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Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022

Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022

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After more than a year of negotiations, bargaining concluded at the start of February on the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022 (VGSA), which covers members working within the Victorian School Nursing Programs as well as members employed directly by government schools.

ANMF (Vic Branch) joined the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) in negotiations with the Department of Education and Training. The Department’s offer was put to ANMF, AEU and CPSU members for consideration in early February.

The draft agreement and commitments provide significant improvements for ANMF members. The offer at the time of writing was being considered by AEU members.

What are the improvements for ANMF members?

Relevant to ANMF members, the draft agreement includes:

  • A 2 per cent pay rise per year, paid in two instalments (1 per cent in January and 1 per cent in July in each year) with eight salary increases – as set out below – effective from the commencement of the first pay period on or after the dates below:
    • 1% 1 January 2022
    • 1% 1 July 2022
    • 1% 1 January 2023
    • 1% 1 July 2023
    • 1% 1 January 2024
    • 1% 1 July 2024
    • 1% 1 January 2025
    • 1% 1 July 2025

Among the other key updates for ANMF members are:

  • An allowance of 1 per cent of annual salary to be paid as a lump sum in December each year (commencing December 2022) for ES ranges 2–8 [current ES 2–5] up to ES range 6. Information provided to ANMF by the Department and by members indicates that this will cover most if not all of the current nursing workforce.
  • The special schools allowance of $727 per annum, which is currently payable only to teachers, will be extended to education support class employees.
  • An increase to the commencement salaries from ES range 2 to range 6, beginning on the first pay period after 24 December 2021.
  • a long-sought adjustment to the salaries of primary school program nurses whose employment was transferred from the public service to the VGSA teaching service. These salaries will now be equal to those of the secondary school nursing program. Primary school program nurses who transferred at Education Support (ES) range 4–1 will progress to ES 4–3, and those who transferred at ES 4-2 will progress to ES 4– This adjustment will take effect from the first pay period on or after 1 January 2021, and will be backdated.
  • The inclusion of a Nurse Roles and Responsibilities Schedule, which provides a description of the range of duties that a school nurse can perform, either in the primary school program, secondary school program or working directly for a school at ES Range 4. The schedule contains specific descriptions of the roles of Nurse Manager (for individual schools) at Range 5 and Registered Nurse 4 at Range 4, as well as limited descriptions for Registered Nurse 3 at Range 3 and improved Enrolled Nurse commencing salary at Range 2–5 (current range 2–2).
  • Consolidation of ES range 1 and range 2 classifications
  • New pay points at ES range 3–6 and range 5–6
  • The special schools allowance of $727 per annum, which is currently payable only to teachers, will be extended to education support class employees.

Improvements to allowances

In addition to the previously mentioned special schools allowance, the proposed agreement also includes a range of allowance improvements that will benefit members. Highlights include:

  • An increased salary loading allowance (leave loading)
  • An increased and expanded first aid allowance
  • Intensive care allowance absorbed into new range 2 classification
  • Remote allowance to be specified in agreement

Other improvements

Among the more general updates to leave and other entitlements that will benefit members are:

  • Maternity leave increased from 14 weeks to 16 weeks
  • Partner leave increased from one week to four weeks
  • Superannuation contributions for first 12 months of primary caregiver parental leave
  • Other paid parental leave (for example, adoption leave) to increase from eight weeks to 16 weeks
  • Pre-natal leave to be increased from 35 to 38 hours and spouse pre-natal leave to increase to 15.2 hours from 7.6 hours
  • Inclusion of up to 52 weeks unpaid grandparent leave
  • Paid release for lactation breaks
  • Up to three paid cultural leave days for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees
  • Infectious diseases leave existing clause to be modified to provide for 6 months for all prescribed diseases (COVID is currently a prescribed disease)
  • Improved time in lieu provisions, including where working outside normal hours
  • Inclusion of Higher Duties in the agreement
  • Minimum payment of three hours for casual staff

ANMF members also secured commitments from the Department that:

  • it will undertake a review over the next 12 months to ensure nurses will have access to timely clinical nursing leadership
  • it will establish an allowance to compensate nurses for carrying and storing of heavy or bulky equipment, with the allowance is to be determined in consultation with ANMF
  • it will make all reasonable endeavours to backfill positions as soon as practicable and will monitor progress of this matter
  • nurses from Victorian School Nursing Programs will be employed at no less than ES Range 4.

What’s next?

It is expected that the offer will be put out for a vote of all employees in April. If the vote passes, an application will then be submitted to the Fair Work Commission. The agreement will come into effect seven days after Fair Work Commission approval, with the first salary increase payable under the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022 backdated to the commencement of the first pay period on or after 1 January 2022.