cent to 9.5 per cent with no further scheduled increases before July 2021. At the time the teacher awards and agreements were negotiated scheduled increases were to occur each year until 2019 taking the Superannuation Guarantee to 12 per cent.

Because the awards and agreements covering teachers are from the beginning of January each year and the change to the Superannuation Guarantee occurred in July there is a partial overlap. The adjustment is due to take effect in January.

Changes to teachers' pay after July 1 were not a result of the increase in the Superannuation Guarantee but the result of an increase in the Medicare Levy.

The Australian Tax Office website states: "From 1 July 2014, the government will increase the Medicare levy rate from 1.5 to 2 per cent of taxable income for the 2014-15 income year and later income years. This increase will also have consequential changes for legislation that reference the Medicare levy rate. The money raised from the increase will be placed into a DisabilityCare Australia Fund for 10 years, which will only be drawn upon to fund the additional costs of delivering the NDIS."

It should be noted that the legislation increasing the Medicare Levy was introduced and passed during the term of the Labor government with the support of the Coalition. For many teachers the change to the Medicare Levy would have resulted in a loss of approximately $15 per fortnight in take-home pay.