Issue 12, March 2017

Offers of permanency and conversion to permanency processes

•   Term one – conversion to permanency offers under the MOA
•   Temporary employment: the legislative context
•   Cessation of a contract
•   Payment for student free days/PD hours during the Easter vacation period.

Term one of the school year is the time when teachers employed on temporary engagements should be clarifying if the position they are in is a substantive vacancy. 

Often, temporary positions are created to replace a person who is, for example, on leave or acting in a higher position.  These become substantive vacancies if they are permanently funded by DET and have no employee permanently attached to them.  Temporary teachers who are employed in a substantive vacancy should have direct offers of permanent employment made to them. These opportunities are more likely to be realised after day 8 processes in term one.   If you believe you are in such a position, you may initially wish to explore the opportunity with your principal and/or QTU Regional Organiser. 

Even without a clear substantive vacancy, IPS schools and regions (in partnership with schools) are able to make offers of permanency in subject areas of demand or where historical and predicted patterns of leave at a school, or within a geographic area or region, would indicate that such appointments can be risk-managed. 

For example, a school might have a 12 month position for a senior chemistry and maths B teacher.  While there is not a substantive vacancy, the region could appoint the teacher permanently knowing that workforce demands systemically can be better managed with such an appointment.

The QTU continues to work with regions and central office to enliven the present state government’s strong commitment to maximising permanent employment in the public sector.  The forthcoming Queensland Teachers’ Journal (March) contains an article that further explores the QTU’s pursuit of permanency for temporary teacher members as captured in the recent certified agreement and award.

Term one – conversion to permanency offers under the memorandum of agreement (MOA)

If you have been in continuous temporary engagements for three years, you may be expecting an email from the department inviting you to participate in the conversion to permanency process for those who have become eligible in term one. The date for offer emails to be sent is 27 February, with a return due date of 17 March 2017.

It is very important to be familiar with your pattern of employment and service history so that you can be aware of whether you meet the criteria for an offer under the terms of the MOA.  If you believe you should receive an offer to participate in the process for this term, please immediately check your email account, including the equivalent of junk/spam folders. If you can’t find the email, the QTU advises that you contact the department to seek clarity through your BSM, or contact the QTU for assistance . Requests for clarification from the department, either through the BSM or the QTU, should be made prior to the closing date above.

The term two, three and four dates will be published on the QTU’s website as they become known.

For more detailed information on the conversion to permanency process and the MOA, follow this link to the QTU’s information brochure.

Temporary employment: the legislative context

Your working conditions as a temporary employee (contract teacher) and the length of contracts you can be offered are set in legislation and contained in an industrial award and a certified agreement.  It is important to understand what your basic employment conditions are and where to find clarification.

Section 148 of the Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) provides for the appointment of temporary employees.

The Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016 defines the purpose of temporary employment as: 

 8(b)     Temporary employment – A full-time or part-time employee may be employed for a specified period of time or for a specified task or tasks.  Such employee/s shall be entitled to the same provisions as a full-time or part-time employee as the case may be, excluding the provisions of clause 9.

Further clause 8.4 refers explicitly to temporary teachers,

 8.4(a)  A temporary teacher is a teacher engaged to fill a temporary vacancy in a school.  The minimum engagement of a temporary teacher will be no less than 5 days. The maximum engagement should be no more than one school year. 

Where you were initially employed as a casual (supply) teacher, the supply days cannot be converted/backdated to a temporary engagement, but you can be offered further, ongoing employment as a temporary engagement. 

For example, if a casual teacher is engaged to work Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 March because a teacher is unwell, the engagement would be teacher relief, often called supply days.  If the sick teacher then presents a doctor’s certificate to the school stating that they will need leave until Friday 24 March, the school can offer the contract to the supply teacher.  Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 must be paid as TRS days and the temporary engagement (contract) starts from Wednesday 15 March and goes through until the 24 March.  

Cessation of a contract

It is always important to have an understanding of your employment type and conditions of employment, including your rights in relation to a temporary engagement being ceased early, and in particular the length of notice that should apply.  The department has clear processes and protocols in relation to such matters and the QTU works proactively with members and regions where a temporary engagement may be ceased early.

Further information on your employment conditions as a temporary employee are contained in the QTU’s “Temporary teaching (contract teachers)” and “Temporary teacher vacation payments” brochures.

Payment of temporary teachers for student free days/professional development hours during the Easter vacation period.

As has been the case for some years now, three professional development days are placed within the Easter vacation period.  This year the vacation period begins on Monday 3April, with school returning on Tuesday 18 April.  The three flexible student free days (or professional development days) are Monday 3, Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 April.  At the simplistic level, whether you are paid for these days is dependent on whether you have undertaken the 15 hours of flexible professional development and whether you have flagged with your BSM the need to proactively communicate that information to payroll.  There is some complexity in relation to temporary teachers and flexible student free days.  For more detailed information, please read the QTU’s “Student free days” brochure.

The next edition of the Temporary Teacher Communique will explore the nature of casual employment (supply teaching) and some conditions or benefits you may not be aware of.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union