Schools Principal class: Achieving proper recognition

  • By Felix Patton
  • This article was published more than 9 months ago.
  • 1 Oct 2023

Time in lieu or payment for overtime, once unheard of within our education community, is here and it is here to stay. No longer can our schools run off the goodwill of their staff. While these statements might be confronting, it is worth remembering that any change to “the way we have always done things” can be good.

In November 2022, the ABC reported that: “According to the latest research by The Australia Institute, that alone would net workers an extra $93 billion a year, or about $8,000 for the average worker. 

“That’s because the typical worker is doing 4.3 hours of work a week beyond what they’re paid for. It’s worse for full-time employees, who donate almost a full hour a day, or more than six weeks a year, to their employers. In all, Australian workers are estimated to gift 2.5 billion unpaid hours to their employer.”

This is no different to what has been happening in Victorian schools until now. The latest VGSA, and the AEU’s subsequent win at Fair Work to see funding for TIL for school camps, ensures that our staff will be remunerated for school activities outside normal hours.

It is pleasing to note that our principals have got behind this change to staff working conditions, while acknowledging that this change has caused some complexities to workloads in administering TIL. As your Principal Class Organiser, I thank you for the work you are doing in this space and will continue to support you through the change to our work practices.

As principals, you do a wonderful job to support your staff and each other, and that is why I welcome any feedback on this change so that the AEU can continue to prosecute further improvements toward the next log of claims.

As outlined by former PCA organiser Tim Delany in Term 1, the next and logical progression of time in lieu is to apply it to the principal class so that your efforts are properly and professionally recognised. Why should a principal in a small rural school, or an AP who is teaching most of the time but still carries the same responsibilities as their colleague in a much larger environment, not gain access to such recognition?

Finally, as your newly appointed Principal Class Organiser, I look forward to meeting you out in the regions to have those important face-to-face discussions. I will be reminding members that I will work with you and for you to progress collective issues that make you and our union stronger.

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