COVID-19 - Updates, information and links

Updates and Information

Stand Downs: Letter to Catholic Director

8 April 2020

This last week of term is seeing a flurry of stand down activity in our schools.

This is primarily impacting non-teaching staff with student-facing roles although TRTs will not be getting any calls and will have difficulty demonstrating “stood–down” status for social security. Some teaching roles are also being impacted. Larger schools are talking about scores of affected staff. For member general information, we have been receiving some shocking stories from Catholic schools. Essentially they are often cutting too early, too deep and too brutally.

If you are approached about stand down, contact the IEU at the earliest opportunity. There are processes that need to be followed out of natural justice and civility if nothing else. Email any documents to and an organiser will respond as soon as they are able.

Don’t forget that if you are vulnerable worker you can still claim that status and we can assist you to run the argument that no accrued leave entitlements should be deducted.

Click here to read my latest communication to the Catholic Director – it is of general application to all school settings. The position outlined is the IEU position with respect to all schools.

Glen Seidel, Secretary

Advocacy at the federal level

8 April 2020

The IEU federally has been lobbying the federal government intensely on members’ behalf. The latest approach to extend the JobKeeper arrangements to schools or provide some other support to financially support staff has not met with a positive response. Click here to read our latest communication in reply.

IEU rebuttal of Catholic employer stand
on vulnerable workers.

Email – 01 April 2020

It appears the central catholic employer’s ‘line’ is that schools are safe, so vulnerable workers have no valid concerns for their safety. Read the legal rebuttal of that position by the IEU here

Vulnerable workers are not sick and don’t want to become sick because they will get very sick (or household members will). The WHS requires a risk assessment and consultation and allows a dispute settling process. None of that has happened. Read the full email here

IEUA lobbies on behalf of ESOs and TRTs

Letter – 31 March 2020

ESOs and TRTs will be the first to miss out on work as schools scale back. The IEUA has called upon federal minister Dan Tehan to hold urgent discussions to protect these employees. Read the full letter here.

IEU FAQs for Teachers

This FAQ document is intended to address the professional concerns teachers may face if they are required to work remotely. Support staff who are directed to continue interacting with students in an online environment will also find this document useful.



Is the risk of catching COVID-19 at work concerning you?

If you are a vulnerable worker eg older, pregnant, health/immunity compromised, in a household with or caring for a vulnerable person etc then work is not the place for you.

The WHS Act makes provision for workers to stay home and seek alternative duties without deduction from any accrued entitlements.

There are two aspects to this. Being safe and how people are paid. Staying safe is the urgent issue. The pay can be sorted later if necessary.

The attached form will alert your employer to your claim for a safe workplace.

23 March 2020, 1pm

IEU calls time on Term 1

Students should not attend for rest of the term – Risks to employees unacceptable.

It has become obvious that schools are being held to a more “convenient” set of standards than the general population.

This puts in jeopardy the health and welfare of members working in schools particularly those with compromised health, caring responsibilities, older staff and the pregnant.

Those people should be able to stay home (with or without work) indefinitely without loss of pay.

As social distancing and student hygiene cannot be guaranteed, students should not attend with immediate effect.

Staff would still present to the work place, or work remotely to prepare for online presentation of student learning. It may be that it takes some time to set up alternative modes and that no teaching is done for the rest of term one. However schools should not be working in both face-to-face and online modes. One or the other .. or neither!

The IEU will be seeking urgent meetings with employers to work on the details.

There is no reason why school employers should retreat to the bare bones industrial minima when their funding is not vulnerable to adopting a different mode of delivery.

Every day that schools stay open to students represents an unacceptable risk to the health of employees, students and their families.

Let’s finish the students up now and see what the health advice is for the start of term 2.


Live Facebook feed & Helpful Links

Helpful Links



For information about COVID-19, including the number of cases and geographical locations, and health advice see:


Common member concerns

The phones have been busy fielding a vast range of questions.

  • If the school closes will I be paid?
  • What happens to TRTs when a school closes?
  • If we can’t keep social distances in schools, should all schools close?
  • Can I be expected to prepare both online and face to face lessons for students who absent themselves?
  • If we teach online does it follow the normal time table?
  • Should we cancel staff meetings, assemblies and parent teacher interviews?
  • Can I cancel my long service leave which was to involve travel?
  • Can I refuse to work if I feel unsafe?
  • Can they make me use my sick leave?
  • What are my rights if I am medically compromised?
  • Can they send me home without pay if I am not sick?
  • Can they ask me where I am travelling?

Because of the range of EA rights, employer positions and circumstances we cannot provide individual advice without fully unpacking the particulars.

Our office number – 8410 0122 – returns to normal hours of operation during holidays and closed on public holidays:

  • Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: 8.30am to 5.00pm. (Closed Good Friday and Easter Monday)
  • Wednesdays – 10.00am to 5.00pm (Staff meeting till 10am).