Victorian public school teachers have struck a landmark agreement to reduce face-to-face teaching hours and receive a boost to their salary.
The Australian Education Union Victorian Branch announced this afternoon that it had successfully negotiated an enterprise agreement with the Victorian Department of Education and Training for its school members that will see long sought-after improvements to working conditions.
The new agreement works to close the gender pay gap with superannuation paid to employees on parental leave for 12 months, with paid maternity leave increased to 16 weeks.
New provisions will give teachers dedicated time within working hours to undertake essential work in relation to their classes and provide improved professional autonomy. A pupil free day dedicated to assessment and reporting and the re-introduction of professional practice days will also assist teachers to better manage their workload.
For the first time, Victorian teachers will also be able to access hour for hour time in lieu to account for time spent working after hours undertaking school activities such as camps, excursions, and information nights.
According to the agreement, the state’s principals will benefit from more consultation about their workload when there are significant school operational changes and a funded commitment to reduce their administrative burdens.
“This is a significant agreement that teachers, principals, education support staff and parents and carers can all support,” AEU Victorian Branch President Meredith Peace said in a statement today.
“Our new agreement, endorsed today by the AEU Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council, makes important and significant inroads to address the excessive workloads faced by teachers. The agreement also delivers an important salary boost for our lowest paid education support staff.”
Peace said that for the first time in over 30 years, AEU members have campaigned for and achieved a reduction in face-to-face teaching hours.
“The one and a half hour decrease to be phased in during 2023 and 2024 will mean teachers have more time for preparation and planning for student learning within paid hours. We have also achieved a commitment for 2000 additional teachers for Victorian public schools,” Peace said.
“This is an historic agreement that will ultimately see our students receive greater support to achieve to their full potential.”