QTU Members' newsflash No. 11-22, 8 November 2022 | Open PDF
TO: QTU MEMBERS
Current issues – EB10 employer ballot, QLearn and COVID-19
EB10 – employer ballot begins
The department’s ballot, which will be conducted electronically, opens today Tuesday 8 November and closes on Tuesday 22 November.
Since members accepted the government offer in the QTU ballot, the QTU has been working with the department and government to draft the agreement. To assist you in navigating the proposed agreement, the QTU has developed an easy guide outlining the components of the offer and the numbers of the relevant agreement clauses that deliver the conditions. A copy of this document and the draft agreement can be found on the members-only part of the website (NB – to access it you will need your member number and password).
How do I vote?
Department of Education consultation commenced on Monday 24 October and ended on Monday 7 November.
By now, department employees would have received an email from CorpVote containing information about how to vote electronically in the departmental ballot. This email should outline the ways in which department employees can vote. An example of the email you should have received can be seen on the left (NB: this is example text only. Please refer to the personalised email from CorpVote that you should have received via your EQ email.)
The department has also provided the attached flyer with additional information regarding the employer ballot.
I voted in the QTU ballot, why do I need to vote in this one?
The department is required under law to conduct a ballot of employees to ascertain their support for the agreement. It is important that members take the opportunity to vote in favour of the agreement so that it can be progressed to certification. Once the agreement is accepted by employees, it will be lodged with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) and the back pay and salary increases can then be paid and the new conditions implemented. The department has advised the QTU that, pending certification, it will endeavour to ensure the back pay of salary increases will be kept separate from the holiday leave loading pay periods.
QLearn 2023 implementation and QTU advocacy
Workload associated with the migration of learning materials from the Learning Place to the department’s new digital learning management system QLearn is one of five main reasons the QTU will be seeking reassurances from the Department of Education that the Learning Place will continue to remain accessible for the entirety of 2023.
QTU advocacy has already resulted in the department allocating $9 million to schools, so that all teachers, heads of program, and principals can be released for training relevant to QLearn.
Workload concerns related to QLearn were first raised by the QTU in Term 2 of 2020, after issues were raised with the Union by QTU school leader members. At that time, the QTU wrote to the department and insisted that the transition to QLearn should include a workforce plan for professional development. This was initially rejected by the department, however on the basis of QTU work reported in Outcomes from the Workload Advisory Council, it conceded that additional funding would be required. The $9 million has been delivered to schools to fund release, including:
- one-third of a day of funding for each teaching staff member (including school leadership staff with a teaching load) to undertake the one-hour QLearn Essentials Course, as well as allow some provision for practice and familiarisation time
- additional half-day funding to cover the cost of attending the QLearn Account Administration training for administering QLearn within the school (all principals and deputy principals have also been included in this allocation)
- heads of department/curriculum have been allocated with a further half-day funding for QLearn Extension training to manage course content.
The QTU is advised that schools received the allocation in the June (2022) School Appropriation Payments Application (SAPA) round.
Despite the allocation of funding, the QTU was alarmed that some QLearn Essentials Course delivery was programmed outside of rostered duty time. During the September school holidays, the QTU advised the department that this programming had the potential to become a workload dispute. As a result of this, the QTU understands that the QLearn professional development schedule was amended and that courses were only offered during rostered duty time in Term 4.
We note that teachers who prefer to participate in training outside of rostered duty time will be able to view recorded sessions of the QLearn Essentials, which are available on the QLearn page on OnePortal.
The QTU will continue to discuss the workload imposts of QLearn with the department in the coming weeks and will update members on the outcomes of these discussions before the end of the school term.
Special pandemic leave and Public Service Directive 01/20
As you may be aware, the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration made under section 319 of the Public Health Act 2005 (PH Act) expired on 31 October.
Accordingly, the employment conditions and arrangements prescribed under Directive 01/20: Employment Arrangements in the Event of a Health Pandemic (Pandemic Directive), which only apply in the case of a declared public health emergency, have now ceased. Importantly, in connection with the declared public health emergency for COVID-19, employees within agencies that apply the Pandemic Directive are no longer able to:
- access paid special pandemic leave
- access their long service leave without regard to the usual minimum qualifying period requirements
- access leave entitlements with reduced supporting documentation requirements.
Agencies to which the Pandemic Directive applies must now revert to existing industrial conditions and arrangements and should update their workplace policies or procedures as required.
The department will not implement any additional restrictions in schools (or other DoE workplaces). The updated Queensland Health guidelines for a person diagnosed with COVID-19 can be found here:
These guidelines have a specific section on returning to school or work and include the following recommendations:
“Queensland Health strongly recommends that you should stay home to isolate while you have any symptoms of an acute respiratory infection. You should not return to work or school until:
- your acute respiratory symptoms have substantially reduced AND
- you have gone for at least 24 hours without a fever without using fever-reducing medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.”
The work on ventilation also continues, with ongoing environmental testing by GHD, which is contracted by the department. Members are encouraged to raise any ongoing concerns about classrooms (or other school facilities) with regional infrastructure personnel. All schools have ongoing access to Co2 monitors for initial testing, but in some cases the department has deployed mechanical ventilation devices to schools prior to GHD testing because of the inherent risks (for example, some soundproof music rooms used for instrumental music lessons have either no window or double-glazed windows that don’t open).
The QTU has also sought a specific consultation meeting between all impacted unions (QTU, UWU, Together) and the department so that we can be satisfied that the current control measures will keep our members’ workplaces safe. This will occur in the coming weeks, with the outcome of this meeting reported to members before the end of term.
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064