Award rate increases
From 1 July, all rates in the Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award were increased, in line with the minimum wage increase of 1.75%. This increase was far below the increase called for by the ACTU and the IEU, and below the increases granted in each of the last few years. However, in the current environment, it is a healthy enough increase, one likely to be around (or even above) the inflation rate over the coming year.
Teacher rates on the award will range from $50,590.71 per annum (or $969.79 per week) on Level 1, to $66, 218.05 ($1269.36 per week) on Level 12. For casual teachers, the hourly rates will range from $48.46 to $63.43, with the Level 7 rate (closer to what most teachers should be getting) at $55.75. For General Staff, the rates now start at $41,086.47 on Level 1.1 rising to $70,106.78 for Level 7.2. Most administrative staff in private colleges would normally be Levels 3 or 4, with an annual salary around the $50,000 per annum mark.
Some colleges operate an enterprise agreement, which is a stand-alone document regulating pay and conditions at that workplace only. EAs typically provide for superior outcomes for staff. The Fair Work Act includes provisions for ‘good faith bargaining’, under which employees can compel their employer to commence bargaining for an EA. To find out how that might work at your college, contact the IEU.
Casuals and leave
In 2018, the Federal Court held in Workpac Pty Ltd v Skene that, in certain circumstances, long-term casual employees could claim paid leave, notwithstanding the previous understanding that casual loading compensated for this. In an attempt to get around this decision, Workpac attempted an alternate case to overturn it, but unfortunately for them, in Workpac Pty Ltd v Rossato , the Federal Court upheld the decision in Skene. Workpac have sought leave to appeal this case to the High Court, but for now, the case law is clear that some casual employees are entitled to paid leave.
The implications for the post secondary college sector or obvious. ELICOS, Business and VET colleges routinely use casual workers across their operations, many of whom work in a regular and systematic fashion for years. These casuals are not being called in for relief or for short-term courses, but rather are being used in lieu of regular, ongoing employees, and so, on the face of it, could well come under the principles laid out in Skene and Rossato.
The IEU is currently examining the implications for how this might be applied in the post-secondary sector, but if you feel that you have a case, don’t hesitate to contact your union.