Over the past few months PSA Organisers have been out in workplaces holding COVID-safe discussions with members about what matters to you most.
The transition of the Business Manager (BM) role to the new SASS Award has been one of the key points of concern throughout these discussions.
This process has been delayed by the years’ serious disruptions, and as a result the ability to provide greater certainty to affected BMs and answer your questions.
PSA raises your concerns directly with the Department
The PSA recognises that in the turmoil of the current year’s events the contact from the Department earlier this year about the transition may have caused some concern and anxiety. Your union has been working hard to represent the interests of all BM members. The PSA has been involved in ongoing discussions with the Department as it works through the changes to its business processes and systems to establish these positions under the new SASS Award and to identify the varied circumstances of current BMs.
BMs are represented by Departmental Committee delegates Jo Nieass and Lisa McManus, both current BMs. The main issues being discussed are job security and timeframes.
While there is still some time before the transition commences, the PSA is aware many BM members are concerned about when and how it will occur. Below is a summary of the situation as the PSA understands it:
- The Department has confirmed that it intends to have completed the process of determining Principals intentions during Term 3 and the vacation period.
- In term 4, an officer from the SASS Recruitment team in Human Resources will contact BMs directly to confirm the outcome, and, if applicable, a new appointment letter will be issued confirming your appointment from 27 January 2021.
- The Department will issue further information to BMs over the next week or so. This will include FAQs based on employee concerns which your delegates and the PSA have reviewed and provided extensive feedback.
The documentation will include information on matters raised by the PSA on your behalf. The PSA has now met several times with the Department to seek further updates on the process, and to put members’ concerns front and centre of discussions.
Security of employment
- The main focus of the discussions has been to clarify how positions will be filled and what members may have to consider in making decisions about whether they take up a position under the new Award. The PSA understands the Department expects that current BM positions will continue based on operational needs, and that they should not cease as a result of the transition process. This will be strongly reinforced by the Department.
- That in general there will be a process to support a transition for the existing BM into the BM role in the SASS Award (either if made a permanent role or an extension of the current temporary arrangement) where that person had already been engaged following a comparative assessment process and where they are satisfactorily meeting the requirements of the role.
- That where the temporary appointment is continued under the SASS award then a current BM would not be expected to relinquish their substantive roles as part of the transition
- That under the Determining the Mix of Staff in Schools procedures a temporary position could be created for up to three years.
The PSA has also made it clear that it expects the separate roles of BM and SAM to be observed. These are two different roles with two different Statements of Duties.
Please note that existing ongoing (permanent) Business Managers will follow a different process. Affected members will have already received or will soon receive information about this.
PSA advocates for clear and comprehensive FAQs
The PSA asked the Department to ensure that its fact sheets and FAQs include the issues identified by members and delegates such as:
- Security of employment after transition
- Right of return to substantive position
- Length of temporary contracts and end dates of current contracts
- Ensuring open communication at the school level including involvement in the discussions that occur with the Principal about the continuation of the Business Manager role
- How, when and where will BM positions be advertised and if they are required to be advertised.
Your delegates and the PSA continue to make suggestions about the current draft FAQ document to ensure that members concerns are addressed in a simple, clear and easy to understand way.
The PSA will continue to seek and provide as much detailed and current information as is available AND to represent and to protect your interests.