Fast find – Help: JobKeeper Form – Should you sign? • IEU(SA) Joining Amnesty • Catholic School Stand Down Survey • Working Remotely Guide • Vulnerable Workers’ Form • Common Member Concerns • Useful Links and Resources
Fast find – News, Action & Updates: COVID-19 Is Not Gender Neutral • IEU Position Statement (Video) • Message of support to IEU Members (Video) • IEU(SA) on Air – Return to School – Term 2 (Audio) • IEU(SA) evidence to Parliament SA Legislative Committee • Should all Students return to Schools ASAP? • Letters of Dispute – Catholics • IEUA Letter to PM • IEU Speaks on Respect for School Staff • IEU(SA) On Air – Catholic Stand Downs – Too early, Too deep, Too brutal (Audio) • Stand downs – Letter to Catholic Director • Advocacy at the federal level • IEU Rebuttal of Catholic stance on vulnerable workers • IEUA lobbies for ESOs and TRTs • IEU Calls time on Term 1
COVID-19 - Updates, information and links
Updates and Information
COVID-19 Is Not Gender Neutral
The COVID 19 pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems. The year 2020 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and was intended to be ground breaking for gender equality. Instead, the spread of COVID -19 pandemic has placed at risk the limited gender equity gains that had been made in the past decades. Pandemics and their resulting economic shocks affect men and women differently. Emerging evidence on the impact of COVID 19 suggests that women’s economic and productive lives are affected disproportionately and differently from men. Read more here.
JobKeeper employee forms:
To sign or not to sign?
Many members in Catholic schools have been supplied with, and asked to sign, a JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice as matter of urgency. This only applies to Catholic schools which have been deemed to be eligible for the JobKeeper Scheme.Broadly speaking, it is in the members’ and schools’ interests for members to sign the JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice in Catholic schools. Read more on this advice here.
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23 April 2020. IEU(SA) Secretary, Glen Seidel, was called as a witness to the Legislative Council, COVID-19 Response Committee at Old Parliament House, South Australia. Read the questions here:
and the evidence here:
22 April 2020
Whilst there is push for parents to keep students home in the short term, the Union’s proposals are aimed at governments and employers to make schools safe first.
As long as there is different advice about safety approaches in society and in schools we don’t accept that schools are inherently safe.
PM Morrison made the point that the staff room is more dangerous than the classroom … this means staff are at a particular risk by attending the worksite.
Employers and governments need to
- ensure safe distancing, sanitisation etc according to the same standards being mandated for the general community
- Ensure vulnerable workers have paid leave / work from home
- Actively explore alternate duties for staff identified for stand down. All stand downs need to be rescinded until that is done.
- Provide financial support to staff who could otherwise be stood down without pay
There must be only 1 mode of learning at any point in time – Online or F2F but not both.
At first it will likely be online even for students on site.
As students inevitably return, at some “tick-over point” it should be F2F only.
If students return gradually then there is an argument for Yr12 to return sooner as their completion date is sooner.
Boarding houses should be subject to specific health advice to either open or to close, but modified learning arrangements or lodging arrangements may be needed for Yr 12 students if Boarding Houses must close.
As schools will generally be ineligible for the Job-Keeper subsidy (having not lost 30% of income), it is important that continuity of employment (even if in a modified form) be a top priority.
Glen Seidel, Secretary.
Letters of dispute to Director of Catholic Education
On 16 April 2020, IEU(SA) Secretary, Glen Seidel, emailed two letters of dispute from the IEU(SA) to Dr Neil McGoran, Director of Catholic Education South Australia:
- Employer enterprise agreement contraventions – click to download
- Notification of industrial dispute about the legitimacy of stand-downs – click to download
IEUA Federal Secretary’s letter to the Prime Minister
16 April 2020
“We restate the willingness and resolve of all teachers and support staff working in schools to be part of the response and solution to this crisis. All we are asking is to be afforded the professional respect and courtesy to be involved in the decision making processes to ensure successful outcomes.” Read the letter here – https://ieusa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/200416-IEUA-Letter-to-the-Prime-Minister.pdf.
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Respect for School Staff
16 April 2020
The IEUA Federal Executive has today urged school employers and governments to act with concern for and commitment to the health and safety of everyone in our school communities. Our members have responded magnificently to the need to ensure schools cater for the children of those workers who have nowhere else to be cared for during the day and for those children at risk in our community. Continue reading here – https://ieusa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/200416-IEUA-Speaks-Respect-for-School-Staff.pdf
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In this time of COVID-19, many education staff have issues not necessarily of their own making.
We understand that. For a limited time, we offer an amnesty on our ‘no issue’ pre-requisite for joining the union on COVID-19 related matters.
JOIN TODAY – RE COVID-19
Select ‘Issue’ under reason for joining and quote ‘COVID-19’ in the ‘Additional information’ box.
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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 email@example.com 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
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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.
Live Facebook feed & Helpful Links
IEU(SA) Position Statement – What do we want?
What does the Independent Education Union (SA) Branch want for its members during return to schools for COVID-19? Our position statement is very clear…
Message of support to IEU Members
Return to School – Term 2… A dog’s breakfast for teacher and student safety… ABC Radio – Mornings, 24 April 2020
Listen (via the links below) as IEU(SA) Secretary Glen Seidel talks to ABC’s David Bevan about the potential ‘dog’s breakfast’ when students return to school for Term 2. Carolyn Grantskalns, Chief Executive of AISSA disputes the claim and The Hon Tammy Franks MLC, and Chair of the ‘SA COVID-19 Response Select Committee for the Parliament of South Australia’, strongly defends the rights of teachers and education staff to return to a safe work place.
Listen to Glen Seidel:
Listen to Carolyn Grantskalns:
Listen to Tammy Franks:
Catholic Stand Downs
– Too early, Too deep, Too brutal
ABC Radio – Breakfast, 9 April 2020
Listen (via the link above) to IEU(SA) Secretary Glen Seidel criticise Staff Stand Downs in Catholic Schools. Bruno Vieceli, Assistant Director Catholic Education SA discusses CESA’s perspective.
Stand downs at work – IEU(SA) SURVEY
USEFUL RESOURCES REGARDING COVID-19
For information about COVID-19, including the number of cases and geographical locations, and health advice see:
- Australian Government Department of Health – updated with the latest medical advice and official reports
- SA Health – useful links and information
- Home Affairs – Isolation Guidance – Downloadable PDF
- Read the latest updates from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee
- World Health Organisation (WHO) – updated with information and guidance about the outbreak worldwide.
LINKS TO ADVICE/ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM EDUCATION ORGANISATIONS
- EREA advice to schools 12 March 2020
- IEU email to Sector representatives 13 March 2020
- Lutheran response – part 1 & 2 – 16 March 2020
- Catholic response 17 March 2020
- AIS response 18 March 2020
- Christian Schools Australia Position 17 March 2020
- IEU email to Minister Tehan re JobKeeper 31 March 2020
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).
IEU FAQs for Teachers
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.
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.
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.