Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement
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Appendix C: Staffing Merger
Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement
Effective 11 December 2019 to 11 February 2022
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1.1 The purposes of these provisions are to:
- Provide a staffing merger process that facilitates a fair and orderly transition;
- Ensure an appropriate structure is in place to enable the merged school to function efficiently and effectively;
- Ensure that as many employees as possible currently employed in a merging school are re-assigned or re-confirmed to positions in the merged school;
- Ensure that employees of the merging schools who are not reconfirmed or reassigned to positions in the merged school have access to redundancy compensation in a fair and timely manner.
1.2 “Merging schools” includes the merging school(s) and the continuing school before the date of merger; and “merged school” is the continuing school from the date of merger.
1.3 “Employee” shall mean a permanent employee of one of the merging school who falls within the coverage clause of the collective agreement.
1.4 "Union” shall mean an Amalgamated Workers Union or any other such organisation they choose to represent them.
2 Employment Protection
2.1 Actual vacancies that arise at the schools involved in a merger or the merged school, from the earlier of the announcement of a staff review or Gazette notices shall be filled with temporary appointments. However, if operational needs require, the employer may determine, in consultation with the union, that any such position may be made permanent. This moratorium applies until the completion of the reconfirmation/reassignment process and notice period, except as provided elsewhere in this Appendix.
2.2 Throughout the staffing merger process the employer shall attempt to meet any reduction required by the use of attrition.
2.3 Throughout the staffing merger process no position (as defined under this agreement) at the merged school shall be externally advertised until the reconfirmation and reassignment processes described in clauses 7 and 8 below have been finalised.
3 Needs Analysis
3.1 The needs analysis is the process that designs the staffing structure for the merged school. This process will be conducted by representatives of all the boards involved in the merger (the joint schools’ committee or merger committee).
3.2 This committee shall conduct a needs analysis in consultation with employees and the union.
3.3 The needs analysis shall;
- Identify the future non-teaching staff structure and needs of the merged school; and
- Ensure that the required staff roles have been clearly defined in terms of occupational category and appropriate grade.
3.4 As a result of the consultation process, a draft ‘staffing plan’ shall be developed and made available to each employee, and to the nominee(s) of the union, for further consultation.
3.5 No less than ten working days shall be made available for this consultation to occur before any further step is taken, unless otherwise agreed. (Note: the parties agree that it is desirable for groundstaff to have to the same number of days available for this consultation as are available for the teachers in the affected school.)
3.6 If, as a result of consultation, there are alterations to this draft, the amended versions shall also be made available for a further three working days.
3.7 When the final staffing structure is announced, the employer shall invite all employees to express a preference (or preferences) in writing, for a position (or positions) at the merged school. Where this announcement identifies the possibility of a position or positions being disestablished any affected employee(s) shall be given one month’s written notice of a possible surplus staffing situation within her/his occupational category in the school. This period of notice must be allowed before notice of termination, as described in subclause 9.1 of this Appendix, may be given.
3.8 Employees shall have at least one calendar week’s notice of the closing date for expressions of interest in the position(s) at the merged school.
4 The Appointment Process
4.1 The boards involved in the merger may agree on a Joint Appointments Committee or use the committee referred to in 3.1 above (hereafter referred to as the Committee). The Committee should be responsible for managing the reconfirmation and reassignment process for all staff.
4.2 The principal of the merged school, once appointed, should be included on the Committee.
5 Voluntary Option
5.1 Following the publication of the final staffing structure, the employer board shall invite written expressions of interest in the option of voluntary redundancy. Subject to the employee completing the required period of notice (two months, or less by mutual agreement) an employee whose application for voluntary redundancy is accepted shall receive her/his full entitlement to redundancy pay as prescribed by subclause 4.8.11 (Redundancy) of the collective agreement (except as provided under 4.8.2).
5.2 An employee may continue to volunteer for this option without prejudice or withdraw from it at any point in the staffing merger process, providing the employer has not already accepted the application in writing. No letter of acceptance will be issued without the agreement of the Committee.
5.3 The employer shall not be bound to agree to any application for voluntary redundancy.
6 Appointment/Selection Process
6.1 For the purpose of the clauses below:
- ‘Reconfirmation’ shall mean the process whereby employees are transferred to suitable positions at the re-organised school. A suitable position is one which has similar duties and/or for which the applicant is appropriately qualified and experienced or could become so with reasonable access to re-training. The new position shall have the same or a higher grading.
- ‘Reassignment’ shall mean the process that applies to functionally-equivalent positions.
- ‘Functionally-equivalent’ shall mean positions which are generally similar in role, duties and status and which require similar qualifications, training, skills and experience but may have different titles.
- ‘Merit’ means the most suitable person and primarily includes assessment of qualifications, training, skills and experience.
7.1 The employer shall reconfirm (as defined in subclause 6.1(a) above) employees to suitable positions at the merged school.
7.2 An employee may be reconfirmed to her/his preferred position or, subject to her/his agreement, to a position for which s/he is appropriately qualified and experienced.
7.3 Where there are two or more employees eligible for re-confirmation to a single position, the employer shall reconfirm the most suitable candidate(s) based on merit.
7.4 Where a permanent employee is reconfirmed, this must be into a position of at least the same hours. Provided that where an employee accepts redeployment to a position with reduced hours in a situation where a position with at least the same hours is not available, that employee will be entitled to a partial redundancy payment.
7.5 Partial redundancy will be calculated on the basis of applying the redundancy pay formula described in subclause 4.8.11 (Redundancy) of this agreement to the total number of reduced ordinary hours per week as set under subclause 4.1 of the collective agreement. This total shall be paid as an allowance over the number of weeks of entitlement to a maximum of 30 weeks. Should the employee’s hours increase over this period the allowance will be reduced or removed accordingly.
8 Re-assignment to Functionally Equivalent Positions
8.1 Following completion of the reconfirmation process, the employer may reassign an employee, who has not been reconfirmed in accordance with clause 7, to a suitable position at the merged school.
8.2 Subject to the provisions in this section, if an employee expresses a preference for a position that is functionally equivalent (as defined under subclause 6.1(c) above) to her/his current position, and s/he is the only suitably qualified and experienced employee for that position, s/he shall be reassigned to that position.
8.3 An employee may be reassigned to her/his preferred position or, subject to the agreement of the employee, to a position for which s/he is appropriately qualified and experienced.
8.4 Where there are more employees in positions that are functionally equivalent than there are such positions at the merged school, the employer shall seek internal applications for the position(s) from those employees and shall appoint the most suitable candidate(s) based upon merit.
8.5 An employee who is not appointed to a functionally equivalent position at the merged school may be reassigned to any vacant position for which s/he is suitable, or could become suitable with access to re-training, provided the terms and conditions are no less favourable and the duties and responsibilities are comparable.
8.6 An employee who accepts reassignment to a position assessed as being at a lower grade and/or offering a lower hourly rate/salary rate will be entitled to an equalisation allowance for a period of one year from the date on which the reassignment takes effect. The equalisation allowance will be calculated on the basis of the difference between the hourly rate paid to the employee prior to reassignment and that paid for the position to which s/he has been reassigned. Should the position be upgraded, or a higher graded position obtained during the 12 month period, the allowance would be reduced accordingly or removed.
8.7 An employee who accepts reassignment to a position with reduced hours will be entitled to a partial redundancy payment. Partial redundancy will be calculated on the basis of applying the redundancy pay formula described in subclause 4.8.11 (Redundancy) of this agreement to the total number of reduced ordinary hours per week (as set under subclause 4.1 of the collective agreement). This total shall be paid as an allowance over the number of weeks of entitlement to a maximum of 30. Should the employee's hours increase over this period the allowance will be reduced or removed accordingly.
8.8 An employee who does not wish to accept reassignment to a position with less favourable terms and/or conditions will be deemed to have had her/his position disestablished. The provisions of clause 9 below will apply to any such employee.
9 Notice and Disestablishment of Positions
9.1 Any employee who is not reconfirmed or reassigned as per clauses 7 or 8 above will be deemed to have had their position disestablished and will be given written notice of termination advising of the date that the notice will take effect. This notice period will be a minimum of one month.
9.2 If, during the full two-month notice period, a suitable permanent position arises at the merged school the employee may seek appointment to that position and, if s/he is suitably qualified and experienced, s/he shall be appointed to that position, subject to other internal applications.
9.3 During the notice period the employer will provide reasonable paid time for the employee to attend interviews.
9.4 Subclauses 4.8.7-4.8.9 (Redundancy) shall apply in relation to the notice period. These provisions emphasise the responsibilities in relation to securing alternative employment on the employer and employee. Where a reasonable offer of employment, as defined, is made, the employer has no further obligation in relation to redundancy payments. Scope exists to co-ordinate the notice period and availability of the new position.
9.5 If at the completion of the notice period alternative employment is not found in accordance with this section, or subclauses 4.8.7-4.8.9 (Redundancy) of this agreement, the employee will receive redundancy and a work reference or record of service in accordance with clauses 4.8.11 and 4.8.12 of this agreement.