SGO and RSSO award transition progressing
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 3, 14 April 2022, page no. 23
The long-held aspiration of senior guidance officers (SGOs) and representative school sports officers (RSSOs) to be fully covered under the teachers’ award is coming to fruition.
It is not generally known that SGOs and RSSOs are only recognised in the teachers’ award for salary purposes; their working conditions come under the public sector award. The 2019 certified agreement therefore contained a commitment to progress transition.
The department and the QTU will be jointly asking the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission for a variation of the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016 (Qld) so that it fully includes SGOs, RSSOs and Queensland school sports officers (QSSOs).
Progress on finalising this aspect of the certified agreement had been problematic, but strident QTU advocacy led to the department creating a small dedicated team to progress the work, and momentum has since increased. The intention is that a memorandum of agreement (MoA) will be drafted by the end of April. It will contain mechanisms for transitioning SGO and RSSO leave entitlements. Award clauses will also be drafted.
The QTU has secured grandparenting clauses that will ensure that members have significant time in which to plan the use of accrued recreation leave and time off in lieu/additional days off. The transitioning of leave arrangements will occur under processes already in place in the department, underpinned by the Industrial Relations Act.
Memorandum of agreement (MoA)
The development of an MoA is intended to address key issues that apply to the SGO and RSSO workforce, as identified through QTU consultation with members.
Matters covered by the MoA, aside from the transition arrangements mentioned above, would include:
- overarching statements that will make the context of working conditions for SGOs and RSSOs explicit under the teachers’ award
- acknowledgment that a mechanism enabling SGOs to be periodically rostered can be implemented, so they are available for SCAN meetings during vacation periods (a model is already in place in some regions)
- acknowledgment that RSSOs can take some time during the school term (for example, in the initial week/s of Term 1, the final week/s of Term 4, NAPLAN week) to off-set weekend work/work outside the span of hours (this would be achieved through locally documented flexibility arrangements negotiated with individual RSSOs)
- broader acknowledgment of the availability of locally negotiated and documented flexibility arrangements (FWAs) with individual SGOs and RSSOs (for example, to address significant travel obligations outside the span of hours to support and service isolated rural and remote communities).
The QTU has requested that small working parties of SGO and of RSSO members be convened to further consider proposals and draft clauses.
Closer to finalisation, the QTU and the department will jointly arrange consultation sessions to allow members to ask questions and discuss the proposals in relation to award variation.
By Kevina O'Neill, Assistant Secretary - Services