Changes to leave on the way

Carrie Jacobi
Relieving Research/Industrial Officer
Anna Uren
Research/Industrial Officer

By June 2018, the Department intends that all schools in NSW will have rolled over to the new SAP HR payroll system. This new system required simplification of the way some leave entitlements are calculated and administered. Negotiations on leave took place in 2016 and the package was endorsed by Council in September last year.

The changes to leave are mainly to the way leave is calculated and administered. Where there has been a change to a leave entitlement, it has been assessed in the context of the entire package of leave to ensure that members are better off overall. The leave simplification package contains some great improvements for members.

  • Maternity leave will now be broken around the school vacations. This effectively extends the amount of paid maternity (and adoption) leave available by two to seven weeks depending on when the baby is born.
  • Teachers taking short periods of extended leave (long service leave) won’t be debited extra days.
  • While sick leave will now accrue over the course of the year, rather than all be allocated at the start of the year. For the introduction of the system in 2018, this will result in teachers getting several additional days’ sick leave.

A small number of schools on the far south coast will be the first in the rollout of the new system in early Term 1. All schools outside the Sydney networks are expected to change over in April, while Sydney metropolitan schools will commence in May.

One of the big changes is the move to a five-day, rather than seven-day, remuneration model. This will mostly affect long service and extended leave when taken in small amounts. Members will benefit from this change because the weekends or penalty days will no longer be calculated on the amount of leave taken. Instead of accruing calendar days, the new model will accrue working days only.

Vacations will be treated as a payment rather than leave, meaning when leave is taken that spans across a vacation period, only the portion of leave that falls during term time will be debited from the teacher’s entitlement. For example, someone taking half-pay parental leave can take the week before a vacation period followed by the week after the vacation period.

Entitlement to vacation pay will accrue according to a teacher’s leave or service. For example, half-pay leave for one term will attract a half vacation pay entitlement for one quarter of the year’s vacation period.

The new model accrues the 15 days of sick leave over the course of the year. New teachers will get an initial grant of five days and will continue to have access to additional leave, if needed, in their first two years of teaching. Unpaid sick leave will now accrue paid sick leave entitlement.

FACS leave changes from a rolling entitlement to one that is fully cumulative. It will now be granted at 2.5 days in a teacher’s first year of service, 2.5 days in their second year of service, and an accrual of one day per year after that.

Some additional protections are built in, such as a teacher returning from a period of unpaid maternity, adoption or parental leave will have access to additional sick leave if needed.

All leave accrued before the new determination will roll over, although, due to the five-day remuneration model, the extended leave balances may look different, but should result in the same overall time off work.

If you have any concerns about any of your leave balances, contact the Department through EdConnect. Federation’s advice leaflets are being updated and detailed information about the changes will be available in the members’ area of Federation's website.

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