Schools: Term 3 Update
Are you ready to celebrate the great work you do in your school? School Support Staff Recognition Week is nearly here! 31 July-4 August. Every school has been sent a celebration kit of posters, stickers and balloons – they were posted last week so if they have not arrived yet any day now! You can also print additional posters here. Celebrate and be celebrated! Without you, schools just would not work!
Union members can access support in seeking permanent employment this Term.
School support staff are often employed on recurring grants or in "school purchased" positions, which mean you are not permanent employees of the government. State schools are great schools and they aren't going anywhere – so why are so many school support staff in insecure jobs?
Being a temporary worker can have a huge impact on things like accessing loans, planning holidays and your overall feeling of security at work.
Right now we have an opportunity to secure more permanent jobs for school based staff.
As a union we have proposed a group process to the Department where union members who are in temporary roles like AAEP, temporary AO2 or temporary schools officers can apply as a group of union members for a conversion to permanent hours. This will be a big union activity and run centrally through the Department for AO2/OO2 staff. Complete this survey if you are an AO2/AAEP and have temporary hours or a temporary schools officer. If you need a hard copy version of that survey, click this link here.
We need to have all the details from members who are temporary in these roles ready by the last week in August.
If you are a temporary worker and 'classified officer' – for example if you are working in an IT role at TO2 or in a temporary role as a therapist or Business Manager - the first thing you need to do is fill in the survey we have here and send us the "consent to act" form.
It was great to catch up with many members at the QEST Conference during the holidays and discuss next steps on the journey to a Technical Officer classification.
Scientific Operations Officers members have committed to pursuing the Technical Officer classification and seeking recognition of the role as Laboratory Technicians. We know this is a key part of the 'unfinished business' of RoSAS.
We will raise that we want to see the staffing model changed with all political parties as a key claim for the upcoming state election. We will also raise it as a claim in bargaining next year if the winning party of the imminent state election does not commit to deliver it.
We are setting up meetings this Term with key decision makers and will give SOOs the opportunity to come and speak directly to the issues of recognition and the value of your role.
Terms of Reference, what Terms of Reference?!
We are eagerly awaiting the release of the Terms of Reference for our Review of Therapy employment conditions. It is promised 'imminently'. Delegates provided comments back before the holidays so as soon as it is sent over we will be in touch.
The key matter we are raising is pay equity – with the Health Practitioner pay scale – along with professional development and other important matters.
We are certainly following up each and every week. I realise it is frustrating!
There is also a report back coming out soon on the OT/PT "Check In". The Department will do a briefing for all OT and PT staff in the next month.
We are still working towards an improved role that reflects the capacity of Agricultural Assistants to instruct students, with an appropriate PD and pay level if this is to be recognised.
See the letter from the Assistant Director-General, HR here in response to our request.
We are working on some "Frequently Asked Questions" with central office to guide schools on how to apply the new IT funding coming in 2018. The document will be released by the Department and we will send it out next week.
The great news is that the Department is keen to make sure that the money is used to employ more staff and also to ensure job security for existing IT support staff.
Following the completion of RoSAS and the new PDs being released how exactly do you apply for your role to be reclassified to reflect your work?
The first thing to do once you have identified the PD that matches your role is to talk with your Principal/ Business Manager about it. You can see the higher level PDs here.
Your supervisor needs to be aware that asking you to do work at the higher level means that they should pay you in accordance with that PD.
Schools are then able to appoint staff to these roles, as long as the school agrees to fund the pay increase associated with the position.
If your school say that they cannot afford to fund the difference then members should revert to only doing work that is described in the position description for your current level, and not higher level work.
If your school is ready to recognise the role and fund it then you can complete a ‘School Endorsement Form’. These forms have recently been sent to Regional HR staff. These forms mean that you don’t have to go through a long JEMS questionnaire and can instead attach the PD you are working to and have the school sign off that you are doing this work.
There is then a second form which is about appointment to the role. This form is called the “Exemption from Advertising Form”.
We are currently working with the Department to update these resources to ensure that they are current to a schools context. As soon as they are approved by the relevant central office people we will send them out.
Remember you can get in touch with your union office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us on 1800 177 244.
I want to thank the wonderful Kayleen Dwyer who has been our Together schools organiser for some time now. Kayleen has taken on a new role in our union and will be returning to her home town of Bundaberg to work as our Bundaberg organiser – congratulations Kayleen! I will be able to share the details of our new schools organiser with you soon. In the mean time keep in touch with us at the office using the details above.
P.S. Congratulations members! Over the holidays members who are (or have been) International Student Coordinators / Homestay Coordinators received significant back pay after a union win on the requirement to pay them on-call allowance. Together we win!