Teachers and assistant teachers enterprise agreement negotiations

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Bulletins

These bulletins only apply to employees covered by the Northern Territory Public Sector (NTPS) Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2017-2021 Enterprise Agreement.

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The Northern Territory Public Sector Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2017-2021 Enterprise Agreement is due to expire on 11 October 2021 and it has been agreed with the Australian Education Union to commence bargaining for a new agreement.

Initial bargaining meeting

The initial bargaining meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date: Friday 25 June 2021
Time: 9.00am to 4.00pm
Location: Manunda Place, 38 Cavenagh Street, Darwin NT 0800

Bargaining representatives

The Fair Work Act 2009 imposes rights and obligations on employers, unions and employees with respect to the bargaining process. Attached for your information is the required statutory Notice of Employee Representational Rights, advising employees of the right to be represented in relation to the bargaining process.

Instruments of appointment for bargaining representatives can be forwarded before the initial meeting (or at any time during the bargaining process) by email to enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au or by mail to:

Attention: Employee Relations
Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment
GPO Box 4371
Darwin NT 0801

Bargaining representatives are requested to contact my office on 08 8999 4282 to confirm meeting dates.

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted on the OCPE website. Information on bargaining in general can be obtained on the Fair Work Commission website or you can call their information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
June 2021

I, together with representatives from my office and the Department of Education, met with the Australian Education Union (AEU) delegates on 25 June 2021.

We had a productive meeting with all parties listening and taking time to understand each other’s proposals. I advised that I am seeking an enterprise agreement that falls within the NTPS Bargaining Policy 2021- 2024 with improved conditions of employment and efficiency measures, where indicated.

We will continue to work constructively together over the coming months to finalise a proposed new agreement, and it is my intention to bargain / negotiate issues so I can issue a formal offer to employees no later than 10 October 2021.

It is important you are kept informed on the progress of negotiations as these proposals relate to your employment.

Details of the proposals

Below is an outline of the employer’s proposed conditions:

  • $1000 lump sum payment per annum
  • Where time off in lieu or flextime is not available, paid NAIDOC leave up to 3 hours to attend NAIDOC March and approved activities
  • Move the majority of leave related by-laws into the agreement
  • Improve compassionate leave provisions to include the death of an employee’s non-immediate family member or a person related to the employee (eg. aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or first cousin)
  • Improve existing provision to support family responsibilities - an employee to have the right to return from parental leave on a part-time basis for 6 months
  • New provision for pre-natal leave to allow for a spouse and a pregnant employee to access up to 8 hours leave for pregnancy related medical appointments
  • A 4 year agreement
  • Move foster or kinship carers leave into the agreement
  • A new entitlement for gender transition leave
  • Re-brand 'purchased leave' as 'flexible-lifestyle leave' to support work life balance. Improve existing entitlement to allow purchasing up to 8 weeks leave
  • Improve existing provision to allow an employee to access up to 2 hours per annum for mental health screening/cancer screening
  • Where time off in lieu or flextime is not available, a new provision to enable employees within 3 years of retirement age (currently 65) to access up to 2 hours paid leave per annum to seek independent financial advice on superannuation options
  • The agreement to have in place principles for a casual employee to have the right to request conversion to ongoing/fixed period employment after 12 months
  • Align professional development days for teachers – in addition to the professional development day prior to the commencement of the school year, a total of 3 compulsory development days to occur on the first day of the second, third and fourth term
  • Highly accomplished and lead teacher (HALT) Professional growth – introduce a requirement to have an annual teacher professional growth plan aligned to HALT career stages of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The allowance may be suspended where a professional growth process has not been undertaken
  • Assistant teachers incremental progression – introduce an option to progress through the increments with equivalent experience as determined by the chief executive
  • Mid-career teachers – introduce an option to progress through the increments with equivalent experience as determined by the chief executive
  • Move the majority of leave related by-laws relevant to the NTPS into the enterprise agreement (eg. leave without pay, miscellaneous leave and defence service leave)
  • Stand down/non-term time provision – introduce a new clause to specify eligibility
  • Electricity subsidy for employees in remote localities – extend the electricity subsidy to all employees in government supplied housing in remote localities to provide a consistent approach aligned to the general enterprise agreement
  • Union rights – introduce a new clause to cover attendance at executive meetings and conference at the discretion of the chief executive
  • Probation – align teacher probation to the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 1993 to reflect that probation only applies to ongoing appointments.

Bulletin 2

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au.

More information

Regular bargaining updates will be posted on the OCPE website.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
June 2021

I am pleased to report that negotiations with the Australian Education Union NT are continuing, with parties meeting on a weekly basis.

It is usual during negotiations for parties to indicate their ‘in principle’ agreement to particular claims.

‘In principle agreement’ is subject to the totality (or all) of the enterprise agreement matters under negotiation being acceptable to the relevant party (eg. employer).

As at the meeting of 4 August 2021, my representatives have advised unions, on a without prejudice basis that I agree ‘in principle’ to the following claims:

  • Incorporate, as appropriate, agreed outcomes from negotiations of the general NTPS enterprise agreement.
  • Allow greater flexibility to allow assistant teachers to progress through the incremental scale based on experience.
  • A new framework for managing ongoing employment of classroom teachers.
  • Examine a process for probation better aligned with the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 1993 and requirements of the Teacher Registration Board of the Northern Territory.

Lump sum payments and more benefits

I acknowledge that unions and employees may have been expecting proposals for salary increases from the employer, as per previous agreements. However, to support the NT Government’s budget reform agenda and to support job certainty for employees, I am proposing:

  • $4000 over 4 years (plus employer superannuation guarantee) - Employer superannuation guarantee is applicable to the lump sum payment. Due to the rules of the defined benefit schemes, employer superannuation guarantee is not applicable to the lump sum paid to NTGPASS and CSS members.
  • More benefits to employees to support work life balance and employees with caring responsibilities (eg. a range of new leave options including paid leave).
  • Inclusion of defence service leave, miscellaneous leave and leave without pay provisions into the agreement.

Further details of my proposals are outlined in Teachers and Assistant Teachers Bulletin 2.

The parties will continue to work constructively over the coming months to finalise a proposed new agreement.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au.

More information

Regular bargaining updates will be posted on the OCPE website.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
August 2021

I have agreed to the Australian Education Union claim that ongoing principals be covered by the new enterprise agreement.

I propose to manage this by:

  • Issuing an determination establishing a new ongoing structure for principals.
  • Including the determination within the dispute settlement provisions of the new agreement, which means that should there be a dispute about the application of the determination it can be referred to the Fair Work Commission.
  • Reviewing the operation of the determination during the life of the new agreement.
  • Consulting with the union and employees about variation of the determination during the life of the agreement.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au.

More information

Regular bargaining updates will be posted on the OCPE website.

Bargaining representatives

The Fair Work Act 2009 imposes rights and obligations on employers, unions and employees with respect to the bargaining process. Attached for your information is the required statutory Notice of Employee Representational Rights, advising employees of the right to be represented in relation to the bargaining process.

Instruments of appointment for bargaining representatives can be forwarded at any time during the bargaining process by email to enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au or by mail to:

Attention: Employee Relations
Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment
GPO Box 4371
Darwin NT 0801

Bargaining representatives are requested to contact my office on 08 8999 4282 to confirm meeting dates.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
October 2021

I am pleased to advise that on 3 November 2021, I made an offer to settle the Teachers and Assistant Teachers' Enterprise Agreement negotiations. We have worked hard and listened to your feedback and to the unions' claims and issues to arrive at a balanced offer, which seeks to provide good improvements for all employees.

The table below summarises the details of the 'without prejudice' offer, but if you wanted to read the details of the offer, you can also read the details of the offer PDF (639.4 KB).

Summary of the offer

  • $1,000 bonus per annum
  • $4000 over 4 years
  • Counts for superannuation*
    *Employer superannuation guarantee is applicable to the lump sum payment. Due to the rules of the defined benefit schemes, employer superannuation guarantee is not applicable to the lump sum paid to NTGPASS and CSS members.

Commitment if changes in the Wages Policy

  • Should there be a change to the NT Government's Wages Policy during the term of the agreement that provides for additional benefits above those contained in this offer (such as an increase to salaries above the value of the lump sum payment) these will be passed on through a determination.

Improvements to leave provisions

  • Compassionate leave:
    Increased from 3 to 5 days for immediate family or household member.
  • Compassionate leave:
    New provision for 3 days paid leave on the occasion of the death of an extended family member (eg. aunt, uncle, cousin) or in the case of miscarriage.
  • Domestic and family violence leave provisions (uncapped paid leave):
    Extended to include sexual violence outside the domestic setting.
  • NAIDOC leave:
    Up to 3 hours of paid leave per annum to attend a NAIDOC march and approved activities, where TOIL or flextime are not available.
  • Gender transition leave:
    • Support for eligible employees who wish to transition their gender.
    • Access up to 12 months leave, inclusive of 4 weeks paid and 48 weeks unpaid leave.
  • Improved war service leave to allow access to this leave for a subsequent war service injury.
  • Improved paid leave for voluntary emergency management activities to cover reasonable rest time.
  • Include leave by-law provisions in the agreement (eg. blood donation leave, defence leave, leave to engage in voluntary emergency management activities, jury service leave).
  • Health screening leave:
    • Improved provision.
    • 2 hours paid leave per year for the purpose of undertaking a health screening test associated with a public health screening program.

New kinship obligation leave

  • Definition of kinship to be included in the agreement.
  • 5 days paid leave per annum to attend Sorry Business or related purposes.

Foster and kinship carer's leave

  • 2 days paid leave to attend permanent care order interviews.

Improvements for parents

  • Double superannuation guarantee payments for during paid parental leave for the primary carer.
  • Payment of superannuation guarantee for unpaid parental leave for partners, up to 12 months.
  • Builds on current generous paid parental leave provisions (14 weeks after 12 months service, 18 weeks after 5 years services).
  • New pre-natal leave provision:
    Up to 8 hours paid leave for pregnancy related medical appointments.
  • Improved provision for employees returning from parental leave:
    Right to return on a part-time basis for at least 6 months, where the employee so choses (replacing 'right to request').
  • Permanent care:
    Improved to provide 2 days paid leave to attend permanent care order interviews.
  • Pre-adoption leave:
    Improved to provide paid leave to attend interviews or examinations required in order to obtain approval for the employee's adoption of a child.

Electricity subsidy remote localities

  • Electricity subsidy to apply to all remote localities, not just Borroloola.

Assistant Teacher incremental progression

  • Enable Assistant Teachers to progress through their increments, based on equivalent experience as determined by the CEO.

Stand down/non-term time

  • The agreement will include a clause specifying eligibility.

Secure employment

  • The agreement will include a clause that underpins my commitment to ongoing employment.

Flexible work improvements

  • Ability to purchase up to 8 weeks additional leave per year (currently 6 weeks) and can be taken in shorter periods under rebranded flexible lifestyle (purchased) leave.
  • All requests for flexible work, regardless of the circumstances, will require a response from the CEO (or delegate) within 21 days and may only be refused on reasonable business grounds.

Have your say -Your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au.

Let's stick together, keep job certainty and keep working for Territorians.

I am pleased to advise that on 23 November 2021, I made a further improved offer to settle the Teachers and Assistant Teachers' enterprise agreement negotiations.

I am offering a substantial improvement to the proposed lump sum payment for employees in a genuine attempt to settle negotiations.

This is a great offer for all employees that significantly advantages our lower paid workers. The proposed agreement is one of the most family supportive public sector agreements in the nation and will provide employees with greater certainty regarding employment conditions during the next 4 years.

Summary of the improvement

More money on offer - $10,000 over 4 years:

  • $4,000 lump sum payment and
  • $2,000 lump sum payment payable 12 months after the expiry of the previous agreement and annually during the term of the agreement.

Employer superannuation is also payable on the lump sum amounts (excluding defined benefit schemes).

All of the improvements and conditions previously offered remain, including the 3 days off for Christmas closedown. See full detail of my improved offer.

New offer

Next steps

I have asked parties to provide me with feedback on the improved offer by 25 November 2021. Then I would like employees to have a say by voting.

I would like to go to ballot as soon as possible because, if voted up, employees will receive the 3 days Christmas closedown provisions this year, and the first $4,000 lump sum payment in January 2022.

Have your say - your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au.

More Information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are available on the OCPE website.

As previously advised, I had asked parties to provide me with feedback on the improved offer to settle the Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ enterprise agreement negotiations. The AEU NT rejected the offer.

I am disappointed with this response because I believed that conducting a ballot for the new Agreement would be the right approach in all circumstances. A successful ballot, would have allowed employees to receive the 3 days Christmas closedown provisions this year, and the first $4,000 lump sum payment in January 2022.

In considering the union’s position and the time of year, I have decided to postpone the ballot until the early part of 2022. This will enable employees to focus on the end of the school year and the end-of-year school vacation.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au.

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are available on the OCPE website.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
November 2021

As reported in bulletin 6, an improved offer was made on 23 November 2021 for the new NTPS Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ enterprise agreement.

I have considered feedback provided by the Australian Education Union on my significantly improved offer, and after a postponement over the holiday period, it is now time to give you – the employees – the opportunity to have your say from 31 March 2022, and vote on the new NTPS Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2021 – 2025 Enterprise Agreement.

The new offer delivers significant improvements such as no reduction to current or future terms and conditions, improved leave conditions and greater flexibility for work life balance.

Summary of the improvement

More money on offer - $10,000 over 4 years:

  • $4,000 lump sum payment and
  • $2,000 lump sum payment payable 12 months after the notional expiry of the previous agreement and annually during the term of the agreement.

Employer superannuation guarantee is applicable to the lump sum payments (excluding defined benefit schemes).

All of the improvements and conditions previously offered remain, including the 3 days off for Christmas closedown.

See full detail of my improved offer.

New offer

Ballot process – your vote is confidential

The ballot process will be conducted by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC).

On Wednesday 23 March 2022 you will be sent information regarding the proposed NTPS Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2021 – 2025 Enterprise Agreement, including a link to the proposed agreement and an explanatory document highlighting the changes compared with your current agreement. Hard copies of these documents will also be available throughout your workplace.

The ballot process will be conducted online.  An email including a unique identifier will be sent to you at your NTPS email address on 31 March 2022, along with steps on how to cast and submit your confidential electronic vote. You will need your AGS number to complete the ballot process.

The online ballot will be emailed to you using the work email account details contained in myHR. If you won’t have access to this email during the ballot period or would prefer the electronic ballot to be sent to your private email account, contact NTEC on netvote.NTEC@nt.gov.au or 08 8999 7641 and provide your updated details as soon as possible (note you will need to provide your AGS number for NTEC to identify you).

Note: If you are accessing your emails through NTG webmail, the NTG system will not allow you to access the secure voting website. Employees will need to provide an alternative email address.

Timetable

The timetable for the ballot is:

Wednesday 22 March 2022 Distribution and access to the proposed Agreement and explanatory material.
Thursday 31 March 2022 Ballot opens - NTEC email you with voting instructions and unique voting token number issued.
Friday 8 April 2022 Ballot closes (10.00am) - results declared.

The ballot count will be conducted at the NTEC Office in Darwin, Level 3 TCG Centre, 80 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800. The Commissioner will advise employees of the ballot result via a bulletin and a notice on the enterprise bargaining website for the NTPS Teachers and Assistant Teachers' Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

More information

For further information on the proposed agreement or the ballot process, contact OCPE by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au or calling 08 8999 4282.

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are available on the OCPE website.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
21 March 2022

The purpose of this bulletin is to distribute the NTPS Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2021 – 2025 Enterprise Agreement for your consideration prior to casting your vote. For more information, read the proposed agreement PDF (3.0 MB).

To assist you to understand the differences between your current agreement and the proposed new agreement, you can read the explanatory notes PDF (899.0 KB) telling you what the changes are.

Printed copies of the proposed new agreement and explanatory notes will be available around workplaces for your information.

You can notify your manager or contact Workforce Relations by emailing them at employee.relations@nt.gov.au if you:

  • need assistance in reading or understanding the proposed agreement; or
  • do not have access to these documents.

You should read these documents to understand the agreement you will be voting on.

You can also find the following relevant documents referenced in the proposed agreement:

Contact OCPE by emailing them at enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au for further information or materials referenced in the proposed agreement.

Make your vote count

The ballot opens on Thursday 31 March 2022, and I encourage you to have your say by casting a vote.

Bulletin 8 contains information about the ballot process.

The electronic ballot will be emailed to you using the work email account details contained in myHR. If you won’t have access to this email during the ballot period or would prefer the electronic ballot to be sent to your private email account, contact NTEC by emailing them at netvote.NTEC@nt.gov.au or calling 08 8999 7641 and provide your updated details as soon as possible (note you will need to provide your AGS number for NTEC to identify you).

If the majority of employees who vote, vote yes and the Fair Work Commission approve the agreement, it will replace the current agreement.

New offer

More information

For further information on the proposed agreement, the explanatory notes, or the ballot process, contact OPCE by emailing them at enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au or calling 08 8999 4282.

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are available on the OCPE website.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
22 March 2022

The ballot for the proposed Northern Territory Public Sector Non-Contract Principals, Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2022 – 2025 Enterprise Agreement has now opened.

It is important that you have your say by voting on the proposed agreement.

Your vote needs to be received prior to the ballot closing at 10.00am on Friday 8 April 2022.

How to vote

You should have received an email from the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC) with instructions on how to vote electronically using the NTEC ‘Netvote’ system.

If you haven’t received an email or need assistance, contact the NT Electoral Commission by emailing netvote.NTEC@nt.gov.au or by calling 08 8999 7641.

Northern Territory Electoral Commission

The Northern Territory Electoral Commission is an independent authority who manages the ballot process and counting of the votes.

The NTEC ballot process ensures that all eligible employees’ personal details remain confidential, and that voting preferences cannot be identified.

I will advise eligible employees of the ballot result via a bulletin and a notice on the OCPE webpage for the Teachers and Assistant Teachers' Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

Make your vote count

Every vote is important and can make a difference, and I encourage you to take part in this ballot by casting your vote.

New offer

If the majority of eligible employees who vote, vote yes and the Fair Work Commission approves the agreement, the current agreement will be replaced.

I am offering $10,000 in lump sum payments over 4 years. To see what it’s worth, read the Teachers and Assistant Teachers' Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

More Information

Links to the proposed agreement, explanatory notes and relevant documents referenced in the proposed agreement are available in bulletin 9, and hard copies are available around the workplace.

For further information on the proposed agreement, explanatory notes or the ballot process, contact Damien MacRae at OCPE by calling 08 8999 4183.

All bulletins and information sheets on the progress of bargaining and proposals for the new agreement can be accessed on the OCPE webpage for the Teachers and Assistant Teachers' Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
31 March 2022

The ballot for the proposed NTPS Non-Contract Principals, Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2022 – 2025 Enterprise Agreement closes at 10.00am on Friday 8 April 2022.

If you haven’t already voted then I encourage you to take part in this ballot by casting your vote.

Make your vote count

If majority of eligible employees who vote, vote yes, and the agreement is approved by the Fair Work Commission, the significant improvements to terms and conditions of employment for Non-Contract Principals, Teachers and Assistant Teachers will be implemented.

Every vote is important and can make a difference, and I encourage you to take part in this ballot by casting your vote.

New offer

If the vote isn’t supported the current agreement will continue to apply, the lump sum payments can’t be passed on nor the offered improvements to conditions.

Northern Territory Electoral Commission

If you have not received an email to cast your vote, call the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC) on 08 8999 7641.

The NTEC ballot process ensures that all eligible employees’ personal details remain confidential, and that voting preferences cannot be identified.

The commissioner will advise non-contract principals, teachers and assistant teachers of the ballot result via a bulletin and a notice on the OCPE webpage for the Teachers and Assistant Teachers' Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

More Information

Links to the proposed agreement and explanatory notes are available in bulletin 9 and hard copies are available around the workplace.

For further information on the proposed agreement, explanatory notes or the ballot process, contact Damien MacRae at OCPE by calling 08 8999 4183.

All bulletins and information sheets on the progress of bargaining and proposals for the new agreement can be accessed on the OCPE webpage for the Teachers and Assistant Teachers' Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
5 April 2022

I advise the proposed NTPS Non-Contract Principals, Teachers and Assistant Teachers’ 2021 – 2025 Enterprise Agreement was not approved by a majority of eligible employees who voted in the ballot process.

The results of the ballot conducted by the NT Electoral Commission was as follows:

Decision Number of votes
Yes 208
No 1451
Total 1659

Next steps

I believe conducting a ballot for the new agreement was the right approach in all circumstances, it allowed eligible employees to have their say on job certainty and improvements to terms and conditions of employment for non-contract principals, teachers and assistant teachers.

While I respect the views of voters, I am disappointed that I am unable to provide the $6,000 in lump sum payments to employees this year ($4,000 upon approval of the enterprise agreement and a further $2,000 in October), as well as the raft of new and improved conditions. Especially given some employees within the coverage of this enterprise agreement are low-income earners.

I thought that the offer was a good one. It was consistent with the NTPS wages policy.

Thanks to everyone involved

Thank you to all non-contract principals, teachers and assistant teachers who participated in the ballot. It is important that employees take part in the enterprise agreement process and your involvement is appreciated.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Easter.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
8 April 2022


Last updated: 10 May 2022

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