Issue No. 10 - May 2016 | View pdf

Managing the conversion to permanency process

Since its introduction in 2010, the MOA (memorandum of agreement) that supports the conversion of temporary teachers into permanent employment has helped hundreds of teachers move to secure permanent jobs.  A new and improved MOA was signed in late 2013.

It can, however, be tricky to navigate the many myths that have grown up around the process, and many teachers are unaware of who to turn to for accurate advice.

Exploding the myths

Myth #1

The conversion process is the only way a temporary teacher can secure permanent employment.  A teacher has to be on contract for three years before the teacher can be made permanent. False

The truth

A teacher can be appointed permanently at any time, pending suitable vacancies, geographic locations and workplace demand.  A teacher may be appointed permanently from their very first day of teaching. Permanent appointments are also made based on suitability rankings.  Teachers limited to in-demand geographic areas (such as the Sunshine Coast and metropolitan Brisbane) will have more difficulty securing permanent employment than those who can work statewide. 

If, late in term four or during term one, a teacher becomes aware that the position they are in is to become available due to growth or retirement (and is therefore a substantive vacancy) the teacher can speak with their principal about becoming permanent and seek advocacy from the QTU.  Where substantive vacancies exist, temporary teachers at the school should be made permanent offers of employment.  The QTU, working through regional Organisers, has had a great deal of success in such circumstances and the offer is not dependent on the teacher having been on ‘contract’ for any set time. 

Myth #2

If you become permanent through the conversion process, you don’t need a suitability ranking. False

The truth

A temporary teacher must have a current suitability ranking to become a permanent teacher.

Myth #3

My partner works in Brisbane, so my offer has to be at my current school.  False

The truth

Unless your circumstances are formally recognised by the compassionate panel, your offer of permanent employment can be anywhere across the state.  A partner’s occupation may or may not provide grounds relevant to the compassionate panel.  There are only a finite number of vacancies and you need to verify that your circumstances are such (as per the compassionate grounds under the transfer guidelines) that your appointment to a preferred location is fair, given that it may mean that there is no vacancy for a teacher seeking transfer following service in a rural or remote location.  

Teachers who have compassionate personal circumstances, if responding to the written offer to participate in the conversion to permanency process, are advised to provide documentation with their acceptance of their offer and provide an outline of their situation.  Details of this and how to respond to the offer of conversion is provided with the initial offer, which should be read carefully.

If you are seeking clarification or further advice about what can constitute compassionate grounds, please contact  QTAD on 1300 11 7832.  

Myth #4

I work in an IPS school so the conversion process does not apply to me.  

The truth

The MOA covers all eligible temporary teachers, including those who work in IPS schools. 

Conversion to permanency in a nutshell

Temporary teachers who maintain continuous employment for three years (whether full-time or part-time) with no breaks greater than 60 school days across the three years are eligible for an offer of conversion.  The breaks in service can be negated by TRS work, but relief work cannot make up more than 20 per cent of any year. 

The offer of conversion is a commitment to find a permanent position for the eligible teacher while maintaining them in ongoing contract work until a permanent offer can be made.  The offer process occurs once each term, with eligible teachers notified in an email.  A teacher who believes they are eligible but has received no offer should contact QTAD in the first instance.

Teachers who accept the offer of conversion in terms one, two, or three must be made an offer of a permanent position prior to the commencement of the next school year.

Teachers who become eligible and accept in term four should be provided with ongoing temporary employment for the following year, with an offer no later than the start of the subsequent school year.  Offers can be made prior to this, but as no new job can be “created”, a suitable vacancy needs to be located, and staffing officers need to factor in the transfer cycle in making appointments.  

The QTU information brochure and Education Queensland’s Temporary to Permanent Teacher Conversion - Frequently Asked Questions can provide more detailed information. Conversion process dates for 2016 can be found here

Ensure your details are up to date

From time to time, members contact the Union indicating that they have not received an offer.  Sometimes Education Queensland has not correctly identified the teacher for an offer of permanency, and the Union is able to ensure an offer is made during the next process.  

It is very important to ensure that your details are up-to-date, including your geographic preferences, particularly if you are asking for compassionate consideration in relation to where offers of permanency can be made, as sometimes teachers substantiate a compassionate argument but still have broader preferences listed as preferred. It is very important to note that the department and TRACER are different entities, so updating your details in one system won’t automatically transfer to the other.  Teacher applicants need to ensure that details held by the Teacher Applicant Centre (TAC) and by payroll (TSS) are current and up to date.  You can update your TSS information through MyHR. 

myQTU

It is also important to keep your QTU membership information up to date, which you can do online at our member portal myQTU (www.qtu.asn.au/myQTU – you will need your membership number and password). Please let us know if you move, change contact details or employment status.

If you have any enquiries about your pay, school or working conditions, your Union is here to assist you.  Send queries to the Queensland Teachers Assist Desk (QTAD) 1300 11 7823  qtad@qtu.asn.au  

Make sure you are a financial member by 1 June

On 1 June, the QTU is applying for a protected industrial action ballot order to secure the ability to take action if an EB agreement cannot be reached by 31 July. While the ballot is unlikely to open before July, the rules state that to participate you must be a financial member of the QTU at the time the ballot request is made, not the date the ballot is issued. So to ensure that you can have your say, make sure you are financial by 1 June.

If you are unsure whether you are financial or need to update your contact and employment information, login to myQTU or email membership@qtu.asn.au

Unfinancial members can make payment by:

  • going to myQTU to pay by credit card, retrieve their BPAY details or set up a monthly direct debit (there are six debit dates remaining, with the next due on 8 June)
  • calling the QTU’s Membership department to make a credit card payment over the phone, set up a monthly direct debit or discuss other payment options.

If you are no longer teaching, or for some reason you need to cancel your membership, you must do so in writing to the General Secretary through qtu@qtu.asn.au


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