What has the Government Offered? An Outline for SSOs

03 December 2019

Length of the agreement
The agreement is a three year agreement.

Pay
Wage increase

The PSA requested a fair wage increase. The Government offer is for five general salary increases as follows:

1.35% per annum from the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2018

1% per annum from on or after 1 May 2019

2.35% per annum from on or after 1 May 2020, 1 May 2021 and 1 May 2022

SSO Additional Salary Increments

Additional Salary Increments for Ancillary Classifications at levels 3 and above subject to the following criteria:

  •  The employee has attained and produced to the Department verification of a qualification specified by the Department as relevant and applicable to their level
  •  The employee has completed 12 months at the top increment of the class level applicable to the employee and
  •  The employee is not currently the subject of an unsatisfactory performance management process.


The PSA acknowledges that there are very few people at the higher levels of the SSO classification but this does create a better career path for qualified and experienced SSOs

Date of payment for reclassification
The payment date for reclassification will be the date of application rather than the date of decision. This was the PSA claim and brings it into line with other public sector workers. It will speed up decision making and mean that SSOs will not be penalised by slow decision making of managers.

Ability for time to be made up and receive payment for public holidays
The Agreement will say that SSOs/ECWs will be provided a reasonable opportunity to accrue TOIL. This was the PSA claim and will put an end to the SSOs being denied TOIL for working past your allocated hours.

Aboriginal Education Workers - classification structure
During life of agreement the Department in conjunction with the AEU and PSA will finalise agreed amendments to work level definitions of AEWs including the introduction of level 6 also includes the new salaries for AEW level 6.

Permanency criteria for AEWs
Amend clause 2.3.8 to require AEW permanency working party to meet on a six monthly basis

WORKLIFE FLEXIBILITY
The PSA claim was to increase the total paid and unpaid parental leave provisions to 104 weeks rather than 52 weeks and the Government has agreed to this.

They have also included the ability to transfer to a safe job for pregnant employees and the ability to access 10 days of accrued sick leave to care for sick family member. These were all in the PSA claim.

The PSA claimed special leave of 15 days for those experiencing Domestic/Relationship violence and the Government has agreed. This brings SSOs in line with other members who work in the Public Sector.

Communication, Consultation and Dispute Resolution
The Government offer has an increase in the time for resolving disputes from 48 hours to seven business days for a conference. The need to consult about any changes still remains the same. The Government was initially trying to change this.

The PSA has won the inclusion of a permanent elected non teacher representative on PAC. This will give SSOs and other non teaching staff a say about staffing and workload for this first time.

The Government has also agreed to keep an AEU rep on the PAC. The Principal will still have the ability to make decisions but SSOs will have a say about how these decision affect the non-teaching staff.

Funding and Resources
A number of items from the current "Commitment" in the EA will be committed to in an exchange of letters. "The Commitment" will not be part of the EA. These funded programs impact significantly on SSO hours and so this is a good step. The PSA will monitor and ensure funded programs continue.

Classification Review SSO1 to SSO2
The PSA was seeking a review of all SSO1 positions with the aim of them moving to SSO2 as a huge number of SSOs have been trapped at level 1 for their whole career. This is not in the agreement but in a letter from the Department. The letter will read as follows.

"The Department is undertaking a program for reviewing the classification of employees classified at SSO Level 1 and ECW Level 1. To be eligible for review as part of this program the level 1 employee must have been performing the duties of their current position:

  •  on an ongoing basis for at least 12 continuous months as at the date of approval of the new enterprise agreement; or
  •  on a temporary basis, provided that the employee has been engaged on that basis for a continuous period and who have commenced their third year of continuous service.



The Department's aim is that once a review process commences, it is conducted expeditiously and in a manner that limits the administrative burden on Principals and Preschool Directors. The Department has prepared resource materials for consultation that are aimed at simplifying the process and assisting site leaders to undertake the process. The documentation includes job and person specification templates that are based on work level definitions in the applicable award and classification information documentation. The Department will deploy a human resources professional during the period of the review to assist and provide guidance to Principals and Preschool Directors in undertaking the classification process.

It is expected that this process will be completed by 30 June 2020. Up until this date where an eligible employee is assessed as working at the SSO/ECW 2 level they will be reclassified to the first increment of Level 2 from the date of the reclassification or from the date of approval of a new enterprise agreement, whichever date is the earlier.

It is proposed that a working party of Department, AEU and PSA reps be established to determine a process for reviewing the classification of employees classified at AEW Level 1, and whether the AEW Level 2 is appropriate."

Conversion to permanency program for SSOs ECWs and AEWs
More than 60% of all SSOs are on contract, sometimes term by term. This was an area the PSA was determined to adress in this Agreement. The Department has agreed that it will continue the conversion to permanency program and deploy an HR professional during the period of the program to assist and provide guidance to Principals and Preschool Directors in undertaking the permanency process.

Summary
The negotiations on this agreement were protracted and difficult. While it would be better for elements of the offer to appear in the text of the agreement itself rather than agreed through an exchange of letters, the outcomes being offered for SSOs/AEWs/ECWs are reasonable and cover off on our major claims.

The offer also provides for some retrospective payments which is a positive outcome given the Government threatened not to back-pay.

The review of SSO1s and conversions to permanency will be major priorities for the PSA over the next six months.

Overall this is a good outcome for our SSO members in the current climate.

The PSA recommends that you vote YES to the Government offer.

How the voting process works.
The agreement is only accepted if 50% or more employees who vote in favour of accepting it. Your employer will be sending you a ballot paper asking you if you accept or reject the new agreement. It is only this secret ballot process that counts in the bargaining process.

What next?
The PSA will continue to campaign and push for the rights of SSOs to be respected as valuable staff in the education process. There are even many entitlements that SSOs should be getting right now that are being denied.

We have an allocated SSO organiser who is available to visit, provide information and hear your concerns, issues and suggestions. We have SSO Worksite Representatives. We have a team of industrial staff who understand your agreement and conditions who can answer your questions and advocate on your behalf.

The more SSOs who are in the union, the stronger we can be together.

What Has The Government Offered? An Outline For Ssos

Length of the agreement
The agreement is a three year agreement.

Pay
Wage increase

The PSA requested a fair wage increase. The Government offer is for five general salary increases as follows:

1.35% per annum from the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2018

1% per annum from on or after 1 May 2019

2.35% per annum from on or after 1 May 2020, 1 May 2021 and 1 May 2022

SSO Additional Salary Increments

Additional Salary Increments for Ancillary Classifications at levels 3 and above subject to the following criteria:

    The employee has attained and produced to the Department verification of a qualification specified by the Department as relevant and applicable to their level
    The employee has completed 12 months at the top increment of the class level applicable to the employee and
    The employee is not currently the subject of an unsatisfactory performance management process.

The PSA acknowledges that there are very few people at the higher levels of the SSO classification but this does create a better career path for qualified and experienced SSOs

Date of payment for reclassification
The payment date for reclassification will be the date of application rather than the date of decision. This was the PSA claim and brings it into line with other public sector workers. It will speed up decision making and mean that SSOs will not be penalised by slow decision making of managers.

Ability for time to be made up and receive payment for public holidays
The Agreement will say that SSOs/ECWs will be provided a reasonable opportunity to accrue TOIL. This was the PSA claim and will put an end to the SSOs being denied TOIL for working past your allocated hours.

Aboriginal Education Workers - classification structure
During life of agreement the Department in conjunction with the AEU and PSA will finalise agreed amendments to work level definitions of AEWs including the introduction of level 6 also includes the new salaries for AEW level 6.

Permanency criteria for AEWs
Amend clause 2.3.8 to require AEW permanency working party to meet on a six monthly basis

WORKLIFE FLEXIBILITY
The PSA claim was to increase the total paid and unpaid parental leave provisions to 104 weeks rather than 52 weeks and the Government has agreed to this.

They have also included the ability to transfer to a safe job for pregnant employees and the ability to access 10 days of accrued sick leave to care for sick family member. These were all in the PSA claim.

The PSA claimed special leave of 15 days for those experiencing Domestic/Relationship violence and the Government has agreed. This brings SSOs in line with other members who work in the Public Sector.

Communication, Consultation and Dispute Resolution
The Government offer has an increase in the time for resolving disputes from 48 hours to seven business days for a conference. The need to consult about any changes still remains the same. The Government was initially trying to change this.

The PSA has won the inclusion of a permanent elected non teacher representative on PAC. This will give SSOs and other non teaching staff a say about staffing and workload for this first time.

The Government has also agreed to keep an AEU rep on the PAC. The Principal will still have the ability to make decisions but SSOs will have a say about how these decision affect the non-teaching staff.

Funding and Resources
A number of items from the current "Commitment" in the EA will be committed to in an exchange of letters. "The Commitment" will not be part of the EA. These funded programs impact significantly on SSO hours and so this is a good step. The PSA will monitor and ensure funded programs continue.

Classification Review SSO1 to SSO2
The PSA was seeking a review of all SSO1 positions with the aim of them moving to SSO2 as a huge number of SSOs have been trapped at level 1 for their whole career. This is not in the agreement but in a letter from the Department. The letter will read as follows.

"The Department is undertaking a program for reviewing the classification of employees classified at SSO Level 1 and ECW Level 1. To be eligible for review as part of this program the level 1 employee must have been performing the duties of their current position:

    on an ongoing basis for at least 12 continuous months as at the date of approval of the new enterprise agreement; or
    on a temporary basis, provided that the employee has been engaged on that basis for a continuous period and who have commenced their third year of continuous service.


The Department's aim is that once a review process commences, it is conducted expeditiously and in a manner that limits the administrative burden on Principals and Preschool Directors. The Department has prepared resource materials for consultation that are aimed at simplifying the process and assisting site leaders to undertake the process. The documentation includes job and person specification templates that are based on work level definitions in the applicable award and classification information documentation. The Department will deploy a human resources professional during the period of the review to assist and provide guidance to Principals and Preschool Directors in undertaking the classification process.

It is expected that this process will be completed by 30 June 2020. Up until this date where an eligible employee is assessed as working at the SSO/ECW 2 level they will be reclassified to the first increment of Level 2 from the date of the reclassification or from the date of approval of a new enterprise agreement, whichever date is the earlier.

It is proposed that a working party of Department, AEU and PSA reps be established to determine a process for reviewing the classification of employees classified at AEW Level 1, and whether the AEW Level 2 is appropriate."

Conversion to permanency program for SSOs ECWs and AEWs
More than 60% of all SSOs are on contract, sometimes term by term. This was an area the PSA was determined to adress in this Agreement. The Department has agreed that it will continue the conversion to permanency program and deploy an HR professional during the period of the program to assist and provide guidance to Principals and Preschool Directors in undertaking the permanency process.

Summary
The negotiations on this agreement were protracted and difficult. While it would be better for elements of the offer to appear in the text of the agreement itself rather than agreed through an exchange of letters, the outcomes being offered for SSOs/AEWs/ECWs are reasonable and cover off on our major claims.

The offer also provides for some retrospective payments which is a positive outcome given the Government threatened not to back-pay.

The review of SSO1s and conversions to permanency will be major priorities for the PSA over the next six months.

Overall this is a good outcome for our SSO members in the current climate.

The PSA recommends that you vote YES to the Government offer.

How the voting process works.
The agreement is only accepted if 50% or more employees who vote in favour of accepting it. Your employer will be sending you a ballot paper asking you if you accept or reject the new agreement. It is only this secret ballot process that counts in the bargaining process.

What next?
The PSA will continue to campaign and push for the rights of SSOs to be respected as valuable staff in the education process. There are even many entitlements that SSOs should be getting right now that are being denied.

We have an allocated SSO organiser who is available to visit, provide information and hear your concerns, issues and suggestions. We have SSO Worksite Representatives. We have a team of industrial staff who understand your agreement and conditions who can answer your questions and advocate on your behalf.

The more SSOs who are in the union, the stronger we can be together.