Employer attempts to restrict continuing positions
The Toowoomba Catholic schools employer recently invited a limited group of fixed-term employees to apply for continuing employment status.
The invitation attempted to limit applications for continuing status only to teachers who had been employed on a fixed-term basis for three consecutive years.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said there is no industrial provision which would enable the employer to restrict continuing status on this basis.
“The simple fact is that all teachers should be on a continuing engagement unless the employer can justify a fixed-term appointment to fill ‘an identifiable short term need’.
Mr Burke said fixed-term appointments also cannot be used as a probationary period.
“In our experience, many employers are taking advantage of fixed-term contracts and denying staff secure employment through what should clearly be continuing positions.”
In light of the employer’s actions, our union has advised any member currently employed on a fixed-term contract to ask their employer to:
(a) Justify the fixed term appointment with reference to the specific short-term need; or
(b) Make an appointment to continuing status.
Mr Burke said the employer was required to identify the short-term need for which they offer every fixed-term contract.
“Employees are specifically authorised under their collective agreement to apply for continuing status if they believe their appointment is not based on a short term need.”
Our union is providing support to members aggrieved by the employer’s response regarding requests for continuing status.
Mr Burke said insecure employment through fixed-term and casual work had grown in recent years, now accounting for 40% of the workforce.
“Due to Australia’s broken industrial rules, many employees are denied secure employment and the stability this provides both at work and at home.
“We need to change the rules to ensure that more jobs are continuing positions and all workers have access to secure jobs, should they wish to be employed on this basis.”
If you have concerns about your employment status or believe you should be employed on a continuing basis, contact our union for advice – email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1800 177 938