24 January 2018

Higher duties win

The QTU has had a win for members over the payment of higher duties allowances during annual leave.

Following several enquiries from members acting in higher duties positions immediately prior to the Christmas vacation period, QTU Officers sought clarification from DET payroll and human resources.

The Office of Industrial Relations made changes to the Higher Duties Directive 18/2016 in relation to the way annual leave is paid for certain employees receiving higher duties payments.  These commenced on 10 June 2016.  Previously, where a public servant (including teachers) assumed the duties and responsibilities of a higher classification level, they had to perform those duties for a minimum of 12 months before the higher duties allowance was paid on the annual leave component.

The directive was changed to reflect modern awards, which state that annual leave is to be paid at “an amount equal to the salary level being paid to the employee immediately before taking the leave”.  There is therefore no longer a minimum period required to be worked.

Case study:  A member who had been acting as a deputy principal for at least two terms in 2017 and will continue to act in the higher duties position in 2018 was advised by their region that she was not entitled to full (or even pro-rata) higher duties on her annual leave.

The QTU requested that DET payroll review the QTU member’s case, citing a circular outlining the changes from the Office of Industrial Relations.  As a result of this advocacy, the department agreed the person was entitled to 2017/18 summer vacation pay as a deputy principal, and will be processing her back pay.

As these changes to the directive occurred in June 2016, anyone who believes they may have not been paid the appropriate remuneration for an annual leave period since then should contact their regional payroll office in the first instance, and if not successful in having this issue resolved, contact the QTU. 

Ongoing work for the PPCR

The Promotional Positions Classification Review continues, and both the QTU and the department appreciate members taking the time to contribute to ensure high-quality outcomes can be achieved. This review continues to be a high priority for the QTU.

During 2017, the review team captured, through a range of approaches, the views of stakeholders in relation to the current classification structure, particularly the factors contributing to the complexity of the promotional positions and the features considered desirable in a future classification structure.

During the first half of 2018, a number of other pieces of work which commenced during 2017 will be finalised.

  • Work value assessments – the review team is partnering with Mercer to conduct work value assessments of over 300 promotional positions to enable an analytical evaluation and systemic comparison of promotional positions. This work will contribute to the evidence base for the development of the review’s findings. Thank you to those who have agreed to assist with this work.
  • Jurisdictional benchmarking – the review team is also partnering with Deloitte Access Economics to review the classification structures, progression arrangements and remuneration of peer jurisdictions. Once completed, this work will also contribute to the evidence base to ensure the findings of the review are appropriate and relative to the arrangements within peer jurisdictions.

Further to this work, during semester one the review team will also be conducting focus groups within each region to assess with participants the issues identified relevant to each promotional position and examine potential options for a future promotional positions classification structure.

While clearly a significant program of work, it is important to ensure the review is as thorough as possible, and the QTU would encourage all members to actively engage with it in any way they can. It is only with your active participation that the best outcomes can be achieved.

If you have not have visited the QTU PPCR web page or read the QTU PPCR submission, they can be on found on the QTU website at https://www.qtu.asn.au/collections/pccr/promotion-positions-classification-review-ppcr/

NAPLAN Online

The Union has temporarily deferred issuing the directives supported by members to allow further negotiations (Refer 18 January 2018 Newsflash for ballot results and background).  In the absence of agreement in the near future, directives will be issued.

At the QTU’s first meeting with the new Minister for Education, QTU Senior Officers spoke at length about the pressures on students and the increased workload on teachers and school leaders because of continual NAPLAN practice testing, formal testing, trail testing and data analysis.  The Minister is understood to be taking briefings from her department and is expected to adopt a position soon.

The QTU is continuing to talk with the state government about NAPLAN, and the progress of these discussions will be reported to the first meeting of QTU Executive.  Members will be advised of future developments via Newsflash.

Recruitment and selection guidelines

The  semester one recruitment and selection timelines for classified teachers can now be accessed on the school leaders page of the QTU website. 

Mandatory training and student protection

All schools will be undertaking the new all-staff training program, which this year is mandatory for all department employees.  The QTU initiated the review of mandatory training in response to member complaints about the previous modules, which took six-seven hours to complete.  The new package is two hours long, and replaces the previous modules on code of conduct, health and safety and wellbeing, keys to managing information and internal controls. 

Employees can undertake refresher training on student protection if they have previously completed the full student protection modules online. 

For further information on the mandatory training that is required, please consult the ready reckoner.


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