Paid union delegate time – what you need to know
Changes to the Employment Relations Act mean union delegates are now entitled to paid time to undertake union activities. Below are answers to some of the regular questions we receive.
Q. Has the school been given more time for this?
A. No, there is no extra staffing for this, but the new legislation requires the employer to accommodate this entitlement.
Q. Does it have to be given as timetabled non-contact?
A. No. It may be in whole or part provided this way but some of your delegated representational duties may not easily fit into timetabled slots. It is likely that some aspects of your representational role will require ad hoc release.
Q. How many delegates can we have?
A. The legislation does not specify how many. PPTA’s constitution identifies the branch chair, secretary, women’s officer and any other officers (delegates) it wants to appoint to support its members appropriately. This may be different in a small school and a very large school. Branches have a variety of structures and delegate committees that suit their members’ needs.
Q. Does only one person get time?
A. Not necessarily. It is time for designated representatives of the branch. How the time is allocated will depend on the structure of your branch and the way in which representational duties are allocated.
Q. What if we have been doing this work in our non-contacts until now?
A. The entitlement is for the provision of paid time during the working day to release you from your other job obligations to undertake the representational duties. This includes the teaching-related work that is done in your current non-contact time. The entitlement should be provided in addition to your ‘normal’ non-contact time, in the same way that your entitlement to a meal break is in addition to your non-contact time.
Q. When does this start?
A. The entitlement exists in law now. Structural changes to timetable allocations may need to be built in for next year but other ways of providing release time can be discussed for term 4, 2019.
Q. What if we have to perform representational duties outside of the normal school day?
A. There may be an agreement that a timetabled provision is sufficient to cover both in school and out of school day responsibilities. An alternative is for the provision of time in lieu if a decision of the employer requires representation of members outside normal hours.