10 September 2013

TAFE overtime issues

There have recently been several developments in relation to access to overtime for TAFE employees. These relate to:

  • clarification of the procedures relating to overtime and work performed after 6pm, as per the relevant clauses in the TAFE Teachers Certified Agreement
  • identification by DETE of cases where employees have allegedly been paid inappropriately
  • delays in the processing of overtime claims while these issues were being dealt with
  • promulgation of a new Public Service Directive (7/13) which relates to overtime.

The purpose of this Newsflash is to provide an update on these developments.

1. Procedures relating to overtime and work performed after 6pm

Compensation rates for work performed after 6pm Monday to Friday are treated differently depending on whether you are a permanent or a true casual employee.

Compensation for true casual educational staff is provided for in the TAFE Teachers Award.

Compensation for permanent and temporary educational staff is provided for in the Department of Education, Training and Employment TAFE Educational Employees Certified Agreement 2012.

These differences are explained below.

Permanent and temporary staff

Work performed after 6pm is compensated as per Clause 15.3.2 of the Department of Education, Training and Employment TAFE Educational Employees Certified Agreement 2012.

Teaching or tutoring programmed before 8am or after 6pm Monday to Friday, or on Saturday, shall attract either:

  1. $29.35 per hour for teachers and $16.21 per hour for tutors in addition to the ordinary hourly rate of pay; or 
  2. actual time worked, which is to be counted at the rate of one and a half times for the purpose of recognising the teaching/tutoring contact hours (computed time).

Only when permanent or temporary employees have reached their 21 hours contact for the week are they entitled to receive the overpayment formula rate as provided for in clause 15.4.1 of the certified agreement.

True casual educational staff

Work performed after 6pm is compensated as per Clause 4.4.2(e) of the TAFE Teachers Award 2012.

“All teaching/tutoring hours worked before 8:00am and after 6:00pm Monday to Friday or on a Saturday shall be paid at one and a-half times the ordinary hourly rate.”

The ordinary hourly rate for true casuals is a formula and is provided for in 4.4.2(b) of the award.

Overtime

Teachers are not entitled to the payment of overtime until they have exceeded either their 21 hour contact teaching for the week or their 32 hours of combined contact/non-contact teaching workload for the week. Section 15.4 of the certified agreement provides that an employee is to be compensated for overtime in the following circumstances:

15.4.7 work in excess of 21-25 hours (teacher)
15.4.8 work in excess of 24-28 hours (tutor)
15.4.9 work in excess of 32 hours – (teachers and tutors)
15.4.10 work performed on a weekend or public holiday.

Therefore, work involving delivery during the evenings, that is after 6pm, does not automatically entitle a teacher to payment at overtime rates. Rather, the hours worked may be counted (computed) at one and a half times and added to the teacher's total number of hours worked during that week. This figure can then be used to determine the number of hours worked in excess of 21 and therefore, the number of hours payable at the overtime rate of pay.

Practice:

The claim form contained a drop down box for “night rate” which when ticked generates payment at the rate for true casual employees. In a number of cases, this payment has incorrectly been made to permanent and temporary employees, paying overtime at a multiplied rate of one and a half times. In some circumstances, this rate of pay has been applied to teachers who have delivered evening classes at a time during the week at which they had not worked the required 21 hours.

The department has amended the claim form to ensure that future claims are paid correctly.

2. Overpayments

According to DETE, the practice of paying night rate to permanent and temporary educational employees has resulted in overpayments, and the department is currently working to assess the situation and develop a strategy in relation to any overpayments that have occurred.

The QTU has been told that it will be advised when DETE has identified the extent of the problem, the employees who are affected, and the actions that DETE proposes to take. The QTU position and response will be determined when this advice is received.

3. Delays

A number of claims that were submitted after the issue was identified were withheld by payroll services and sent back to the institutes for correction. This caused a delay in processing. This backlog should now have been cleared. However, because overtime claims affected by work after 6pm will not be processed until an employee has recorded their full working week, some overtime payments that previously might have been paid in the pay period in which the overtime hours were worked may now be delayed until the subsequent pay period.

4. Public Service Directive 7/13

Public Service Directive 7/13 was issued with an effective date of 9 August, 2013. Subsequently, a TAFE fact sheet, “Overtime and Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) – Educational Delivery Employees”, has been circulated at some TAFE institutes, stating that due to this directive, which overrides the TAFE Teachers Award and certified agreement, TAFE teachers at Step 6 and above on the salary scale can only access overtime as TOIL, if “overtime has been expressly approved by the Director-General”.

The QTU has sought legal advice in relation to the status of the directive in relation to current overtime provisions.

The QTU also sought clarification from DETE about the status of the fact sheet and was advised that it was an internal document, which was not at this stage meant for circulation. DETE was considering the implications of the directive and consulting with institute directors. Until a decision is made by DETE on how to respond to the directive, current arrangements for overtime as specified in the award and agreement will continue to apply. 


QTU assistance

QTU members who have questions or issues relating to overtime payments can contact the QTU at tafe@qtu.asn.au or 07 3512 9000. Advice or assistance can also be sought using the online advice facility on the QTU website (www.qtu.asn.au/qtad).