Taking stock of your rights at the end of the year
As the end of the year nears many of you will be taking stock and making changes – and not just course changes. Other areas needing consultation between the employer and the members include: the timetabling policy, use of units and allowances, changes to appraisal processes and paid delegate time. Below are examples of how you might approach these issues.
Schools must consult with members in developing timetable policies and any proposed changes to those policies. There have been recent changes to the legislation on rest and meal breaks which you can read about on the Employment New Zealand website (employment.gov.nz).
In our first example, the Crater High School branch requested a review of the number and length of duties to allow everyone time for a break and lunch each day.
The branch discussed how the duty roster might change. Suggestions included altering the size of zones teachers patrolled, roving teachers across more than one zone, using additional non-teaching staff and summer and winter rosters reflecting open and closed areas of the school grounds. Teachers with longer but fewer duties and others with duties of shorter duration but occurring more frequently were also suggested. Ideas were presented to the senior leadership team ahead of a staff meeting. The result was a new duty roster including several ideas to ensure students were supervised but all staff got rest and meal breaks.
Management units and allowances
The recent STCA settlement and your annual staffing allocation mean your school may have changes in units and management allowances for next year. Schools must consult with members on the use of these. There may be fresh ideas on the use of fixed-term units and allowances or perhaps an opportunity to make the allocation more equitable across departments/faculties or between curriculum, management and pastoral responsibilities.
At Rocky Road College the principal informed teachers by displaying the role or responsibility with the number of units and allowances on the staff notice board, where the management units (MUs) and middle management allowances (MMAs) were currently allocated and whether they were fixed-term. If MUs or MMAs became available teachers who were doing other additional roles might attract this remuneration. The branch felt they were not being consulted and not all teachers’ contributions recognised.
Two branch delegates met with the principal to discuss a more transparent process. They shared the PPTA resources on consultation and unit allocation. The principal and teachers collaborated to identify where additional work was required to meet the strategic and annual plans of the school. The senior leadership team then prioritised this work. Teachers could apply for these roles and responsibilities and an appointment process would be carried out. MUs and MMAs that were fixed term had a genuine reason written in the letter of appointment and this reason was shared along with the other information on the notice board.
Appraisal process reviews
The previous edition of the PPTA News details changes to the performance management requirements that will assist in reducing teachers’ workload. Teacher input into the review of appraisal systems is critical to developing a high trust, high confidence model. We know of conversations happening between branches and principals on proposed changes. If this has not yet happened in your school now is the time to raise it with the principal/teachers.
Paid delegate time
Schools are now required by the Employment Relations Act to provide time during the school day for PPTA delegates to undertake their union representational duties (see pg 4-5).
At Pebble Cove Area School, with 32 members, the branch chair meets with the principal once a fortnight for 20 to 30 minutes. This always takes place in the branch chair’s non-contact time as the branch chair prefers this to having to set work for their classes. The branch chair and principal discussed the new entitlement to paid delegate time. Together they looked at how the school could meet its obligation to provide this to the branch chair and other elected representatives on the branch committee. They agreed that an additional hour per week non-contact was reasonable for the branch chair to carry out their duties. The branch chair requested they did not have a form class to avoid split classes on the timetable. As this equates to more than one hour per week the branch chair could also relieve the form class of other committee members when needed.
At Peninsula Point High, with 68 members, the principal and branch chair are not sure how much time is required for branch representatives to carry out their duties. The principal has agreed the branch committee of five representatives will keep a time log of what they do in their elected roles and when a half or whole day is reached they will apply for leave in lieu. Union leave for events such as branch officer training and regional meetings that are known in advance can be applied for in the usual way at the school. A first review point will be held at the end of term one.
If you want more information or support on how to progress these issues in your school visit our ‘hours of work’ section contact your regional chair or field officer.