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Catholic EA Update – 31 August 2021

Catholic EA negotiations are progressing and we are deep into drafting the wording of agreed issues after 19 face-to-face meetings over 12 months.

Many items are provisionally resolved—however, nothing is locked in—and amongst these are (in no particular order):

Two major outstanding issues remain

So where to now?

We are negotiating using an ‘Interest Based’ approach this time. We started these negotiations 12 months ago with a training session run by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), with the invitation to the parties to seek help of the FWC when we think we have reached an impasse. On the outstanding issues we are getting close to that point.

Salary increase of 2.35% pa

Matching Department for Education (DfE) 2.35%  is a reasonable outcome for the 2021 and 2022 outcomes when employers in the independent sector are generally talking sub 2%.

There is no indication of what DfE outcomes will be beyond that.

ESOs and teachers are getting the same increases.

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Reduction in Student Contact Time by 40 hours per year (application will be left up to the individual school) averaged over the school year.

The employer has offered to reduce Student Contact Time (SCT) by 40 hours per year.

Maximum SCT per week remains the same at 22.5 hours in secondary and 24 hours in Primary, but the average over the 39.5 or 40-week year will come down by 1 hour per week.

In Technical Colleges (eg. Cardijn and St Patrick’s Technical), the average comes down to 21.5 hours per week of SCT.

This reduction in SCT is available to the school to use as School Directed Non-Contact Time (SDNCT), which could be used for any purpose from pupil-free days or report writing, to extra Professional Development (PD) or meetings in Timetabled Time.

Best practice would be to set the calendar in the preceding year with the times/days/week locked in and not wait until the start of the school year or each term as it rolls around.

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Reduction in Relief Lessons for both Secondary and Primary

The employer has tabled a reduction in relief lessons:

  • Secondary from 20 hours per year to 16 hours per year
  • Primary from 15 hours per year to 10 hours per year

The compromise here is that teachers may be used to fulfil known absences up to the new maxima.

G.2.3       Relief Lessons (as the clause currently stands)

G.2.3.1          Teachers may be required to undertake Relief Lessons in Non Contact Time but subject to the following conditions:

  • Where the absence of a Teacher is likely to be prolonged, other Teachers will not normally be required to undertake the duties of the absent Teacher.
  • Where a Teacher is absent due to attendance at employer-instigated activities such as conferences and school camps, the remaining Teachers will not be required to undertake the duties of the absent Teacher if this would involve them exceeding the normal teaching load at the School.

G.2.3.2          The total amount of Relief Lessons shall not exceed

  • 20 hours per year for secondary Teachers
  • 15 hours per year for primary school Teachers
  • For middle and special Schools the number of hours will be averaged.

G.2.3.3          A secondary Teacher shall not be required to undertake more than 6 hours of Relief Lessons in any one school term.  A primary Teacher shall not be required to undertake more than 4.5 hours of Relief Lessons in any one school term.

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Reduction in Curriculum Extension Activity hours

The amount of Curriculum Extension Activity (CEA) hours will change in:

  • Category 3 schools from a total of 80 to 70 hours
  • Category 2 schools from a total of 60 to 50 hours
  • Primary no change – 5 hours per year
  • Payment increased to $28.50 per hour after Tier 1 time used up – set at this rate for the life of the agreement.
  • Camp payments increase in line with wage increases.

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Reduction in Other Professional Activities

A reduction in Other Professional Activities (OPA) from 4.5 hours per week to 4 hours per week averaged over the year, with the ability to increase OPA if there is a reduction in SCT.

So, if you are under-loaded, you could be expected to take more yard duties – as an example.

As the averaging occurs over the year, it will be prudent to have all the OPA locked in at the start of the year, as changes each semester will affect the averaging. As it currently stands in Secondary Schools, this is averaged over a semester. Averaging over a year will be more difficult to keep track of.

G.4.2   Other Professional Activities comprise:

G.4.2.1     Supervision duties

  • supervision of students – other than that undertaken with the Teacher’s allotted class/group in Timetabled Time.

G.4.2.2     Meetings and briefings required or approved by the employer such as:

  • employee/faculty/team/subject/curriculum/campus, etc meetings
  • representational responsibilities such as OHandS Committee, Consultative Committee, School Board (including union representation on such bodies)
  • parent information evenings/afternoons
  • scheduled parent teacher meetings but excluding informal one-on-one meetings
  • planning meetings
  • other activities of a similar nature as directed.

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Significant overhaul of the Teacher Performance Management Process

The employer wishes to remove all time frames when it comes to Teacher Performance Improvement, preferring to apply a ‘reasonable’ timeframe with counselling and assistance to improve. Currently it stands at two terms with counseling to improve.

This, although at first blush seems drastic, may be beneficial and expedient. Many problems that arise are usually resolved in a ‘reasonable ‘time and can be put to rest quickly. Other issues could take longer to resolve and still be ‘reasonable’.

‘Reasonable’ will still have to pass the Procedurally Fair Test.

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Significant overhaul of the Teacher Classification structure

Previous scale Revised scale Notes
Step 1 N/A This classification step is no longer applicable
Step 2 N/A This classification step is no longer applicable
Step 3 Graduate Teacher 1 (GT1) Graduate teachers with not less than a 4-year undergraduate qualification(1) and full or provisional registration from the TRB commence on this step and then progress incrementally to GT2 and GT3
Step 4 Graduate Teacher 2 (GT2) Graduate teachers with not less than a 5-year undergraduate and post-graduate qualification(1) and full or provisional registration from the TRB SA commence on this step and then progress incrementally to GT3
Step 5 Graduate Teacher 3 (GT3) Next incremental step.

n.b. Graduate teachers remain on this step until granted full registration by the TRB SA

Step 6 Proficient Teacher 1 (PT1) To progress to this classification, teachers must first be awarded full registration by the TRB(2)
Step 7 Proficient Teacher 2 (PT2) Next incremental step
Step 8 Proficient Teacher 3 (PT 3) Next incremental step
Step 9 Proficient Teacher 4 (PT4) Next incremental step
Step 10 Proficient Teacher 5 (PT5) Next incremental step
Advanced Skill Teacher (AST) Advanced Skill Teacher (AST) This classification is closed to new applicants
Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) Teachers certified as such by the SA Teacher Certification Committee
Lead Teacher (LT) Lead Teacher (LT) Teachers certified as such by the SA Teacher Certification Committee


New teachers to the Catholic System, if coming in at the new PT1 level, will need to have or get full Teacher Registration within 200 teaching days or drop back to GT3 until full registration is achieved.

Don’t let your registration lapse. You will be stood down until you have your registration and Working With Children Check up-to-date.

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Increase in allowances for HAT but removal of AST after 2024

AST allowance capped at $2,233 per annum.

From 1 January 2025, this allowance shall no longer apply…. goodbye AST.

For HAT and Lead Teacher with a Position of Responsibility (POR):

  • POR 1 receive 100% of HAT or LT allowance
  • POR 2 receive 75% of HAT or LT allowance
  • POR 3 receive 50% of HAT or LT allowance
  • POR 4 receive 25% of HAT or LT allowance

Highly Accomplished Teacher Allowance: $7,000
Lead Teacher Allowance: $12,000

A shake up of POR points

Most of this stays the same except that:

  • A teacher may simultaneously be appointed to more than one Position of Responsibility at POR Level 1 and/or Level 2 only.


  • A Teacher may be appointed to a Position of Responsibility on a replacement basis in which case, a Teacher may be appointed to a Position of Responsibility for the remainder of the tenure or until the incumbent returns; whichever occurs first.


  • If a Teacher is negligent, inefficient, incompetent or unsatisfactory in the discharge of their duties associated with the Position of Responsibility then the school shall advise the teacher of the deficiencies in writing. After a subsequent period of not less than 4 weeks’ counselling, support and assistance for holders of a Position of Responsibility 1 or 2; or 10 weeks’ counselling, support and assistance for holders of a Position of Responsibility 3 or 4, the school may terminate the Teacher’s tenure in that Position of Responsibility on the provision of 6 weeks’ notice

Allowances as above if you hold HAT and LT or AST credentials.

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Part-time teachers limited requirement to attend Parent Teacher interviews

Part-time teachers can be required to attend Parent Teacher interviews on two days per year that they do not work.

There will be at least 10 weeks’ notice. Teachers will need to argue their case if they cannot attend and discuss with the school possible alternatives. Reasonable consideration of each teacher’s situation must be given. The principal could be open to eMeeting using phone/Teams/ ZOOM. This is already occurring in some schools and teachers have successfully negotiated contacting parents via alternative means with the approval of the school with great success.

Parents may actually prefer to stay at home and interview remotely—rather than drag themselves and their children out at difficult times of an evening, through inclement weather, struggling for a car park—just so a teacher can explain their child’s educational progress in around 10 minutes. And, hopefully no one is running late!

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Requirement for teaching staff to be ‘on site’ 10 minutes before and after their duty commences

Teacher may be required to be ‘on site’ 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after their Student Contact Time or OPA commences/finishes. For part-time staff where they start later in the day, this will require them to be on site 10 minutes prior to any commitments such as yard duty or meetings that may occur before their SCT — for example, a teacher starting at recess time for duty will need to be on site 10 minutes before the duty.

On site does not necessarily mean at your workstation working.

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5 days paid Family and Domestic Violence leave

This is self-explanatory.

5 days leave is required under the National Employment Standards, but an additional 5 will be paid under this EA.

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Education Support Officer casual loading raised to 25% over 3 years

The IEU claim was to increase the loading for Casual Education Support Officer (ESO) staff to 25% from 20% now.

The employer claims that this would be costly and has agreed to increase it to 25% through 1% + 2% +2% over consecutive years.

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Employers wish to remove requirement to regularly review ESO Position Information Descriptions


Employers and ESOs will have the opportunity to review Position Information Descriptions (PIDs) on an as-needs-basis, removing the current requirement to have this done on the anniversary of appointment and biannually thereafter. As work develops and changes over time, it is good practice to review the PID so that the ESO is not attending to tasks and responsibilities that the employer did not want the ESO to do. Of course, if it is found that the extra or higher duties are required; this may lead to a reclassification. Leaving this process unreviewed for years may mean that the ESO is working under-classified, which makes reclassification more complex.

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Employers want to be able to employ any ESOs as casual for 12 months instead of the current 3 months. ESOs would then be able to be dismissed with 1 days’ notice.

The IEU can see no reason to unilaterally engage all types of ESOs on a casual basis for 12 months. It does make good practice to do so for some ESOs, such as those in OSHC or where students may have specific NDIS funding, as the job may not continue after the 12 months. Our position is to specify the ESOs that need to be carved out into this arrangement and employ other ESOs as Ongoing, Replacement or Temporary—which is already clearly defined in the Enterprise Agreement.

This arrangement provides no continuity for either the staff member or the employer, if, as a casual, one can be dropped with no notice or equally decline to work with no notice.

Precarious employment is a national problem which is being addressed currently by an ACTU campaign. The employer is risking significant reputational damage if they proceed with this claim in the current climate.

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Employers want ESOs taking Time Off In Lieu for overtime to take it hour-for-hour rather than at penalty rates.

Currently, if an ESO has accrued Time Off In Lieu (TOIL), they can choose to take it as time and that is at the same value as if they were to take money (eg time and a half).

The employer is insisting that the time taken should be at hour-for-hour. Put simply, the ESO would be losing a significant amount of value by choosing to take the time over the money. The employer is legally required to paying the money at time and a half. We offered a compromise of hour-for-hour and the difference in money but this has been refused by the employer.

It simply pushes ESOs with accrued overtime to seek real value, and that may be taking the money.

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Paid Primary Carer Leave and conditions placed on Parental Leave


The employers are resisting providing Paid Parenting Leave to whichever partner is the primary carer. After initial agreement, they pulled back with concerns that ‘blokes’ would somehow rort the system!

The employers also want for a staff member on Parental Leave, Extended Parental Leave, Child Rearing Leave or Unpaid Carers Leave to be able to take part-time work only in their own school, or another Catholic school, without affecting their substantial position.

This is likely to be difficult in country schools where there may be only one Catholic school in the region. Wording around this will require flexibility.

Staff on parental leave would also be required to attend or take part in professional development once every two years. This remains to be fully developed, as some staff may not be in the state let alone the country, and compelling compulsory attendance whilst on approved leave could be problematic.

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