Queensland members in Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association (PMSA) schools have voted up a new collective agreement which contains a new salary benchmark for school officers as well as significant wins on working conditions for all staff members.
The agreement was balloted in the last few school days of 2020 and is now awaiting approval by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
New salary benchmark for school officers
A new benchmark salary has been set for school officers thanks to the collective efforts of Queensland PMSA members.
IEU Industrial Co-ordinator Chris Seymour said the level 7 school officer classification will pay a benchmark salary of $99,157.
“This reflects the increasingly complex roles and capabilities of school officers,” Chris said.
“The employers have also agreed to a School Officer Joint Working Party in Semester 2 2021 to review the appropriateness of the skill descriptors and classification structures applicable to school officers in PMSA schools.”
Wage wins for all staff
All employees will receive a 2.5% wage increase per year over the life of the agreement and, in addition, most employees will receive a $500 one-off payment in return for a four-year agreement thus maintaining the wage premium PMSA employees enjoy over many other Queensland non-government education sector employers.
In addition to an enhanced middle leader structure, PMSA schools will begin a phased transition to the nationally accredited Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) classifications with significant salary enhancements.
Workload provisions updated and clarified
Workload was a significant concern identified by most members during our union’s consultation whilst developing the employee-endorsed log of claims.
Members sought provisions to alleviate the increasing expectations modern schooling seeks to impose on teachers and the need to ameliorate unreasonable workload pressures.
Chris said the new agreement firstly increases the minimum preparation and correction time for primary school teachers, provides protections against ever increasing workloads and provides increased time release for middle leaders.
“There is a new clause explicitly outlining the consultation and considerations of resourcing needed for new initiatives such as any changes to curriculum, assessment and reporting.
“Principals will have the opportunities to implement a new provision for increased hours and responsibilities for school officers. The purpose of this provision is to ensure teachers can focus more on classroom teaching rather than administrative tasks.
“The professional development (PD) provisions have been updated to recognise the increasing prevalence of teachers undertaking higher degree studies and the entitlement now includes two days of employee-directed PD which could be used for personal study leave during term time.”
“Amongst many other benefits, employees now have clearer guidelines of what extra-curricular activities are voluntary and honorary and will have greater consultation and guaranteed compensation attached to employer-directed mentoring,” Chris said.
The employers have also committed to providing a minimum 10 days paid domestic violence leave to be accessed automatically rather than at a principal’s discretion.
Additional tenure for middle leaders gives greater job security in this critical role.
#IEUnionStrong makes the difference
“IEU members in the PMSA sector are commended for their collective win in this agreement, particularly off the back of a tough year.
“These are only a few of the wins included in the new agreement – a full outline was sent to members late last year and members can always ask their IEU Chapter Representative or Organiser if they would like further information.
“Members should continue to keep active and involved in our union and their IEU Chapters to ensure the benefits in the new agreement are fully implemented and members can benefit from their wins.”