Teachers Agreement Changes
Section 28 of the Teachers Agreement 2023 allows Teaching Staff to undertake up to 8 additional instructional hours and get paid for that work at a penalty rate. This will be reviewed before the end of 2023.
This is to “provide greater flexibility with staff arrangements due to the impact of COVID-19, additional Instructional Load may be undertaken by teaching staff…”.
Teaching Staff are Teachers, ASTs, or APs. Principals are not covered.
How does it work?
Teaching staff cannot be directed to undertake additional hours of instructional load. Teaching staff have to consent.
Principals will be asking staff if they are willing to consider working additional hours so they can create a register of those with an interest in undertaking additional hours.
Note: Principals or other appropriate senior staff have to discuss timetabling arrangements with an employee who is willing to register an interest in undertaking additional instructional load.
So what happens?
Firstly, the Principal has to decide if the school is unable to engage a suitable relief teacher to cover a classroom teacher’s absence from normal duty.
If the answer is yes, they can then ASK an employee if they are willing to undertake additional instructional load of up to 8 hours in a fortnight.
The work has to firstly be offered to a Band 1 Teacher who has indicated agreement to work additional instructional load. *
Only if no Band 1 Teacher is willing to undertake the additional instructional load can it then be offered to an AST.
And only if there is not a willing Band 1 Teacher or AST, the work can be offered to an AP.
Can I say no even if I am registered as interested?
Once you have agreed to undertake additional hours, you have to do them, UNLESS you give no less than 24 hours’ notice to the principal or other appropriate senior staff member.
Note 2: there is no increase in DOTT time that comes with the additional hours.
Rate of Pay
For Band 1 Teachers, the extra hours are paid at the rate of 182% of their ordinary rate for each additional hour worked.
For AST’s and AP’s it is 182% of the Band 1 Level 13 ordinary rate for each additional hour worked.
The clause is a temporary measure to deal with the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19 and difficulty in employing relief staff. It is due to be reviewed before the end of 2023, and AEU representatives will move to amend or cease its operation if it is found to have negative effects for members.
This change comes with risks. Teachers’ mental health has never been under more pressure than it is now. Teachers are leaving the profession due to the impact of workload already.
Please consider your mental health before you agree to be on the register or agree to undertake specific additional hours. Given current stress levels, if you are not sure that you will cope then do not put yourself on the register; your mental health is too important.
Principals and senior staff also please consider the mental health and morale of your teachers. While many are still resilient and strong at current workloads, will the additional hours be too much?
In this period of heightened stress and anxiety, teaching staff and management need to work carefully when managing additional instructional load.