Teachers will finally be paid with due recognition of their service after the Federation secured an agreement with the Department on the Standards Based Teacher Salary Procedure. The new procedure ensures that teachers have their experience appropriately recognised under standards-based remuneration. This is vital for both recruitment and retention of experienced teachers in NSW public schools.
In 2016 the Department unilaterally implemented a new procedure used to determine teachers’ salaries which saw many hundreds of teachers being significantly underpaid. Under the guise of transition to standards-based remuneration the Department ceased to recognise the following when determining a teacher’s pay:
- Overseas teaching
- Any teaching after a break of five years or more
- Periods of full-time child-rearing
- Military service
In addition, teaching service in other states and territories, or in NSW Catholic or Independent Schools, was only to be assessed via salary matching, meaning many teachers’ experience and years of service were not being fairly recognised.
After protracted negotiations on the procedure, the parties finally reached agreement in late December. The following will now be considered relevant service when determining a teacher’s salary:
- overseas school teaching
- school teaching delivering courses recognised by the teacher registration authority in another Australian state or territory
- teaching in NSW, outside of NSW public schools, which delivers the curriculum under the Education Act 1990 (NSW)
- teaching in all relevant casual, temporary and permanent employment with the Department, including after a break of five years
- periods of full time childrearing which follow completion of a teacher qualification
- periods of paid military leave.
Any teacher who submitted a request for recognition of service in 2016 and was knocked back will have their request reassessed. Processing these payments may take some time, as the procedure and associated documents are yet to be finalised and published, but any adjustments to salary will take effect from the date the Department received the application.
Given the number of teachers affected and the complexity of some of the cases, it is anticipated that the Federation will need to continue to assist some individuals to ensure they are paid correctly. Teachers should check that they are in the right category of membership so the Federation can help secure pay that fully reflects their level of experience.