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End of year school moves for staff – be wary of your obligations

At this time of year many members contact us about moving schools. With demand for employees being so high many people are taking the opportunity to move onto employers of choice.

Two persistent questions come up:

How much notice do I have to give? and Will I get paid for the holidays?

How much notice?

Your Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Award will set out the number of weeks’ notice that you need to give. The number of weeks will also depend on whether you are a teacher or support staff and your employment type.

Generally, support staff have a shorter notice period than that of teachers.

People who have ongoing (permanent) employment generally need to give longer notice than someone who is on a temporary or replacement contract.

A replacement teacher under an EA may have to give 2 weeks’ notice. An ongoing teacher in the same school may have to give 6 weeks’ notice. At a school covered by an award, an ongoing teacher would need to give 7 term weeks’ notice (which could have been Week 2 (Term 4) if you intend leaving at the end of the year).

Your Organiser can help you with your EA or Award to determine the exact amount of notice.

Whilst some people find that they can’t give the required notice, don’t panic, your Organiser can assist to help you ask for the notice period to be shortened or waived.

In most agreements if you are short on notice, and it is reasonable in the circumstances, an employer can withhold salary up to a maximum of two weeks for teachers and one week for support staff with the agreement of the employee.

We would normally advise that your resignation date is the date which you would be due to return after the holiday period.

Your EA may allow the amount payable to you (annual leave, leave loading and pay due for the holidays) to be paid as a lump sum.

The next question is payment for holidays.

Teachers who have worked a full year are entitled to the pay during the holidays and annual leave (which falls in either the first four weeks of the Christmas holiday break or the four weeks of January). This is something that you have earnt and it must be paid to you.

Most agreements have leave loading to be paid on the annual leave payment. If someone has worked part of a year then they get part payment of annual leave.

Whilst it can be complex to calculate the annual leave, most agreements use a formula that takes into account the number of days worked in the year and the number of days not worked (ie holidays). Put simply, it broadly equates to one week of annual leave for each term of employment.

Support staff who work less than 48 weeks a year and have annualised salary (that is spread over the 52 week year rather than having peaks when they work and no pay during holidays) should be paid that annualised salary for the period of their break. We can assist in checking to make sure that the correct payment has been made.

If you are considering taking up an offer at another school or employer make sure you get in contact with us beforehand.

Not only can we help you with the items above, we can also review your contract and, provide information about your new or potential employer.

Contact our office for assistance – 8410 0122 or