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Support for casual members during pandemic restrictions
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all of us, but, in many ways, it is those in precarious employment who are the most affected. This is true of our members employed as casual teachers and Federation has prioritised support for these workers through numerous representations to the Department.
While the Department has not provided casual teachers with an “employment package” as such, the Department has provided the following advice to Federation and school principals:
All schools must continue to employ casual staff to support the operations of the school, including where students are learning from home.
- All schools must also continue to maintain their temporary staff engagements.
- All schools must continue to spend the usual school budget for casual support as if no restrictions were in place.
- All schools must honor any bookings and reinstate any cancelled booking where offers of work were made.
- All schools must continue to deliver the COVID Intensive Learning Support Program as planned.
Federation understand that the Department will be monitoring schools’ use of casual bookings and cancellations with the expectation that casual bookings will remain consistent with previous years.
The union’s advice is that casual teachers should still be engaged by schools in day-to-day work as they would during normal operations. If a casual teacher had been working consistently at a certain school (or a range of schools), but is no longer employed in a similar pattern, the casual teacher should get in contact with the school’s Federation Representative and their Organiser to discus how best to raise the matter with the principal, in the first instance.
In a further act of solidarity, Federation State Executive has endorsed a membership fee exemption for casual teacher members affected by COVID-19 restrictions. The fee exemption is available upon application and will continue through to the first pay period of term 4. We have created a form to make this process easier.
Finally, as the Long Service Leave Act requires casual teachers to work continuously to preserve long service leave entitlements, Federation has sought and received confirmation of a number of temporary provisions to the Long Service Leave Act relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, clause 15A and 15C.
Clause 15C states that where an employee is stood down without pay by an employer as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic then despite the break, the period will be considered as continuous service for the purpose of accruing long service leave.
The Department has confirmed that they will apply the provisions, where applicable, when considering a casual teacher’s service record.
The advice provided in this article is general, for further information please contact Federation’s Professional Support section on 1300 654 369.
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