3 July 2018 | download as pdf
Dear QTU TAFE members,
The QTU is continuing its campaigning for TAFE members, not only on a local level, but nationally in a number of areas. This includes the “Change the Rules” campaign, which is calling for a more fair and equitable working environment for all Australians. As part of the Australian Education Union, the QTU has secured a commitment, from the federal opposition that two thirds of all VET funding will be guaranteed for TAFE nationwide. This will greatly enhance TAFE’s long term future as the number one provider of vocational education in Australia.
The inquiries from members requiring clarification with regards to the award and certified agreement continue and are being addressed each day. I will continue to provide updates and address these issues in the monthly TAFE Union News. Again, I would encourage members to print and distribute these to fellow members and non-members.
This month’s hot issues:
Non-attendance time [NAT]
NAT is intended to provide TAFE educators with time off-campus to complete all of the work required prior to the commencement of education delivery. The certified agreement (2017) makes it clear that educators should use their discretion to determine how they will utilise NAT.
In the past, there has been a common misunderstanding that managers in TAFE can require an employee to complete particular tasks during NAT. The certified agreement part 7, clause 29(a) gives employers and employees clarity around this. Educators will use their discretion to determine how they will utilise non-attendance time. Educators may choose, but are not required to, conduct their normal programmed time duties during non-attendance time.
The only obligation that teachers have in relation to NAT is that they must return after their NAT leave prepared to commence delivery for the semester as required under clause 28 of the certified agreement. If a teacher has undertaken all necessary preparation for the commencement of delivery at some other time (for example on week nights or weekends), then NAT can be taken as leave.
The following award conditions apply to NAT:
- All educators, excluding casual employees, are entitled to five weeks’ non-attendance time for each completed calendar year of service with TAFE Queensland.
- NAT is allocated on a pro-rata basis for part-time employees and employees who have completed less than one calendar year of service.
- NAT timing is approved at the discretion of the General Manager in consultation with the teaching team, taking into consideration efficient operation of programs.
- Unless the employee agrees to a lesser time frame, a minimum of four weeks’ notice must be provided by the General Manager.
- Educators must take NAT in blocks of between one and four weeks.
- Educators must take a minimum of two periods of NAT per year, separated by a maximum of 21 weeks.
- NAT can be taken with recreation leave (up to a maximum of eight weeks).
- Up to two weeks of NAT can be deferred to the next calendar year as long as it is agreed at least two weeks prior to 1 January and is taken within six months.
- NAT is exclusive of any public holiday that falls during the period of NAT taken by the employee.
- Unused NAT is paid out on a pro-rata basis on resignation.
Not required during NAT:
During NAT, a teacher/tutor cannot be directed to:
- undertake normal work duties from home, such as online delivery, RPL, marking assessments, communicating with students
- develop products for new training packages, competencies, assessments for the team or institute
- attend professional development
- attend mandatory or other forms of staff training (should not be scheduled during NAT)
- stay in the state or country or inform TAFE or be refused NAT if they are not
- be contactable at all times.
- supply a list of activities they intend to complete during NAT
- undertake preparation for classes that were not programmed four weeks prior to the commencement of NAT.
- attend if recalled back to the institute - a teacher may attend at their convenience and the NAT will be reversed for the period of time
- accept that NAT accrues over the year.
Professional development and release to industry
Clause 30 of the certified agreement states:
a) A minimum of 10 days professional development and release to industry is to be undertaken each year by educators, excluding casuals.
b) Professional development activities will prioritise activities which maintain, develop and extend educators’ vocational competency and currency of skills and knowledge relevant to:
(i) vocational training, learning and assessment
(ii) current industry skills, including the skills required by training packages/accredited courses and as identified by TAFE Queensland through industry engagement
(iii) the industry area where training is being delivered and assessed.
c) Professional development will be differentiated from the normal programmed duties of educators and does not include the following:
(i) moderation and validation
(ii) engagement in extra-curricular activities
(iii) participation in routine core business meetings, planning and preparation
(iv) non-attendance time
(iv) mandatory staff training.
I have provided below a list of links which I thought might be useful to you.