Gender employment equity
4 March 2019
It’s Queensland’s Women’s Week, and what better time to consider one of the key priorities of the EB claim - gender employment equity.
The claim suggests ways in which the 10 per cent gender pay gap in education can be addressed, including recognising that the only consequence of part-time work for salaries should be a reduced fraction of salary, not a slowing of salary progression. The claim also suggests improved access to part-time work for all classifications.
To address the gender superannuation gap, the QTU’s claim calls for superannuation contributions to be made on unpaid carers leave. In recognition of the various types of family, there is also a claim for paid parental leave to be accessed by the primary carer, not just the birth or the adoptive mother.
These reforms will represent a step in the right direction toward remedying and addressing the existing gender pay gap. In a membership where 76 per cent are women, it is important that such a lens is placed on EB negotiations and the claim.
Read more in this article "EB9 : Why does gender pay equity matter?" from the November issue of the Queensland Teachers Journal and also check out the QTU's log of claims (members only).
Who is affected
14 per cent of all QTU members are not permanent employees of the Department of Education.
Job security has been the single most important employment issue for QTU members in every QTU member survey dating back to 1997.
Speaking on the topic of job security in Australia, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus recently said that too many people can no longer predict or plan their lives because they have no job security. These sentiments resonate with the masses of contract teachers who, under the current system, can be contracted for anywhere up to three years across numerous schools before being offered a permanent, secure job with the department. In many cases, this leads to:
- ineligibility for pay over vacation periods
- broken service, which impacts on salary progression and access to senior teacher, experienced senior teacher, HAT and LT classifications
- limited professional development opportunities
- a negative impact on the ability to promote.
In addition to this, there is research which suggests that job insecurity can also have implications on an employee’s wellbeing, attitude and behaviour, as well as the wellbeing of their dependents. Job security for members translates into stability for schools and for students. Evidence suggests that stability in staffing is linked to positive impacts on the quality and equity of educational experiences for students.
What needs to change
Evidence shows that employees who believe that their employment is insecure are often more dissatisfied with their job. This can be attributed to temporary workers having less autonomy in their roles and having less of an influence on decisions made in their workplace. As such, the practices of repeatedly extending teachers’ contracts for more than a year needs to stop. The QTU believes that temporary positions within schools should be limited and only exist in circumstances of a short-term vacancy, whether the school is IPS or not. Further to this, we strongly believe that when teachers are on contracts which are less than one year, they should be paid pro-rata of their annual pay increment (not just for the summer vacation period). They should also be entitled to paid parental leave.
We want to see improvements in the teacher transfer and promotional position relocation process. Too often we hear stories of teachers who relinquish positions or take leave without pay from regional, rural and remote schools simply because they have had enough of sitting on a relocation list or have missed out on a transfer to a preferred location. If our members have taught in these isolated and complex areas, it is only fair that there are adequate processes to transfer or relocate them. Under the current system, some of these teachers and school leaders are being forced to choose job insecurity as they are tired of waiting for the department to manage staff equitably. In addition to this, it is the view of the QTU that a provision for permanent district relieving teacher positions needs to be incorporated into EB9. We envisage these positions as being fully funded by regions, providing staffing flexibility while maximising permanency, increasing job security for members and maintaining a healthy transfer process. We also want to see support for permanency in teaching roles created using school funds such as Invest for Success.
How you can be involved
Permanent QTU members should stand united with their temporary colleagues to fight for increased job security and the associated positive benefits. We need to change the rules so that there are more secure jobs for QTU members.
Australian Council of Trade Unions. (2019). Secure work harder to find. [Media release].
Australian Council of Trade Unions. (2018). ACTU welcomes ALP action on insecure work ad wages. [Media release].
Australian Council of Trade Unions. (2013). Income and job security biggest election issues for working people. [Media release].
De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2006). The impact of job insecurity and contract type on attitudes, well‐being and behavioural reports: a psychological contract perspective. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 79(3), 395-409.
De Cuyper, N., De Jong, J., De Witte, H., Isaksson, K., Rigotti, T., & Schalk, R. (2008). Literature review of theory and research on the psychological impact of temporary employment: Towards a conceptual model. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(1), 25-51.
Dickerson, A., & Green, F. (2012). Fears and realisations of employment insecurity. Labour Economics, 19(2), 198-210.
Ferrie, J. E. (2001). Is job insecurity harmful to health?. Journal of the royal society of medicine, 94(2), 71-76.
Foster, J., & Guttmann, R. (2018). Perceptions of job security in Australia. Bulletin (Reserve Bank of Australia), 80-99.
McGuinness, S., Wooden, M., & Hahn, M. (2014). The perceived probability of job loss and future labour market outcomes. Industrial Relations Journal, 45(4), 329-347.
Sverke, M., Hellgren, J., & Näswall, K. (2002). No security: a meta-analysis and review of job insecurity and its consequences. Journal of occupational health psychology, 7(3), 242.