Education support roles within our public schools are many and varied, which has meant that adapting these roles for flexible and remote learning has been challenging to document and communicate. The way our ES members have adapted to these challenges is a testament to their professionalism and to our union.
From the start of this crisis, the AEU has been advocating to ensure that ES staff continue to be paid and are not required to take leave. We have worked to ensure ES staff can undertake their work from home and have the necessary devices and equipment to do so; that the only ES staff on-site were those deemed necessary and who had volunteered to be there; and that casual ES members employed by school councils were in receipt of some salary.
We have held webinars for ES members to help them ensure that the work they are being asked to undertake fits within their usual working hours and the relevant dimensions of their work. We have made sure that ES members are included in the working from home allowance for which the AEU sucessfully advocated. ES members have been granted a $100 upfront payment and a subsequent $20 per week (pro rata) to assist in costs associated with working from home.
The reimbursement clause in the VGSA 2017 also continues to apply. The AEU was involved in the development of guidelines for ES staff and school leaders around how best to assist ES employees working from home. We have also ensured that ES employees and their working conditions are considered in all guidance notes and policies issued by DET.
We are already in discussions with DET around the process for returning to on-site learning for students and staff, when the time comes. In all of these discussions, we ensure that ES members are considered in any plans for a transition back to on-site learning.
We know that our schools cannot operate without the commitment and professionalism of our ES members and that has been especially evident during this time of flexible and remote learning. Thank you for all you have done thus far, and please contact the AEU on 1800 238 842 if you require any further support or advice.