It’s time: term time school officers deserve wage justice
Term time school officers deserve wage justice with four weeks paid annual leave in line with a community standard.
Four weeks paid annual leave is a community norm and Catholic employing authorities are engaged in an unseemly attempt to deny term time school officers that norm.
Employers search for excuses
A provision of four weeks paid annual leave for term time school officers is in place in New South Wales, Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian Catholic schools. Instead of agreeing to implement a similar provision, Queensland Catholic school employers have been desperately searching for an argument against its implementation.
At the most recent single bargaining unit (SBU) meetings, employer representatives advised that they wanted to “research” the issue because they believed Queensland was “different”. The employers seem more intent on making excuses to avoid providing this wage justice to term time school officers.
Term time employees are limited, by the nature of their employment, to employment in term weeks only. Continuing to deny these employees provision of four weeks paid annual leave only exacerbates their structurally low annual income.
Securing provision would provide significant benefit
For a school officer at Level 3 Step 1 employed 10 hours a week, receiving four weeks paid annual leave would mean an extra $271.72 per year (including leave loading) in addition to their weekly gross wage of $250.53. For school officers employed 20 hours a week, the additional sum for the year would be $543.45 (including leave loading) on top of their weekly gross wage of $501.10.
The sums are small and implementing this provision would provide a significant benefit for term time school officers, recognising wage justice and their contribution to the school community and the quality of education provided to students.
Securing this provision for term time school officers is an essential element of the employee wage claim currently under consideration by Chapters. Chapters have been asked to hold a further meeting in support of their term time school officer colleagues and to adopt a resolution calling on Queensland Catholic school employers to provide wage justice to these employees.