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Historic Change Will Impact Catholic Primary Staff

With falling enrolments and the transition of Year 7 to secondary schools, employment in Catholic primary schools will be impacted in the near future.

Hopefully jobs in secondary schools will expand, but there are no guarantees. In this time of significant change, the word redundancy has become far more frequently used in Catholic primary schools.

Some principals have brought the concept to the front and centre of staff’s minds with gloomy warnings about what lies ahead as some jobs in primary schools go. A redundancy occurs when the job being done by an employee is no longer required to be done eg because of falling enrolments or restructure.

In such cases EA clause 11 “Change and Consultation” requires the employer to notify the employees and the IEU, and commence negotiations to mitigate the effects of proposed changes.

If no alternate redeployment opportunities exist within their own school, the employee will need to be redeployed to another school operated by the same employer. The employers are the 16 named entities in Clause 3.1 of the EA, not the 103 separate sites. A teacher or ESO at, say, St Augustine’s could be redeployed to any school that is part of the employing entity named Catholic Church Endowment Society Inc. (Archdiocese of Adelaide) but not by right to a school such as CBC because it belongs to a different employing entity (Edmund Rice Education)

Many principals and principal consultants have not been communicating that a redundancy does not relate to one’s own site, but within the group of schools run by that employer. Michael Kenny’s March bulletin, encouragingly acknowledges that permanent Diocesan staff will (in the first instance) have first priority in Diocesan recruitment for permanent vacancies. Although this puts the responsibility for winning a job on the employee, at the end of the day the employer still needs to be proactive in finding a suitable position before the “R” word is used.

In any event if the word redundancy is raised at your school (either to the whole staff, a group or an individual) it is always important to contact the IEU immediately to clarify your situation.