In the March issue of Newsmonth, the Union commended members in Christian schools for their support in passing motions to ensure new personal/carer’s leave arrangements were comparable in Christian schools to the leave that applies in other NSW schools.
The IEU can now report that we have settled with Christian Schools Australia (CSA) for a new NSW Christian Schools Teaching Staff Multi-Enterprise Agreement (MEA) that includes such leave.
The IEU will advocate a ‘yes’ vote for the agreement that should be put to members in the coming weeks.
The turning point in negotiations came when the CSA, on behalf of Christian schools, agreed to new personal/carer’s leave that contained many of the features of the new leave in government, Catholic and independent schools.
All NSW school sectors have moved away from a high annual entitlement with a cap to a lower annual entitlement with indefinite accrual. Despite the reduction in annual entitlement, there are considerable benefits to ongoing accrual. The uncapped scheme is also important to meet National Employment Standards (NES) requirements in the Fair Work Act.
NSW Christian schools have now agreed to a new scheme that includes:
• 15 days per year entitlement (full time staff) accruing progressively over each year of service which accumulates indefinitely,
• retention of current accumulated leave balances for existing staff
• five bonus days leave (full time) staff on the commencement of the scheme to assist with the transition to the new accrual arrangements,
• the ability of staff in their first year of service to request personal leave in advance for absences due to illness or injury up to the entitlement of 15 days – such a request cannot be unreasonably denied, and
• expanded access provisions and lower evidence requirements.
The Union believes these arrangements provide better and more flexible leave entitlements to members than the existing scheme.
Teachers will receive a 2.3% salary increase backdated to the first full pay period on or after 1 February 2018 (Bands 1 and 2) and 2.5% (Band 3), 2.5% from the first full pay period on or after 2019 and 2.5% from the first full pay period on or after 1 February 2020.
These increases are similar to percentage increases in the other education sectors. They are also significantly higher than the salary increases initially proposed by CSA on behalf of Christian schools.
The Union congratulates members on the significant benefits achieved by this agreement. The participation of members in the campaign for fair personal/carer’s leave almost certainly helped shape the good outcome outlined above.
The Union will communicate further with you as the process unfolds. We also encourage you to hold meetings with your IEU organiser to gain further understanding about the proposed agreement.