Meal provision: count on it

Gemma Burrows

Teachers' meal provision is good for morale

Members may recall the days when on evenings such as parent-teacher night or other events, a member of the school executive would organise a meal for the staff. In fact, as many members are aware, there are schools that still adhere to this practice.

Teachers who are on duty at evening events at their school are often engaging actively with their colleagues or the wider school community including parents, students and others. These are long days for teachers, requiring a great deal of concentration and stamina especially after working with their students throughout the day.

The provision of a meal not only provides teachers the opportunity to have something to eat but, as many members will understand, is positive for staff welfare and morale. A question posed by a one of our Federation Councillors regarding what had happened to the meal allowance determination of earlier days prompted an industrial search back to the Teaching Service Act of 1970.

This determination was tracked through the relevant industrial legislation to determine if it was indeed still relevant or if in fact it had been repealed at some stage — and the search proved to be successful.

Federation has had the determination confirmed by the Department’s Industrial unit; so, teachers who are asked to remain on duty for at least 9.5 hours from entering on duty are entitled to an evening meal allowance should the school not provide a meal.

For example, if a teacher is at a school where the entry on duty time is 8am and the teacher is asked to remain on duty beyond 6pm the teacher is entitled to a meal.

There is no requirement in the determination to provide the meal at a specific time and this will depend on the individual arrangements for each school. Federation recommends a consultative approach between the principal/executive and teachers when planning the event to work out the best time to provide the meal.

Where a school is not providing an evening meal for teachers who have been asked to remain on duty for at least 9.5 hours, teachers are entitled to claim a meal allowance under the determination. Work-related allowances for public service employees including schoolteachers, are adjusted annually.

Gemma Burrows was a relieving Research/Industrial Officer for Term 1

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