LMBR update No. 6 2017

Sep 21, 2017

LMBR update No. 6 2017 – September 2017 (PDF version)

The PSA holds regular meetings with the Department on LMBR and this bulletin provides a brief update on the outcome from those meetings.

Current LMBR issues

  • Cash flow budgeting

The PSA has been advised that SAMs are creating annual budgets (cash flow budgeting). That is above SAMs’ statement of duties. Cash flow budgeting is the responsibility of the Principal and cannot be delegated to SAS staff.

The PSA is seeking a clarification from the Department on the specific roles of the Principal and SAM under LMBR.


Concerns have been raised about the extra workload on SAMs/SAOs created by FIORI.

The Department advised there are 2 issues with FIORI in relation to audit requirements.

Firstly, FIORI’s access is to specific screens governed by the designation of the user. Currently, this is not working and a user has full access to all 7 screens and that has caused workload problems. It was designed for a SAO to input data of a purchase on one screen, a SAM to approve it on another and payment by Shared Services a third screen etc.

Secondly, there is no clear guidance on what specific records need to be filed for audit compliance. The Audit Unit have audited the 229 Schools and from that they will develop further advice to schools.

  • Finding QRGs

The PSA raised concerns that there are far too many separate forms in different platforms and requested a printable flow chart showing where specific forms are located in the system.

The Department advised the QRG Deployment Team will be transferred to LMBR Support at the end of 2017. They will review the storage and access of forms and it is unknown what that will look like or when it will be introduced.

  • Finding reports

The Report module is not in alphabetical order and members have suggested that the top 5 reports should be at the top with a link to an Adobe session. Preferably, the reports would be grouped into classes, for example, Assets.

The Department advised it would find out if our request can be achieved.

  • Working With Children Check (WWCC)

The PSA raised concerns about the SAM/SAO requirement to enter the details each time persons with WWCC attend schools. It seems practicable that those person’s details are entered once in EBS4 and each time they attend the school their details are found and entered for the particular date.

The Department is to investigate if this is legally feasible.

Member feedback

Your feedback to us forms an important part of our ongoing discussions with the Department to address the ongoing matters with LMBR. Members can send feedback directly through our website HERE or by email to schools@psa.asn.au.

SAS Staff – Pay leave simplification for long-term temporary employees

Sep 20, 2017

SAS Staff – Pay leave simplification for long-term temporary employees – September 2017 (PDF version)

As has been previously reported to members, the Department of Education (DoE) is in the process of simplifying pay and leave entitlements for long-term temporary (LTT) SAS Staff to “smooth” wages over school terms and vacation periods. This change will bring LTTs in line with the permanent SAS Staff.

Permanent SAS Staff went through the same process back in 1986 where the DoE proposed all SAS Staff would be remunerated under the new system providing for the payment of a constant weekly rate throughout the year. The system was based on the general principle that, on the whole, no SAS Staff member would either be advantaged or disadvantaged in terms of total remuneration. The system would remove the present fluctuations between the rate paid during school terms and that during school vacations.

This will mean that like permanent SAS Staff, LTT employees will receive the same pay whether they are on duty during school terms or off duty during student vacation periods.

The pay and leave simplification change will be implemented once the new HR/Payroll system has been rolled out across the DoE and into schools.

New HR/payroll system

The DoE and the PSA met on 25 August 2017. This meeting provided an overview of how the new HR/payroll system will be rolled out across the state.

Key information

  • Rollout will be phased over four releases. Release one is for DoE Corporate and a small sample of 32 schools. System testing before go live is approximately 98 per cent complete.
  • In the lead up to Release 1, live testing of the system will be undertaken from August to October 2017. The DoE intends to run parallel systems for a defined period so any bugs in the new system can be readily identified and eliminated.

Release dates are as follows:

  1. 23 November 2017 – 5%
  2. March 2018 – additional 10%
  3. April 2018 – additional 35%
  4. May 2018 – 50% (all remaining schools)
  • Release 1 has some sample high schools and primary schools which have been selected based on staffing stability.
  • As part of the move to the new system, the majority of HR/payroll functions that take place in schools will transition from manual forms to online. The DoE believes this should allow for greater flexibility and efficiency in schools.
  • The DoE has advised no additional HR/payroll responsibilities will be devolved to schools as part of the move to SAP. Only existing HR processes in schools will be required under the new system, such as leave applications and HDA process, remain the same. Schools will not need to undertake the payroll function; this will still be processed by HR as has always been the case.
  • The DoE is developing posters, FAQs and other learning materials for the training. A manager’s toolkit is also being prepared.

What next?

In preparation of the new HR/payroll system, PSA members are encouraged to login to check that your BSB and bank account number for your pay is current. Updating your banking details will help ensure a smooth transition when your school goes live with the new HR/payroll system.

If your banking details are incorrect, you risk not receiving your pay on time!

Not a member? JOIN online!

$50 million announcement no relief for schools staff

Sep 12, 2017

PSA Media release

The announcement by NSW Minister for Education, Rob Stokes about reducing the administrative burden on Principals, demonstrates his lack of understanding of how our public schools really function said the Public Service Association (PSA).

The union was responding to the Minister’s announcement that $50 million in flexible funding is to be provided to Principals to employ business managers.

“The fact is School Administrative and Support staff (SASS) rather than Principals shoulder the responsibility for the daily functioning of our public schools,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“School Admin Managers and School Admin Officers expertly undertake the financial and administrative role in schools while General Assistants handle maintenance and the upkeep of school grounds.

“School finance was delegated to schools as part of the Local Schools, Local Decisions initiative which saw Principals get a pay rise when in effect, these tasks were delegated to School Admin Managers and School Admin Officers.

“The Minister is clearly unaware of this yet is throwing $50 million at an issue he doesn’t understand.

“What is needed is better resources and more existing staff.

“Further training for SAS Staff such as School Admin Managers and School Administrative Officers would cost far less than $50 million”.

For the attention of all School Administrative and Support Staff, including General Assistants

Sep 11, 2017

PSA Pay equity for SAS Staff – September 2017 (PDF version)

PSA Pay Equity for SAS Staff

The PSA appeared in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) last week to continue its case for pay equity for SAS Staff.

Normally the IRC is prevented from granting increases in wages above 2.5 per cent without a trade-off in conditions or other employee costs. One exception is where the increases claimed are to rectify gender-based undervaluation.

The PSA has made an application to vary the SAS Staff Award based on the equal remuneration principle and is required to prove SAS staff are undervalued on a gender basis. The PSA has engaged barristers and lawyers who are being assisted by PSA staff, delegates and members to support our position.

A number of your colleagues across SAS Staff classifications have prepared witness statements and will give evidence in the Commission in support of PSA members. The PSA is very appreciative of the time and effort these witnesses have provided. In addition, we will be calling on expert witnesses to give evidence.

The IRC has set a timetable for the proceedings and the PSA ‘s evidence will be lodged in October this year.

For further information, contact schools@psa.asn.au.


The PSA became aware the Department changed the date for internal compliance for staff to obtain a Working With Children Check (WWCC) certificate.

The PSA formally registered a complaint about the Department’s failure to advise the PSA of the change. The Department apologised for the oversight and undertook to investigate the reason the PSA was not informed of the change.

The PSA raised the implementation and administrative workload for SAS Staff arising out of the Children’s Guardian monitoring and auditing requirements under section 39 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act.

The PSA has written to the Department requesting it acknowledges and takes appropriate steps to resolve the following concerns:

  • Assess the workload impact of the compliance date and provide additional resources
  • Conduct a risk assessment of the changed work practices
  • Consult with the PSA on the implementation of the compliance requirements to be introduced from November 2017.

The Department has responded and considers the workload impact to be temporary and measures such as Probity Team Support and Training, the FAQs on WWCC, and enhancements to the eCPC data base will deal with any issues. The PSA disagrees that these measures will manage the situation adequately.

The PSA has requested a meeting with the Department to address the inadequate response to these concerns.

The Department has confirmed union staff visiting school sites are not subject to WWCC compliance procedures and the PSA has requested the Department advise schools of the situation.


The issue of whether the Department or the school is responsible for redundancy payments for Above Centrally Identified Positions (ACIPs) has been raised with the PSA. The view of the Director, Industrial Relations is the school incurs liability for redundancy payments. This has the potential to impact on School Learning Support Officers who have converted to permanent employment. Principals may also take this factor into consideration when approving future EOIs for long-term temporary employees seeking permanency. The PSA’s view is these payments are Treasury’s responsibility.

We will inform members of the outcome of the discussions.


The Department is keen to use the term “Non-Teaching Staff’ for all school-based employees who are not teachers. PSA members campaigned long and hard to change the title from Ancillary Staff to School Administrative and Support Staff as part of negotiations in a previous industrial agreement.

The PSA has made it clear SAS Staff are the second-largest group of employees in schools and deserve to be recognised by the title they chose.

The PSA suggested reference to employees working in schools should be Teachers, School Administrative and Support Staff and other Non-Teaching Staff.


Members occasionally report to the PSA inappropriate advertisements for administrative and support positions in schools. These can include creative classification titles and more creative duty or role statements.

In most cases, when these advertisements appear they breach the Award and when bought to the Department’s attention steps are taken to withdraw them and agreed process is followed. The incidents have increased since the introduction of Local Schools Local Decisions.


The Department and the PSA reached agreement in the 1980s for School Learning Support Officers to be granted immediate relief for short term absences (not wait five days before relief).

This agreement was reached on the basis immediate relief was available to teachers and, as the SLSO also worked face-to-face with students, they be given the same conditions.

Unfortunately, some principals are not providing immediate relief for SLSO which disadvantages students and staff. The PSA is interested in what happens at your school.


The Department of Education has emailed advice to principals that the General Assistants (GAs) transfer list will no longer be required and they can choose to go to open market for merit based recruitment.

The PSA was not consulted about this change and it was brought to our attention by a member. This is a substantial change in the conditions of employment of General Assistants.

PSA staff are currently working with the General Assistants Advisory Group to address this matter.

Conversion of around 1800 roles from temporary to ongoing, including General Assistants

The Department of Education is converting employees under the Government Sector Employment Act from temporary to ongoing. The first stage of that process covers:

  • General assistants
  • Groundsman
  • Stores officer
  • Driver/general assistant (not solely GA)
  • Community liaison officer
  • Student support officer
  • Maintenance officer
  • Recreation coordinator
  • Technical support officer (computer hardware and software support)

The process of conversion and compliances also requires the existing statement of duties and position descriptions to be changed to capability based role descriptions. DoE factsheet ‘Role Descriptions’ can be found HERE.

Eighty per cent of the roles to be converted will be done through a suitability assessment. That is assessing the existing employee’s duties and performance against the new role description. DoE say an easy assessment form is sent by HR to be completed by the principal. It is a simple checklist completed by the principal.

The remaining 20 per cent will be converted by capability assessment because these employees have never been assessed and have been in their jobs for fewer than 12 months. This may involve responding to an advertisement, making an application, completing set tasks and an interview.

These matters are not finalised as yet and the PSA continues to advocate strongly for GA union members with the Department. If you are a temporary GA and not a PSA member, now is the time to join the union.


LMBR Feedback

In response to members’ feedback earlier in the year, the Department has implemented a number of changes as to how it manages your information to address your concerns in a timely manner.

Your feedback has led to the Department being more aware of systemic problems with LMBR and quickly take the necessary action to fix them.

It is very important SAS staff continue to give feedback.

Current LMBR issues


The Executive Director, Shared Services (also responsible for EdConnect) attended a recent meeting and the PSA raised the questions relating to the following issues:

  • online enquiries having no option to categorise complaint
  • wait time for telephone advice
  • inconsistent information given and time taken to process invoices.

The responses from the Department were:

  • the IT form requires an accurate description of the problem and they categorise urgency;
  • they have a process that sorts calls into level 1,2, or 3 and determines response and who gives it
  • when Group 5 went live, 10 extra support staff were engaged based on an estimate of one to 1.6 calls per day, per-school
  • when it was only the 229 Schools, Shared Services processed 20,000 invoices per month but is now processing 120,000 per month
  • when there is an error, such as a different order number to the invoice, an email is automatically sent to the creator
  • EdConnect issues raised in LMBR feedback will be responded to by EdConnect.

The PSA has requested the process for sorting calls into the levels be explained in the SALM/Finance Schools support newsletter.

Members are advised to complete the EdConnect online form with as much detail as possible INCLUDING the incident number.

The Department in its 19 June bulletin has requested SAS Staff who are experiencing issues with EdConnnect to contact the Department so problems can be addressed. The Department and the PSA are keen to assist SAS staff experiencing difficulties.


The recording of attendance and, or partial attendance is not a SAS Staff responsibility in primary schools. This has long been accepted by the Department and the PSA due to the low staffing levels in primary schools. The PSA has therefore requested the Department remove any reference to SAS staff working in primary schools being required to record student attendance or absences.

The Department responded that principals may delegate marking rolls to school staff. The PSA’s interpretation is in primary schools this means recording school attendance or absences is the role of teaching staff. The Department advised it would remove references to SAS Staff being solely responsible for recording partial absences from its training materials.

The Department will communicate to principals about the ban in primary schools and send out a bulletin advising teaching staff are to mark absences and the Department is looking to implement a new system that teachers mark locked rolls from next year.

The PSA was further advised the system has been developed around departmental policy which states absences can only be recorded up to seven days.

This is why the system is locked, so teachers don’t breach policy. Hence SAS Staff shouldn’t be working outside policy either.

Training post-LMBR deployment

Previously the Department has stated it will not provide additional face-to-face training after the 15-day LMBR deployment training and that the current Adobe Connect (in small groups or 1:1), QRG on-line training and LMBR support materials, and bulletins were adequate support.

Now it appears the Department is going to provide more training and resource development than was originally intended. LMBR support will increase in size as other teams delivering LMBR deployment training will change focus post-deployment.

LMBR support will take on a training resource development role, with the expectation of additional LMBR training. The Department’s view is the SRGs will deliver a small proportion of training as an add-on to other LMBR training.

The PSA has ongoing concerns to the lack of funding being provided for further training and the level of involvement required by SRGs and SAM networks.

The Association continues to push for additional information on the allocation of funds to support SAS staff training to assist in all areas of their employment.

Computer problems/outages

Computer problems and network outages are in some cases a statewide problem.

The PSA has asked when this happens, EdConnect display a message to SAMs and SAOs alerting them to the problem.

Initially the PSA was informed this cannot be done as it may be a local problem. The PSA has now been advised the Department is completing a communication strategy on improved ways to inform schools of state-wide computer/network problems; and is looking at sending broadcast messages to schools. It is expected to be introduced by end of 2017.

Increased SAS Staff workload

Many members are frustrated and exhausted by the excessive workload due to LMBR. As a result of the PSA raising these concerns, the Department now has regular articles in School Biz about claiming overtime or converting overtime to time-in-lieu. SAS Staff should not be working unpaid overtime. The Department does not expect employees to work unpaid. If you are feeling pressure to work unpaid you should contact the PSA immediately; this is a clear breach of the award.

Members are reminded to raise workload concerns with their principal.

The PSA encourages members to access the award online and ensure you are not being asked to work outside your conditions of employment.

If members are feeling stress or pressure, they can also contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) on 1300 360 364.

Excessive workload is a Work Health and Safety and an industrial issue. Workload is an ongoing agenda item at LMBR meetings. PSA has asked for details on the number of SAS Staff (not names) contacting EAP since Term 1 due to LMBR. The PSA has also requested statistics on the amount of over time claimed and figures on the additional staff employed since LMBR was introduced to schools.

The PSA is waiting for the information.

The next LMBR/PSA meeting is scheduled for 11 September. An update of that meeting will be included in the next bulletin.

SAS Staff Recognition Week 2017

Sep 4, 2017

SAS Recognition Week 2017 – September 2017 (PDF version)

Dear member,

I’m very pleased to join you in celebrating School Administrative and Support (SAS) Staff Recognition Week 2017.

As I thank you for your vital work, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the PSA’s past achievements in schools and inform you of a major case that we are running in the Industrial Court for SAS Staff.

PSA achievements in schools

SAS Staff were first employed in NSW Government schools in 1960 and were referred to as Ancillary Staff. One hundred women were employed in clerical positions from Term 1 1960. Since then, the PSA has worked to improve the wages and conditions of employment for SAS Staff. There are currently 17,500 SAS Staff employed in eight classifications across the state.

Some of our more notable achievements over the years for SAS Staff have been:

  • The first agreement between the Public Service Board and PSA in 1961 improved salaries based on a 3-year incremental scale
  • Introduction of staffing formulas to support established positions
  • The Stand Down Award ensuring stand down pay for SAS Staff during school holidays
  • Permanency agreement with the Public Service Board
  • Successfully negotiating 26 equal pays
  • Substantial increases in pay for SAS Staff – 1988/1993 dispute
  • Joint Working Party to review the work of School Assistants and Senior School Assistants resulting in current SAS Staff classifications and change from Ancillary Staff to School Administrative and Support Staff
  • Permanency for long-term temporary SAS Staff. Over 1500 employees gaining permanent employment.

Along the way, there have been numerous other achievements gained for members which, coupled with the major wins above, have helped make SAS Staff’s work, pay and conditions what they are today.

Today’s challenges

There are still big challenges ahead in schools – Local Schools and Local Decisions, Learning Management and Business Reform and other issues. SAS Staff are facing ever increasing demands on workloads and increased responsibilities.

With committed delegates and PSA staff we work continuously to raise these issues and secure positive outcomes for members.

In 2011, the NSW Government introduced its wages policy which has restricted all pay rises for NSW public servants, including SAS Staff, to 2.5% regardless of the actual increase in value of the work being done.

Along with the ongoing issues of long-term temporary employment and conversion to permanency for SAS Staff, many members have also asked, what can be done about their pay?

Pay Equity – A major case

The work undertaken by SAS Staff since 1960 has been overwhelmingly done by women. Even today, women still comprise of over 93% of SAS Staff. This, along with a number of other factors, allows the PSA to make a claim for a variation in the award to achieve proper wage rates. The PSA will need to prove that the work SAS Staff perform is undervalued on a gender basis.

This year, the PSA made an application to the Industrial Relations Commission for a variation of the Crown Employees (School Administrative and Support Staff) Award – the Pay Equity case.

This is only the third Pay Equity application to be made in the Commission and is, without a doubt, one of the largest ever legal undertakings by the PSA. The PSA’s claim includes all members covered by the award.

Currently, PSA staff supported by our solicitors McNally Jones Staff, barristers and expert witnesses, are working on preparing the evidence needed to support the case. Many of your colleagues are assisting by preparing witness statements, detailing the work they perform in their classification in support of the PSA case.

How can you help?

A union is only as strong as its members and it’s a simple fact that the more SAS Staff who join the PSA, the stronger the PSA is in representing SAS Staff interests.

PSA members in schools can have a real sense of pride in the achievements won by the PSA over the years.

As a member, you can support the PSA by talking to colleagues about Pay Equity, invite a PSA Organiser to visit your school and if you know a colleague who isn’t a member, ask them to join.


Stewart Little
General Secretary

General Assistant update on GSE meeting with DOE HR

Aug 31, 2017

General Assistant update on GSE meeting with DOE HR – August 2017 (PDF version)

Members will be aware that the Department of Education (DoE) is implementing the Government Sector Employment Act (GSE) provisions for capability-based role descriptions and recruitment.

The PSA met with the DoE’s Human Resources and Industrial Relations Directorates representatives on 30 August 2017 about these two issues.

Role descriptions

Consultation around the proposed Role Description with GAAG Delegates had already been supplied to the DoE. Some feedback was accepted, other aspects were rejected.

At this meeting, DoE representatives were open to receive the additional feedback from the PSA. The PSA raised that the proposed Role Description seemed to allow for additional duties which GAs currently do not undertake. The DoE was interested in this and agreed that the conversion process from Statement of Duties to Role Description was not meant to increase workload.

Another aspect of the PSA’s feedback at the meeting included specifying the supervisor for GAs. The PSA asked that the proposed Role Description state that the GAs supervisor be the Principal or a member of the school’s teaching executive. The PSA maintains SAMs and Business Managers do not have a supervisory role for GAs.

It was agreed the wording about WHS in the proposed Role Description needed to be looked at because it was not clear WHS is a responsibility of everyone in the school.

GA transfer list

The meeting also discussed concerns about the GA Transfer List being abolished after Term 4 2017. The PSA understands the DoE’s position that the current transfer list is non-compliant with the GSE and the DoE has no choice but to stop using the current model.

After a lot of work the PSA believes that under the GSE there is a potential legal model of internal transfers that the DoE might be able to adopt. The name of the “Transfer List” will change to something which is recognised by the GSE.

If the DoE agrees with the PSA, this would mean that an Expression of Interest (EOI) could be submitted each year for consideration in the new model “transfer list”.

The new model “transfer list” to be GSE compliant would mean that Principals are not required to use the “transfer list” and there will no longer be selection based on seniority. Seniority is not a provision of the GSE.

While the PSA understands the DoE is forced to be GSE compliant by the legislation introduced by the O’Farrell Government, it is sad to see a long-standing employment condition obliterated at the stoke of a pen by a worker-unfriendly government.

What’s next?

The PSA has agreed to supply to the DoE further information which clearly articulates members concerns around these two industrial issues which are important to GA members.

As this matter progresses, the PSA will keep members informed.

United we bargain, divided we beg.


  • Greg Adnum
    PSA GA Organiser
  • Brett Hammond
    GAAG Chair (and on temporary secondment to PSA)
  • Anthony Wright
    Industrial Officer
  • Greg Corrigan
    Senior Industrial Officer.

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