DRTs: It pays to know your conditions
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 4, 5 June 2020, page no. 6
QTU district relief teacher (DRT) members in Far North Queensland have successfully proved that they were being denied access to conditions to which they were fully entitled.
DRTs travel from their base school to provide relief at a variety of schools within a region.
They are employed on a flexible as-needed basis, covering short term absences including sick leave and special leave within a region. In some parts of the state, and particularly in the far north, the distance travelled to and between schools is significant, even requiring overnight stays.
The far north DRT members had accrued time off in lieu (TOIL) as part of their role and they had not been accessing allowances for meals and incidentals when absent overnight, to which they were also entitled. Further, it was reported that the members had received no induction into their role and, as such, were unaware of the way in which TOIL and allowances were to be recorded and subsequently claimed. In line with the dispute resolution process, the members initially raised their concern with their schools. Receiving no satisfactory outcome, members were supported by the QTU in progressing their claim to a stage 2 dispute with the region.
The members were able to substantiate, through their own records, the hours of travel associated with the claim of TOIL, when they were away from their base, and the dates for which allowances were to be claimed. Having this information to substantiate the claim greatly assisted our members in progressing negotiations on this matter. As a result, the members involved were provided with access to the TOIL that had been accrued, totalling the equivalent of approximately 10 weeks across the claim, and were paid allowances of more than $10,000 across the claim. This was quite a win for these members!
Additionally, the Domestic Travelling and Relieving Expenses Directive 09/11 (https://www.forgov.qld.gov.au/documents/directive/0911/domestic-travelling-and-relieving-expenses) outlines the allowances and incidentals that can be claimed when away from your base.
Teachers who are working in a DRT or LRT role should be familiar with the two documents above and are encouraged to keep a record of their work, including hours of work, travel time, non-contact time and entitlements. Teachers could also discuss the processes for recording, storing and claiming with their base school if they are unfamiliar with them. The department's attention has been drawn to the essential need for induction, as well as for consistent processes across the state, with reference to recording, storing and claiming TOIL and other allowances associated with the role.