School Caretakers', Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement
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Part 6: Other Matters
School Caretakers', Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement
Effective 11 December 2019 to 11 February 2022
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Note: Except as otherwise provided, conditions in Parts 4-7 following are applicable to all workers who are bound by this Agreement.
6.1 Variation of Hours
- Each time the hours of work and the weeks worked per year for employees are fixed by the employer, they shall be fixed by written advice to the employee for a minimum of twelve months and shall remain in force until varied as below. After consideration of the requirements of the school and following expiry of the minimum 12 month period, the employer shall give the employee not less than two month’s written notice of any variation in hours of work and/or weeks to be worked, prior to this variation coming into effect.
- Except in exceptional circumstances (e.g. where an employee is absent on long term sick leave) this notice shall be given at such a time as to ensure it covers a period during which the employee is paid and at work.
- Provided that any worker who commences employment within the 12 month period following the employers last assessment will be subject to the provisions of subclause 6.1.2 at any point following the expiry of the said 12 month period.
- Where the employer, employee, and union agree, the hours of work and/or the weeks to be worked may be varied during the twelve month period.
6.1.2 The regular working period as defined in 6.1.1 above may be varied by the employer to take effect at any time following the expiry of the 12 month period specified in subclause 6.1.1.
6.1.3 Where the variation referred to in 6.1.1 above involves either a reduction or an increase in hours per week and/or weeks per year, the notice period is to allow time for discussions between the employer and employee about the following:
- Reasons for the variation;
- Whether the variation can be avoided or lessened;
- In the case of a reduction in hours, whether that reduction can be absorbed by attrition;
- In the case of an increase in hours and/or weeks per year, whether that increase will create any difficulties for the employee;
- Whether in a reduction of hours there are alternative hours of work available in the school, with terms and conditions no less favourable. This may involve retraining;
- In the case of a reduction in hours of work, consultation on any amendments to the job description which will take into account the reduction in hours applicable to the employee. This could mean an adjustment to duties or the frequency with which certain duties are performed.
Any discussions during this period may involve others in the employee’s team.
6.1.4 Where the proposed variation referred to in 6.1.2 will require an increase in the worker’s hours, his/her agreement must be obtained.
6.1.5 There may be occasions when, to meet a temporary demand or due to special circumstances, staff may be required to work additional hours. In these cases, 6.1.1- 6.1.4 shall not apply, provided that the employer will take into account the personal circumstances of the employee(s).Such extra hours shall only apply for so long as the temporary demand or the special circumstances exist.
6.1.6 Subclauses 6.1.1 to 6.1.5 inclusive of this clause shall not apply to additional hours which are required to meet special or temporary circumstances. Such extra hours shall only apply for the duration of the special or temporary circumstances.
6.2 Payment of Wages
6.2.1 Wages shall be paid fortnightly by direct credit to the worker’s nominated bank account. However, an individual worker may on religious or ethical grounds apply in writing to the Secretary for Education to be paid by cheque. Wages shall be paid within four days of completing the fortnight’s work and not later than Thursday. If a holiday falls on a Friday, wages shall be paid not later than Wednesday in that week.
6.2.2 Notwithstanding any provision contained in this Agreement, an employer may pay the amount of wages due to any worker to the nearest dollar above the precise calculation; provided that the difference between the precise calculation and the nearest dollar payment above that calculation is carried forward as a deduction into the following pay calculation. Workers shall be supplied in writing with details of the manner in which their wages have been calculated.
6.2.3 Workers shall be provided with full details of their earnings on an approved pay advice form showing hourly or weekly rate, wages, overtime, allowances and all deductions from the worker's wages.
6.2.4 The employer shall deduct union dues from those workers who are bound by this Agreement and who have given the employer written authority to make such a deduction. The employer shall remit such deductions to the union at mutually accepted intervals of not more than three months.
6.2.5 The employer shall, upon written request and subject to the agreement of the employee in question, supply to the Union a list of all workers, with each worker’s address, but not more frequently than at three monthly intervals. Such a list shall be returned not more than 30 days after receipt of the request from the Union.
6.3 Safety and Protective Clothing
6.3.1 When a worker is engaged in any work which might involve a hazard to the health or safety of the worker, the employer shall provide clothing or equipment appropriate for the protection of the worker from such hazard. Should a worker fail to utilise the safety devices so provided, it shall be deemed to constitute "good cause" as in the meaning of subclause 6.11.1.
6.3.2 No female cleaner shall be required to undertake the cleaning of mens’ toilets while they are in use.
6.3.3 Safety devices shall be provided for workers required to work more than 3 metres from the ground, floor, or verandah. The employer shall insist upon safety devices being used for all work performed more than 3 metres from the ground, floor or verandah. Should a worker fail to utilise the safety devices so provided it shall be deemed to constitute "good cause" as in the meaning of subclause 6.11.1.
6.3.4 Safety and protective items to be supplied to workers, which remain the property of the employer, shall include the following:
- rubber gloves where a worker is employed in cleaning toilets or needs his/her hands protected for medical reasons;
- gumboots where a worker is required to wear them in the course of his/her employment. Where gumboots are issued to a worker the employer shall ensure that they are in a clean and hygienic condition;
- raincoats and leggings shall be made available where these are required by a worker in the course of his/her employment;
- overalls specifically where they are required for a worker attending to the operation of boilers;
- overalls (in addition to those supplied under (iv) above) where a worker is required to attend to the operation of swimming pools;
- effective ear protectors where a worker operates, or works near, noisy motorised equipment;
- transformers shall be supplied at all times where a worker is required to do wet machine scrubbing or wet machine suction drying. This does not include such operations as carpet-shampooing and spray buffing.
6.3.5 All electric polishing and scrubbing machines and vacuum cleaners with their leads shall be checked by a registered electrician at intervals not exceeding three months.
6.3.6 The employer shall have the right in accordance with the provisions of 6.11.3 to deduct from wages and all other monies due to the worker at the date of termination of employment the reasonable cost, after allowing for fair wear and tear, of any articles of clothing supplied or paid for by the employer and not returned by the worker.
6.4.1 The parties agree in principle that responsibility for pre-exposure immunisation of workers rests with employers who should accept responsibility for safety in the workplace, advised as necessary by health officials.
6.4.2 In situations where workers may be at significantly increased risk of acquiring hepatitis B or similar diseases because of the nature of their job, the situation shall be assessed on an individual basis to decide if immunisation would be appropriate. Immunisation will be provided by the employer if appropriate.
6.4.3 In all situations where there is a risk of infection of the kind envisaged in 6.4.2 above, it shall be the duty of the employer to require safe working practices on the part of the worker and to ensure appropriate hygiene practices to reduce such risk to a minimum, whether or not immunisation is considered advisable.
6.5 Health and Safety
6.5.1 The parties recognise the importance of ensuring good and safe working conditions through Health and Safety in the workplace, and that it is a mutual obligation of Boards of Trustees and employees to achieve this through a participative approach.
6.5.2 Accordingly, the parties recognise that Boards of Trustees and employees are committed to attaining a safe working environment and acknowledge the requirements of the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015, in particular the mutual obligation of Boards and employees to assess risks, and identify and manage all hazards associated with the employer’s business. Boards of Trustees shall recognise Health & Safety workplace representatives as provided for in the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015.
6.5A General Conditions
6.5A.1 A worker may not delegate all or any part of his/her work without the written approval of the employer.
6.5A.2 The employer shall provide facilities for the storing of implements and materials, and facilities for the workers to change their clothes, and, if necessary to have a meal.
6.5A.3 Tea, sugar and milk shall be supplied at all meal intervals and rest periods.
6.5A.4 The employer shall provide all implements and materials including mops and wringer buckets, where necessary, for the purpose of carrying out the work covered by this Agreement.
6.5A.5 Where practicable, hot water shall be supplied at all times where scrubbing is to be done.
6.5A.6 The time necessary for the proper cleaning and care of school properties will be assessed by the employer concerned and, subject to the provisions of clause 6.1, this assessment shall form the basis of an agreement with the workers. Where the employer has reason to believe the assessment may result in the reduction of hours to any worker employed under this Agreement, the union shall be invited to be involved in the assessment process, although the employer retains the right to make the final decision.
6.5A.7 Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as prohibiting workers from doing relieving duty of not more than two hours per day at other than their usual occupation without alteration in their usual weekly wages; provided that not more than the weekly hours fixed in clauses 2.5 and 3.8 of this Agreement are worked.
6.6 Stop Work Meetings
6.6.1 Two stop work meetings may be held each year. They shall be held at times which do not interfere unreasonably with the employer's business. The Union shall give the employer at least two weeks' notice of its intention to hold such a meeting.
6.7 Right of Entry
6.7.1 A representative or representatives of the Union shall be entitled to enter at all reasonable times upon the premises for purposes related to the employment of its members or for purposes related to the union’s business, or both.
6.7.2 The representative(s) shall enter at a reasonable time and in a reasonable way and comply with existing safety, health and security procedures and requirements applying in respect of the school.
6.8 Discipline and Dismissal
6.8.1 The following principles are to be followed when dealing with disciplinary matters:
- The employee must be advised in writing of the specific matter(s) causing concern and be given a reasonable time and opportunity to provide an explanation. Before making a final decision the employer may need to make further inquiries in order to be satisfied as to the facts of the specific matter(s) causing concern.
- The employee must be advised of the right to request representation at any stage.
- Where relevant the employee must be advised of any corrective action required to amend their conduct and given a reasonable opportunity to do so.
- If the alleged offence is sufficiently serious an employee may be placed on suspension pending further inquiry under (a). In most situations the suspension will be on pay. In exceptional cases where the circumstances warrant, following discussion with the employee and their representative, leave without pay may be considered.
- The disciplinary findings and any disciplinary action will be recorded in writing and a copy provided to the employee, and placed on their personal file.
- The provisions in Part 7 explain the processes available under the Employment Relations Act 2000(external link) to any employee aggrieved by any action of their employer taken under these provisions.
6.8.2 Nothing in 6.8.1 prevents summary dismissal without notice in the case of serious misconduct.
[Attention is drawn to Part 6A (Subpart 1) and Schedule A of the Employment Relations Act 2000(external link) which provides certain rights to employees bound by this Agreement in a restructuring situation. Clause 6.9 needs to be read in the context of Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act 2000.]
6.9.1 The following provisions including Appendix B shall not apply to any fixed term employee. The provisions in relation to staff affected by a school reorganisation process are set out under Appendix B and any of this Agreement. The provisions in relation to staff affected by any other surplus staffing situation are set out in clauses 6.9.2 to 6.9.11 of this Agreement.
6.9.2 A surplus staffing situation may arise when the work undertaken by the worker ceases to exist. This may be the result of the restructuring of the whole or any part of the employer's operations because of, for example:
- the reorganisation or review of work;
- a change in plant (or like cause) relevant to the individual worker’s employment;
- change of status or closure of the school; or
- contracting out of the worker’s work.
6.9.3 The employer shall, at least six weeks prior to issuing notice of termination, advise any affected worker(s), and the union where any affected worker(s) are members of the Union, of the possibility of a surplus staffing situation.
6.9.4 The period of notice is to allow time for discussion between the employer and the worker(s) of the reasons for the possible surplus staffing situation and to determine whether this surplus can be absorbed by attrition. The employer shall consider whether or not it is able to offer an alternative position within the school with terms and conditions that are no less favourable, which may also entail on the job retraining.
6.9.5 If the required number of positions cannot be achieved through attrition (refer 6.9.4 above) and a surplus staffing situation still exists any worker(s) who is identified as surplus shall be given a minimum of one month's written notice of termination of employment.
6.9.6 During the notice of termination period both the employer and the worker shall make reasonable efforts to locate alternative employment for the worker. The employer will provide reasonable paid time to attend interviews, where prior approval will not be unreasonably withheld.
6.9.7 In the event that a reasonable offer of employment is made the employer's responsibilities under these provisions shall be fulfilled. A reasonable offer of employment shall constitute an offer of employment that:
- is in the same location or in a state or integrated school within reasonable commuting distance providing that school is the employer; and
- has comparable duties and responsibilities; and
- has terms and conditions that are no less favourable
providing the employment being offered is available to be taken up by the worker prior to or at the conclusion of the notice of termination period.
6.9.8 If the offer of employment referred to in subclause 6.9.7 is not a reasonable offer by reason only that it is not available to be taken up by the worker before or at the conclusion of the notice period, the employer may extend the notice period until such time as the position is available to be taken up by the worker; and under these circumstances the offer shall be deemed to be reasonable.
6.9.9 In the event of a school closure, the employee may be made an offer of employment prior to the disestablishment of the position at another state or integrated school. This offer may be to a lower graded position to that previously held (as described under Appendix B 8.6) or to a position with reduced hours (as described under Appendix B 8.7) and may incorporate either the equalisation allowance or the partial redundancy provision as provided for in Appendix B. Where the employee accepts such an offer the employer of the closing school's responsibilities under 6.9.10 below shall be fulfilled. Where the employee does not accept such an offer, the provisions of 6.9.10 shall apply.
6.9.10 Except as provided in 6.9.9 above, where a reasonable offer of employment is not made before the expiry of the notice of termination period the worker will be entitled to redundancy pay calculated as follows:
- Six weeks' pay for the first year of service and two weeks' pay for each subsequent year or part thereof to a maximum of 30 weeks in total.
Note 1: This is calculated on current gross weekly earnings as at the last day of service or on average gross weekly earnings over the previous 12 months service whichever is the greater.
Note 2: For the purposes of the redundancy calculation the definition of service is the same as that defined in subclauses 1.7.1 to 1.7.8 provided that no period of service that ended with the worker receiving a redundancy or severance payment shall be counted as service.
Note 3: A worker with less than one year’s service shall receive a pro-rata payment.
- All holiday pay and wages owing.
6.9.11 A work reference or record of service shall be provided on the worker's request.
6.10 Abandonment of Employment
Where a worker (full-time or part-time) is absent from work for a continuous period exceeding three days without the consent of the employer and without good cause, or without notification to the employer, he/she shall be deemed to have terminated his/her employment.
6.11 Termination of Employment
6.11.1 Unless otherwise agreed between the employer and the employee, termination of employment shall be two weeks’ notice by either the employee or the employer, to the other party; except in cases of serious misconduct which may warrant instant dismissal.
6.11.2 Where the appropriate notice is given, and subject in all cases to the prior return of keys, clothing, equipment, etc., then the worker shall either be paid on completion of his/her duties, or the employer shall at the next available full pay period after the completion of the worker's duties, post a remittance or cheque for the known net amount due, to the worker. If the employer fails to comply with this provision, the employer shall be liable to a penalty of 15 percent of the net amount due to be paid to the worker subject to the return to the employer of all keys.