Leave arrangements
 
There continue to be a number of staff with excess recreation and long service leave accruals. The commitment of our staff is undeniable.  However, it is important that we implement arrangements so we can better plan the taking of regular leave breaks. This will of course also assist in reducing a significant leave liability issue.
 
Long service leave: we are seeking to provide staff with the ongoing option to cash out some of their long service leave entitlement on the condition that the equivalent amount of leave is also taken.  We are also seeking to provide further flexibility to staff by reducing the minimum period of long service leave a staff member may take from the current period of two weeks to one day, recognising that staff often need to access leave in this way for a variety of personal reasons.  The union negotiators have not agreed to these claims.
 
Academic staff sick leave: academic staff at UQ receive 35 days per annum non-cumulative sick leave in addition to the 10 days per annum cumulative sick leave entitlement received by all staff.  We would like to remove this historical provision which benefits one section of our workforce and is clearly significantly above community and sector standards. In saying this we acknowledge that on some occasions staff may need to access special leave with pay.
 
Primary Care Giver  Leave: if the provision for 35 days per annum academic sick leave is removed, the University has offered to provide 12 weeks’ paid primary care giver leave for all eligible staff (Academic and Professional staff) who take on primary carer responsibility and who are not entitled under the current provisions of the Enterprise Agreement to the 26 weeks’ paid primary care giver leave. The union negotiators have withdrawn their claim for the introduction of this paid leave. The University's offer remains.

Organisational Change Management

The University is seeking a revised change management provision to favour early and continuing consultation throughout a change process with those staff directly affected and with union representatives rather than the current arrangements which focus on consultation through a meeting of a Standing Committee immediately prior to implementation of a change. We are not seeking to weaken our commitment to and practice of consultation. The proposed provisions guarantee a legally enforceable right for affected staff and the unions to be consulted on proposed significant organisational change, this includes:

  • A requirement that the University provide in writing, to staff and their representatives, any proposal for significant change, including by setting out the rationale, recommendations and implementation plan; and
  • A right for staff and unions to respond in writing to any proposals for significant change.

Our proposed provision will be underpinned by ongoing consultation -- consultation which occurs early and has the real capacity to influence the shape of a change process. 

 TESOL Language Teachers

The University is seeking to increase the annual contact hours of Continuing/Fixed-term Language Teachers from 750 to 830 hours along with the introduction of a comprehensive range of offsets for staff in exchange for this increase in hours.  The annual contact hours of our Continuing/Fixed Term Language Teachers has for some time been well below the annual contact hours of our competitors in the ELICOS sector. The University’s proposal also includes increased benefits for Casual Language Teachers.  Whilst we acknowledge the commitment to quality of our Language Teachers, we need to review and change our current arrangements to enable our Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ) to maintain its competitiveness, flexibility and sustainability.  The University has been seeking an increase in annual contact hours for Language Teachers over a number of bargaining rounds.
 
 Agreement Coverage
 
We are one of the few universities in the sector whose Enterprise Agreement covers all staff. We are seeking to exclude new appointments to senior academic staff (Executive Deans and above) and Level 10 professional staff positions from the Agreement. Provisions relating to the salaries of these staff are already outside of the Agreement.

This change would not affect existing senior staff whose contracts of appointment would remain unchanged, unless otherwise sought by the individual staff member.

Whilst our current Agreement allows us to enter contracts of employment with senior academic and professional staff on certain matters, it does not provide us and those staff with the flexibility to enter into contracts to the exclusion of the Agreement.  This will also the University and senior staff to genuinely negotiate comprehensive contract arrangements which reflect the performance and leadership expectations of our senior staff.