Term 2, 2017

Happy Term Two!

This quarterly email is now being sent to all QTU women who hold Union sub-branch, branch, Area Council and State Council positions. Please forward to women of the QTU and your relevant networks as appropriate.

Special leave changes

The government regularly review and release new public service directives impacting on your conditions. The Special Leave Directive (05/17) is the “authority” for compassionate, domestic and family violence leave and bereavement leave (amongst others). The new directive provides some changes to bereavement and compassionate leave that may be useful to you, or members in your schools.

Bereavement leave (2 days) now explicitly includes the loss of an unborn child (where a pregnancy end other than by the birth of a living child) and covers both the parent and spouse. (N.B. where the pregnancy is past 20 weeks there is an entitlement to paid parental leave). This is an entitlement. This change is important and significant, as the QTU has had to advocate in the past where decision makers argued that miscarriage was a “health” issue and refused the granting of discretionary compassionate leave.

Compassionate leave (2 days) has also been extended to cover where an employee, or a member of their immediate family or household contracts or develops a personal illness or injury that poses a serious threat to life. This is also an entitlement, however, as with bereavement leave some form of documentation may be required.

Commonwealth paid parental leave [CPPL]

Union women banding together, along with working families campaigned successfully to ensure that the planned cuts to the CPPL didn’t occur with the Childcare Reform Bill, but there is a very real concern that there are plans afoot to set about its demise in the forthcoming May Budget. The Parenthood are again a strong and vocal voice for Australian families, and have developed a new petition to help protect the federal parental leave scheme. Please sign it at this link.

Domestic and family violence training

Domestic and family violence training is being rolled out state-wide for DET Principals, Managers and HR staff; the two and a half hour PD is being presented by Australia’s CEO Challenge.

DET have implemented some important and much needed resources and policies to support employees who are experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV). Responding to a suite of recommendations from the Not Now, Not Ever report, some powerful measures have been in place to support employees.

It is really important that members are aware of what support is available and for decision makers and principals to enact these measures in schools. Special paid leave for DFV has been available for DET employees since 2012, however guidelines and operational procedures for accessing this leave type were initially unclear.

One-Portal has three documents that are really important and useful for principals and managers (and union reps supporting members).

  1. Supporting Staff affected by Domestic and Family Violence Policy 
  2. Domestic and Family Violence Workplace Safety Checklist 
  3. Domestic and Family Violence Workplace Safety Plan

Underpinning this departmental and government support have been some really strong legislative changes and measures. They are leading the way nationally and have included access to paid domestic and family violence leave is included as part of the Queensland Employment Standards in The Queensland Industrial Relations Act 2016. Additionally new laws have been passed unanimously through State Parliament in ensure that victims of domestic and family violence will be informed if their perpetrator is released on bail or from prison.

May is domestic violence prevention month, an annual event in Queensland to raise community awareness of DFV and to send a clear message that DFV is never OK, and will not be tolerated. Information can be found at this link.

QTU Reps and members needing to access further information on DFV leave and workplace information can contact QTAD 1300 11 7823.

If you are affected by DFV further support and information is available through:

  • Employee Assistance Provider, Optum Ph: 1800 604 640 
  • Specialist Domestic Violence services such as DVConnect, DVConnect Womensline: Ph: 1800 811 811 (24/7) 
  • DVConnect Mensline Ph: 1800 600 636 (9am – 12 midnight, 7 days) 
  • DVConnect Sexual Assault Line Ph: 1800 010 120 (7.30am – 11.30pm, 7 days) 
  • 1800RESPECT - National sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling service Ph: 1800 737 732 (24/7)

The Scene

The Scene (Social Change Education Network and Exchange) is a Brisbane based organisation that meet on the first Friday of every month. In May they are gathering on Friday 5 May at 6 pm in the Gambaro Room on the rooftop of Common Ground, 15 Hope St South Brisbane (wheelchair accessible) and the guest speaker is Dr Stewart Riddle. The topic is ‘How might we imagine and produce different futures? Where are the spaces for change and articulating hopeful alternatives?’ 

Stewart is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood at the University of Southern Queensland. His research interests include social justice and equity in education, music-based research practices and research methodologies. Stewart also writes for The Conversation, edits the English Teachers Association of Queensland journal, Words’Worth, and plays bass in a band called Drawn from Bees.

Get involved – Help shape the Queensland Government’s Gender Analysis Toolkit

The Queensland Government have developed the Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016-21 (QWS).

Gender analysis is an essential tool for gender considered policies, programs and services. Applying a ‘gender lens’ can help identify the different conditions that women and men face and the different effects that policies and programs may have on them because of their situations.

To assist in applying a ‘gender lens’, the Queensland Government developed the Gender Analysis Toolkit in 2009. The Toolkit was designed to build the Queensland public sector’s skills around gender mainstreaming, targeting all staff of government departments to integrate gender issues into their work.

The updated Gender Analysis Toolkit is intended for wider use by the whole-of-Queensland community — government, businesses, community organisations and individuals to undertake gender analysis in the development of policy, programs and service delivery.

They need your help

The Office for Women and Domestic Violence Reform is undertaking an online survey to seek feedback about areas for improvement.

You can access the survey via this link from March 2017 to April 2017.

More information

Ask a question or send your comments:

  • Address: GPO Box 806, Brisbane QLD 4001 
  • Phone: Women’s Infolink on 1800 177 577 (Free-call statewide service), Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm 
  • Email: women@qld.gov.au

This newsletter’s content aims to provide QTU women with relevant information and resources to support and encourage the women of our Union. Feedback and enquiries can be emailed attention to me, Penny Spalding at services@qtu.asn.au

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