New enterprise agreements providing for improved salary and conditions for teachers and support staff start at the beginning of this term for the nine schools run by the North NSW Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church.
The new agreements follow extensive Union negotiations throughout the latter part of last year.
The agreements allow for portability of long service leave and personal leave for employees moving between SDA schools. They also allow for breaks in service without breaking continuity under the ‘special leave’ clause, which allows employees to preserve accrued entitlements and continuity of service for up to three years.
Regarding paid maternity leave, teachers now have 14 weeks and support staff 10 weeks. There are undertakings to move towards parity of this entitlement for all employees in the next round of negotiations.
During the negotiations, the Union sought to introduce access to long service leave after five years, on termination and during a period of parental leave, both of which are available in other school sectors. However, the Conference wouldn’t agree to it this time, but will look into the cost implications and budget for the next round.
Due to recent changes to accommodate the teacher accreditation processes in both the agreements covering Catholic and Department schools, the classification structure for the SDA teachers is no longer the same. The discrepancy impacts new teachers when they obtain Proficiency status. This means they will not have wage parity for a couple of years, as Catholic and Department schools teachers move to a much higher salary level than the one applying under the new SDA agreement.
The Conference did not want to address the classification structure at this time, but conceded it would need to be brought into line at the next round. This is not erosion of the conditions in the SDA schools, it’s just that they are no longer on par with the other sectors for a small number of employees, until the structure is revised.
All other conditions remain the same, with the exception of the ‘acting up’ allowance for teachers in early learning centres, which has been brought into line with the acting up arrangements for teachers in schools.
The process of engaging in proper consultation and negotiation with the Union over the agreements and ensuring they meet the needs of the employees as well as the employer has been embraced by the North NSW Conference.
If you have any questions regarding the new agreements contact, your Union organiser.