Schools Your employment ‘intentions and preferences’ for the upcoming year

  • By Carlos Castro
  • This article was published more than 7 months ago.
  • 24 Oct 2023

It is that time of the year when many members are being asked for their staffing intentions for the upcoming year. The most common question we receive at this time is: ‘When do I have to provide my preferences by?’

In schools, it is not unusual for staff to be asked to sumbit their requests by 1 October – to coincide with the notice requirement for staff who are absent on parental leave. This is a practical date for planning purposes, but it is important to know that requests for part-time employment, particularly those made on the basis of caring responsibilities or personal injury or illness (including non-work related), can be made at any time of the year.

Flexible work

Many things can happen in life that mean that your circumstances change between 1 October and 29 January. The important thing to know is that if you have a request for a ‘flexible work arrangement’ you should give as much notice as possible, and submit supporting documentation where relevant.

Keep in mind, the Fair Work Act 2009 provides that an employer must respond with 21 days – consequentially, the more notice you can provide, the better, if you want the decision to be effective as quickly as practicable.

Currently working part time

If you are already working part time and have requested a change to your days, there is an important consideration for you to make with respect to your proposal for the upcoming year. Primarily, if your time fraction is not changing and you are simply requesting to (or have been asked to) change your days of attendance, consider requesting that the change of days is effective from the second week of term and/or request to work Monday 29 January.

This can be more complicated in some years than others, e.g. when Australia Day falls on a Sunday and the subsequent Monday is treated as a public holiday. The main reason to request that a change be effective from week two is to be certain that you will be paid for your entire time fraction.

Sometimes, these adjustments mean that your working days can differ within a pay cycle. It is a good idea to confirm with the business manager that your pay will not be less in the first pay of Term 1 if you are changing your days of attendance.

A second reason why you might want to request to work on Mondays is to be able to attend and be paid for curriculum days. Alternatively, some principals find it easier to simply increase a time fraction within a particular fortnight if they would like an employee who does not ordinarily work on Mondays to attend the curriculum day.

If you need assistance or advice, contact the Member Support Centre. We are here to help!

The AEU has a comprehensive range of advice sheets covering common industrial and professional issues in every sector.

Visit to search for information on all manner of issues from parental leave to capability assessments to WorkCover and much more.

For all other work-related enquiries, contact our Member Support Centre on 1800 238 842 or [email protected], 8.30am–5pm, Monday–Friday.

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