Aspect members want clarity

Support members employed by Aspect (Autism Spectrum Australia) in a number of locations have been in discussion with the Union to revisit understandings established more than a decade ago.

The core concern is the allowance payable to support staff when teachers are sick or absent and support staff ‘act up’. The practice hinges on Clause 7.2 (a) (iii) and (iv) of the Independent Schools (Support and Operational Staff) Multi-Enterprise Agreement which provides for the supervision of small groups of students.

The Union’s view is that a protocol which would provide for teachers to be replaced with teachers is the ideal outcome with alternate processes clearly defined. Support staff should only ‘act up’ in certain circumstances. To facilitate the availability of casual teachers the IEU is suggesting roving or mobile casuals be employed and that Aspect consider providing half day induction sessions for those casuals who may be considering working with Aspect schools.

For support staff not to be paid an additional allowance when appropriate casual teachers cannot be found is unacceptable.

The Union will be seeking the allowance for support staff to be incorporated into the next enterprise agreement in the salary scales.

Employer response to Shaddock Report – a clash of expectations

Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) employed in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn have been advised that as a result of the adoption of the recommendations of the Shaddock Report they will be expected to train or upskill to a Certificate IV level.

The IEU has signalled its clear view to the diocese that the time spent at training should be paid for. The report Schools for all Children and Young People is entirely laudable. The impact on members is unfortunately not.

In the first instance the Union has agreed not to dispute matters until a workforce audit is completed. The audit will hopefully provide insight into the number of members who already have Certificate III status and can upgrade; what the outcomes are for those who work less than eight hours per fortnight and what recognition of prior learning may involve.

Not withstanding the above, the key issue remains – it is unreasonable to schedule unpaid training from 4-7pm on either Wednesday or Thursday evening or on Fridays during school hours (unpaid).

The time frame conflicts with other employment opportunities (the vast majority of employees are part time), family time and the collection of children to name but a few consequences.

The adoption of a report comes with responsibilities. The completion of training (required by an employer) must be paid for.

Mark Northam
Assistant Secretary