Our answers to the most common questions reaching our Member Support team in Term 4, 2022
Q. I broke my ankle while on yard duty, also hurting my wrist and shoulder when I fell. They are OK now; my ankle is not. If I lodge a WorkCover claim, should I include all these injuries, even if some feel better now?
A. For any injuries, no matter how seemingly minor, fill out an EduSafe report and see your GP immediately. The WorkCover form appears simple but can be restrictive. Make sure you contact us for support with this process. If the claim is rejected, the MSC team will support and represent you via the conciliation process. If your claim needs further legal advice, we may refer you to Redlich’s Work Injury Lawyers as part of your AEU membership.
Q. My claim for WorkCover has been rejected and I received a letter saying I can dispute this at the Workplace Injury Commission and have a conciliation conference. What does this mean?
A. A conciliation conference is an opportunity for you to dispute the insurer’s decision to reject your claim. A professional officer from the AEU’s Member Support Centre will be appointed to your case to go through all the documentation and medical reports. We will then assist you with filling out the conciliation application form and preparing what you want to say, and will represent you on more complicated aspects of your claim. A conciliation officer from the Workplace Injury Commission will be appointed to run the conference, which will be attended by an insurance agent, you, and your AEU support person.
Q. I have heard that teachers should be doing less face-to-face teaching over the next two years. I can’t seem to find this anywhere in the VGSA 2022. Can you confirm if this is true?
A. The department has committed to reducing teachers’ maximum face-to-face teaching hours over the next two years. The maximum requirement for a secondary teacher will be 19 hours per week in 2023 and 18.5 hours per week in 2024. For primary teachers, the limits will be 21.5 hours per week in 2023 and 21 hours per week in 2024. This reduction is not contained within the VGSA 2022, but is legally enforceable through the execution of a deed. You can find more information at aeuvic.asn.au/help-advice/vgsa-all-you-need-know
Q. I’m a primary teacher on a temporary transfer to another school. What if my transfer arrangement occurs during the school year or is extended?
A. Where the release is required in the same year, the principal of the base school may refuse to release the employee if unable to replace the employee prior to release. In the event where an ongoing employee’s temporary transfer is to be extended (either by appointment to an advertised vacancy or otherwise), the principal of the school must notify the base school principal by 1 November that the transfer is to be extended. If this does not occur, the employee will return to the base school unless otherwise agreed between the two principals.
Q. I have had a particularly tough year as a school principal and I’m thinking of resigning. Do you have advice on what I should do?
A. Before you make the decision to resign, it would be a good idea to get some support and advice. In the first instance, you should speak to your doctor or call the DET Early Intervention Principal Support Service to help you manage the symptoms affecting your health and wellbeing. The Early Intervention Principal Support Service is a confidential service that is free to principal class employees and is accessed by phone at 1300 090 924 or email [email protected] from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.00pm. If you have spoken to them and still want to resign, please call the AEU Principal hotline on 1800 719 460 to seek advice.
Q. The ES rate for time in lieu outside the span of hours is 150%. The normal span of hours is 7am–6pm, but when I enter 6pm as the start time, it forces me to enter 6.01pm. Does this mean we always miss out on one minute?
A. You are correct. eduPay doesn’t allow for the span of hours to commence at 18.00; they have to start at 18.01. If education support staff members need to record the extra minute for the purposes of time in lieu, they can do so by adding an extra minute to their finish time, e.g. 7.01.
Q. Do all full-time school teachers need to be provided with 30 hours a week for teaching, planning and assessment?
A. The VGSA 2022 has significantly strengthened teacher workload provisions through changes to the 30+8 model. A teacher who is required to teach the maximum face-to-face amount per week will have 30 hours of their 38-hour attendance devoted to classroom teaching and work directly related to the learning program of their class(es), with the duties undertaken at that time to be determined by the teacher.
However, not all teachers will have 30 hours of teaching and teaching-related work. If a teacher has less than the maximum face-to-face allotment, then the amount of time they have should be provided by the formula: (actual face-to-face ÷ max face to face) x 30 hours.
Q. I took one day of personal leave last term and got a text from my business manager saying she had lodged my sick leave with HR. Is this correct procedure?
A. Generally speaking, eduPay is a self-service system to allow you to choose what leave you want to apply for, e.g. a day with or without a medical certificate or statutory declaration at half or full pay. Employees are responsible for entering their own leave. However, there may be good reasons why your business manager lodged your leave on your behalf, and we always encourage members to discuss these practices with the business manager and/or principal, or the AEU can raise this on your behalf upon request to ensure a consistent and fair approach to entering leave.
Q. As a school principal, I have completed my workforce plan for 2023. An ongoing teacher has just told me that they have been successful in picking up a contract position at another school. Do I have to release them?
A. Yes. A principal cannot unreasonably refuse a temporary transfer. However, you can negotiate the release date with the other principal. The following link has more detailed information: www2.education.vic.gov.au/pal/transfer-and-promotion-teaching-service/policy-and-guidelines.
Q. I have heard that our disability workplace agreement is currently being negotiated. How do I get up-to-date information on how this process is progressing?
A. Log into the AEU Victoria website and click ‘Your job’ on the top menu, click on ‘Disability services’ , then the red button labelled ‘Find your next meeting’- or simply click here – to find details of upcoming meeting dates and times. During negotiations, we are unable to share specific information about current discussions in writing, and so it is important to get verbal updates from the negotiators who attend these meetings and can answer members’ questions.
Q. There are negotiations underway for a new multi-enterprise agreement in the disability sector. I get six weeks of annual leave, while some of my colleagues only get four. Does this mean there is a possibility of me losing my extra two weeks of leave?
A. There is the option of ‘grandfathering’ certain clauses to allow members with better conditions carried over from previous or current agreements to maintain these entitlements. This is something the AEU is always aware of and will be factoring into any negotiations. We always aim to get the best entitlements for all members, and this will be part of the current discussions.
Q. I have successfully completed my capability assessment as an early childhood teacher. If I apply for a new job, do I have to complete it again?
A. You will not have to complete your capability assessment again. However, even though your payslips will be evidence of your hourly rate, it is highly recommended that you get documentation from your employer to show that you have successfully completed your assessment and can now progress to level 3.1. When you commence any new position, this will allow you to provide your new employer with clear evidence of your successful completion of the assessment.
Q. My early childhood service has advised me that due to enrolment changes next year, they might have to reduce my hours. Can they do this?
A. Major changes to your original offer of employment, including a reduction to your rostered hours, are possible. However, the employer must undertake a process of consultation. The employer must notify all affected employees of the changes, the impact it will have on staff, and the steps they have taken to reduce or mitigate the adverse impacts of the change. The period of consultation will allow employees to provide their response to the changes and the affect it will have on them. The employer is required to give genuine consideration to the employee’s response.
For advice on these or any other work-related matters, call our Member Support Centre on 03 9417 2822.