Covid-19 Guide for Teacher Aide & School Cleaner Delegates – United Workers Union

Covid-19 Guide for Teacher Aide & School Cleaner Delegates

COVID-19 GUIDE

FOR TEACHER AIDE & SCHOOL CLEANER DELEGATES

Congratulations! United Workers Union teacher aides and school cleaners secured access to additional entitlements to ensure members’ health and safety, conditions and job security through the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Ensuring United Workers Union members are aware of these entitlements and empowered to respond if something seems unfair is a key priority right now.

As a delegate you have a vital role to play to ensure teacher aide and school cleaner members at your school understand the additional entitlements and know how to ensure they are applied.

We have developed this kit to provide you with all the information and advice you need to undertake this important role.

To ensure all members are accessing these entitlements, delegates need to work together with members in your school to discuss these measures with your Principal and how they will be the implemented locally.

This COVID-19 Delegate Kit is a live document that will be updated online as new information becomes available.

 

KEY ENTITLEMENTS

 

Return of Students in Term 2 2020

Information:

Prep, Year 1, Year 11 and 12  returned to school on 11 May 2020.

Students in Years 2 to 10 will return to schools from 25 May 2020.

Some children may still be learning from home if they have medical reasons not to attend school.

Year 11 and 12 will return to boarding schools on 25 May 2020, and years 7-10 may also return to boarding schools from 8 June.

School swimming pools may open for one class at a time only.

It is critical that all members are practicing all hygiene and social distancing measures where possible, particularly in relation to other adults.

Now, more than ever, it is important for delegates and members to work together in schools to gather members’ views and discuss with your Principal and Business Manager how these changes will be implemented in your school. This includes members having a say in all new measures and timetabling to ensure decreased contact between classes and year levels, minimising gathering points and maximising airflow.   It is also vital to ensure members’ health and safety and entitlements are protected and that members are being consulted and having a say about how these changes will affect them.

Click here for more information on the Department’s operating guidelines for Term 2.

Advice:

It’s critical that delegates and members are working together in schools to ensure you are discussing these measures, this includes:

  • Delegates gather members’ views about how teacher aides and school cleaners will be working with the return to school-based learning and organise a consultation meeting with your Principal

If you don’t have a teacher aide or school cleaner delegate, talk to your UWU organiser about electing one

Tip: Set up a group chat online with members from your school to keep in touch and so that everyone can have their say about what happens at your school. Ask your organiser for help.

 

 

Teacher aide and school cleaner duties for Term 2

Information:

Principals will determine local working arrangements in consultation with teacher aides and school cleaners and these arrangements need to balance the need for a physical staff presence with health and hygiene requirements.

Advice:

The UWU Education Industry Committee met this week to endorse suggested duties for teacher aides and school cleaners in Term 2 . These have been provided to the Department to share with all schools.

It is important that United Workers Union teacher aides and school cleaners are getting together in schools and consulting with principals and business managers about the important work that teacher aides and school cleaners will be doing to ensure that students are supported to continue their education at home and at school, all members are accessing their entitlements, and schools are safe and clean for everyone.

Members need to work together to discuss these arrangements with your Principal and how they will be implemented locally to ensure all the important work you will do under this new model is clearly stated in the school’s plan.  If you need further assistance speak to your union delegate or organiser.

 

ADO

Information:

UWU members and delegates have fought hard to ensure all school cleaners and teacher aides will continue to accrue ADO in accordance with their 2020 ADO Agreement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has issued guidelines providing this advice:

“Some entities have unique and specific hours of work arrangements such as Accrued Days Off (ADO) for school holiday periods, including those in the Department of Education, who rely on those arrangements for continuity of income and these should remain honoured during the health pandemic to mitigate adverse effects on the employee.

Existing ADO accruals should continue to be honoured.”

This includes school cleaners and teacher aides who are working in schools as well as those who have accessed leave or are unable to attend work due to COVID-19. The Department has published FAQs that state:

“All school-based non-teaching staff (including cleaners, teacher aides and school-based public servants) who have accessed leave due to COVID-19 will be deemed to have accrued ADO in accordance with their 2020 ADO Agreement.”

Advice:

Delegates should inform United Workers Union teacher aides and school cleaner about these arrangements and ensure every member is accessing their ADO entitlements.  Delegates should contact regional office if schools are not complying.

 

Special Schools and Special Education Programs

Information:

United Workers Union has been in negotiations with the Department about enhanced health and safety arrangements for members working in special schools and special education programs.

It’s critical that members working in these settings have access to adequate PPE, hygiene and cleaning equipment so you can do your jobs safely.  This includes:

  • Access to Specialised Health Procedure training delivered by a registered nurse.
  • Appropriate PPE for teacher aides undertaking these procedures including gloves, plastic aprons, masks and goggles or face shields.
  • Additional hours for school cleaners to ensure even greater frequency of cleaning.

Advice:

Delegates and members need to be working together to ensure members are safe at work and to ensure:

  • Consultation is occurring with your United Workers Union school cleaner and teacher aide Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).
  • If you don’t have school cleaner and teacher aide HSRs in your school, talk to your organiser about electing them.
  • If you don’t have adequate PPE and hygiene supplies, contact your Business Manager who can contact the Department’s hygiene supply hotline.
  • Additional school cleaning hours are being distributed equitably to existing school cleaners provided in the agreement.

 

Temporary Contracts

Information:

Principals have been advised that temporary employees employeed using school funds, including I4S, should have their employment continued if they would normally have been renewed if not for the impact of COVID-19. That includes all contracts for temporary school cleaners and teacher aides with two or more years’ continuous service as well as others who would normally have been renewed in Term 2. This applies even if members are not able to attend school due to closure or other absence.

Advice:

Members fought hard to ensure temporary contracts have been extended. Delegates should inform United Workers Union temporary teacher aides and school cleaners about this entitlement and contact regional office if schools are not complying.

 

Relief Staff and additional hours

Information:

Principals have been advised to engage additional relief staff to assist with additional

supervision needs that may be required due to vulnerable staff working off-site and to manage staff absences. For teacher aides and school cleaners this means additional hours must be provided to cover vulnerable staff who are not working in the school. Teacher Aide and School hours must be maximised before any new staff are engaged.

It is vital that current temporary and casual members are also continuing to work their current hours to ensure there are sufficient staff available to cover staff absences.

Members should get together and talk to your principal about the plan for your school.

New measures and timetabling to ensure decreased contact between classes and year levels, minimising gathering points, to provide supervision and direction at entry and exit to the school and to maximise airflow may require additional teacher aide hours.

Advice:

It’s critical that delegates are working with members to ensure members are being consulted about changes and additional hours are being provided to cover vulnerable staff absences and to ensure any new measures and timetabling are properly resourced.

Delegates also need to work with members to ensure maximisation is happening in your school, temporary contracts are being extended and temporary and casual members are continuing to work their normal hours to ensure staff absences can be covered.

 

Health and Safety

Information:

The Union backed by delegates and members has been working with the Department to ensure members have access to adequate PPE, hygiene and cleaning equipment so you can do your jobs safely.

If your school has urgent hygiene supply needs, it’s important that delegates work with your Business Managers who can contact the Department’s hygiene supply hotline for urgent needs.

It is important that members are practising social distancing in the school environment.

The public health advice about social distancing in schools has been updated as follows:

  • 1.5m social distancing is no longer required between students
  • All social distancing measures (including 1.5m separation) remain the same for all adults in schools, including teacher aides and school cleaners.

The new advice is in the Department’s updated Term 2 2020 Operating Guidelines for Queensland State Schools  (see page 4-5 – On-site health and safety measures).

Advice:

Members should work together with your United Workers Union school cleaner and teacher aide Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) to ensure members are being consulted about health and safety matters that affect you and all members are protected.

If you do not have school cleaner and teacher aide HSRs in your school talk to your organiser about electing them.

It’s critical that delegates and members are working together in schools to ensure you are discussing these health and safety measures, this includes:

  • Delegates are seeking the views of members and organising a consultation meeting with your Principal.
  • Consultation is occurring with your United Workers Union school cleaner and teacher aide Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).
  • If you don’t have school cleaner and teacher aide HSRs in your school, talk to your organiser about electing them.

 

School Closures

Information:

Where an employee (including a casual) is directed to not attend their workplace, the employee may be directed to attend an alternative work location or undertake flexible work arrangements. If an alternative work location or flexible work arrangement is not available, the employee will receive their regular remuneration with no debit to leave balances.

Casuals who are regularly engaged will be paid for the last week of Term 1 even if they were not required at work. Where the Department cannot identify the rostered shifts that a regular casual would normally have worked, they will be paid based on their work pattern. An adjustment will be made in the first pay period in May for affected casual members.

Advice:

Delegates should inform United Workers Union casual teacher aides and school cleaners about this entitlement and check that casual members have been properly paid.

 

Hardcopy Payslips

Information:

Due to COVID-19 and changes to working arrangements for payroll staff, Education staff will receive electronic payslips via email instead of hardcopy payslips.

Payslips can also be viewed on MyHR Self Service on OnePortal.

Members can choose to receive payslips through their work email address or a personal email address by updating their details on MyHR Self Service under the tab “Personal Information” followed by “Phone and Email”.

Exceptions are school cleaners and teacher aides who currently only receive hardcopy payslips who will continue to receive them in hardcopy. Other members who wish to continue to receive hard copy payslips can call Payroll and request a hard copy be sent.

Advice:

We understand this may be concerning to some members.

Delegates should identify teacher aide or school cleaner members who wish to continue to receive hard copy payslips and encourage these members to call 1800 906 033 to request a hard copy.

 

Vulnerable workers

Information:

Members who are vulnerable or live with a vulnerable person should not be in the workplace and should discuss options with their Principal to allow working from home.  You are entitled to alternative or flexible work arrangements to remove you from risk of exposure to COVID-19, including working from home arrangements.  Where alternative work is not available, members will be entitled to paid special leave.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has defined vulnerable people as:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
  • People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions. The most current definition of ‘chronic medical conditions’ is on the Department of Health website
  • People 70 years and older
  • People with compromised immune systems (see Department of Health website).

Other members who may be medically vulnerable, including those with chronic health conditions, should seek their own medical advice and provide this to your principal so that flexible working arrangements can be made.

Members who are working from home will be required to develop a work from home plan.

Vulnerable members who voluntarily wish to return to work can do so if they have a medical certificate from their doctor.

Principals cannot request vulnerable members to return to school if they provide a medical certificate.

Advice:

Teacher aides and school cleaners who are vulnerable workers should meet with your Principal to arrange working from home.

Delegates can assist by ensuring all members are aware of this information and identifying all teacher aides and school cleaners who are vulnerable workers and help them to arrange working from home.

Can someone be sent home if they present to work unwell?

Information:

Yes – this includes sick children, staff and parents.  Schools have extra powers to ensure sick children can be sent home.

Advice:

All members who are unwell should remain away from work and apply for sick leave. If you do not have sick leave then apply for paid special leave. This is important to protect everyone.

What if I have to care for a family or household member who is a vulnerable person? What leave can I take?

Advice:

If members are required to be the primary carer for a vulnerable person they should talk to the Principal to arrange working from home. Where this is not available, members should apply for paid special leave.

 

School cleaning supplies

Information:

United Workers Union has been working closely with the Department to ensure adequate approved hygiene and cleaning products are available in all schools for the management of COVID-19.

Schools must be sourcing approved products (chemicals and cleaning consumables) from the Standing Offer Arrangement (SOA) suppliers:

  • Peerless Jal through WINC.
  • Symbio through Bunnings (interim arrangement that will remain in place until advised, while the department abides by the COVID-19 response).

Schools must be using approved products (chemical and cleaning consumables) for cleaning:

  • General areas – Strobe (Peerless Jal) or Astra (Symbio).
  • Amenities areas – Vitality (Peerless Jal) or Hercules (Symbio).
  • Sanitiser for surfaces can be used in food preparation and eating areas – S-Clean (Peerless Jal) or Concept (Symbio).

Schools should NOT be sourcing non-approved products from other suppliers as they don’t meet the requirements for COVID-19 control.

If your school is having issues with adequate supplies, it’s important that UWU school cleaners work together and meet with your business manager who can contact the Department’s hygiene supply hotline for urgent needs.

Advice:

It’s critical that school cleaner delegates and members work together in schools to ensure you have access to the correct cleaning supplies and are discussing these arrangements locally. This includes:

  • Delegates gather members’ views and organise a consultation meeting with your Business Manager.
  • Delegates report back to members and make sure all agreed measures are being implemented
  • If you don’t have a school cleaner delegate, talk to your UWU organiser about electing one.
  • Consultation with your United Workers Union school cleaner Health and Safety Representative (HSR)
  • If you don’t have school cleaner and teacher aide HSRs in your school, talk to your organiser about electing one.

 

Additional cleaning hours

Information:

School cleaner members play a critical role in helping to manage this health crisis.

United Workers Union has been working with the Department to ensure there is adequate cleaning time for school cleaners to progressively clean across the school day.

We are ensuring the additional hours are being distributed equitably to existing school cleaners provided under the agreement.

The process is as follows:

  1. Offered to existing permanent cleaners equitably, currently working less than 30 hours per week;
  2. Offered to existing permanent cleaner equitably, including those working greater than 30 hours per week;
  3. Consideration of permanent cleaners currently seeking transfer to your site;
  4. Offered to existing temporary or casual cleaners.
  5. Offered to new temporary or casual employee.

We are also working with the Department to ensure there is adequate PPE, hygiene and cleaning equipment so you can do your jobs safely.

Advice:

It’s critical that school cleaner members are working together to ensure maximisation is happening in your school and you are protected and have all the adequate hygiene and cleaning equipment.

 

COVID-19 Leave Entitlements

Information:

Teacher aides and school cleaners confirmed with COVID-19

If you are unwell as a result of the coronavirus, you should apply for sick leave as per standard practice.

If you do not have sick leave balances available to cover the period of absence, you can apply for up to 20 days paid special pandemic leave. Casuals can also access this entitlement for the shifts they would have worked.

Teacher aides and school cleaners required to self-isolate

Where a teacher aide or school cleaner member is required to self-isolate in accordance with health advice and they are not sick, and they are not able to undertake flexible work arrangements, they should apply for paid special leave. Casuals can also access this entitlement for the shifts they would have worked.

Any Teacher Aide or School Cleaner who chooses to travel to a known Covid-19 “Hot spot” or state must use their own leave entitlements to self-quarantine when returning to Queensland. If they don’t have enough leave then Special leave “No pay” will be approved.

Teacher aides and school cleaners required to care for a dependent

Where a teacher aide or school cleaner member is required to care for a child as a result of a school closure, and they are not able to undertake flexible work arrangements, they can apply for carers leave or access paid special pandemic leave if carers leave has been exhausted. Casuals can also access this entitlement for the shifts they would have worked.

Teacher aides and school cleaners already on leave and required to self-isolate

Where a teacher aide or school cleaner member is already on leave and required to self-isolate, you should continue your planned leave.  If the existing leave does not cover the 14 day exclusion period, you can apply for paid special leave for the remainder of the exclusion.

What leave applies if my school closes or goes student free (including casuals)?

If your school closes or goes student free, you may continue to work flexibly at home or at school to do your job in a different way.

If flexible work arrangements are not available, you will still be paid for the shifts you would have worked if not for these changes due to COVID-19.

What do I do if my child’s school closes and mine stays open?

Where teacher aides or school cleaners are required to care for a child as a result of a school closure, you should work from home if possible or apply for carers leave.  If you do not have enough paid leave entitlements to cover the period of absence, you can apply for paid special pandemic leave. Casuals can also access this entitlement for the shifts they would have worked.

What are casual teacher aides and school cleaners entitled to?

Casuals can access paid special leave or paid special pandemic leave for shifts they would otherwise have worked.

What happens when all other paid leave accruals have been exhausted?

Members should apply for paid leave or paid special leave if they need to take a longer period of leave due to COVID-19. Pro-rata long service leave can also be accessed when all other paid leave accruals have been exhausted, regardless of length of service.

Do I need to provide a medical certificate if I am absent from work due to COVID-19?

Where teacher aides and school cleaners access Special Pandemic Leave as a result of illness, or need to care for ill family or household members, they may not be required to provide a medical certificate.

Example – where a school has closed and you need to provide care for your child, an email/letter/other advice may be considered appropriate.

Advice:

What do I need to do right now?

Members have fought hard to achieve these great wins. The next step is to work together with members to ensure all teacher aides and school cleaners know their entitlements and are being consulted locally about COVID-19 measures.

KEEP INFORMED by reading emails

WORK TOGETHER with members in your school to discuss your schools plan around COVID-19 with your Principal, and how the plan will be implemented locally.

SHARE THE TASC FACEBOOK PAGE with other workers in your school.

ENSURE ALL TEACHER AIDES AND SCHOOL CLEANERS ARE MEMBERS of United Workers Union as it’s never been more important in this uncertain time. Visit unitedworkers.org.au/joinform or call (02) 8204 3001.

Tip: Set up a group chat online with members from your school to keep in touch and so that everyone can have their say about what happens at your school. Ask your organiser for help.

 

Consultation

Members have fought hard to ensure there are arrangements in place so no teacher aide or school cleaner member is disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19.

The next step is to work together with members in your school to ensure all teacher aides and school cleaners know their entitlements and are being consulted locally about COVID-19 arrangements.

Delegates need to work together with members to discuss these arrangements with your Principal and how they will be implemented locally to ensure all the important work you will do under this new model is clearly stated in the school’s plan.

 


Congratulations!  United Workers Union teacher aides and school cleaners won a guarantee from the Minister that no teacher aide or school cleaner member will be disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19.  These are great wins for United Workers school cleaner and teacher aide members.


 

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