In this update
- PSA commences negotiations for School Psychologist Award
- Federal Government recommends increasing the number of School Psychologists
- The award negotiation process and how members will be involved
- PSA delegate training
- Who can vote on the Award – Ask your colleagues to join the PSA!
The PSA is pleased to announce the commencement of negotiations with the Department of Education for an Award for School Psychologists.
Since 2019 the PSA has persistently advocated for an Award for School Psychologists. Throughout 2020 the PSA also fought for School Psychologists to be paid your overdue pay rise, backdated to 1 January 2021, which the Department finally paid recently. The current “Determination” which sets out your salary, is due to expire in December 2021. The PSA believes there is no better way to guarantee your pay, conditions and entitlements than to formulate a Crown Award between the PSA and your employer, the Department of Education.
The PSA is committed to addressing the concerns of our members and to that end, negotiating an Award for School Psychologists to improve and maintain your working conditions, entitlements and professional standing in Schools. It has been through persistent advocacy and ultimately notifying the Department that we are ‘in dispute’ over their failure to progress the Award, that on 2 November 2021, the Department advised the PSA that they are prepared to commence negotiations for an Award entitled “Crown Employees (School Psychologist – Department of Education) Award 2022” to which the Department and the PSA will be parties.
The PSA has heard the frustration of School Psychologist members, about the unfair disparities in working conditions between School Psychologists and School Counsellors. We understand that many qualified School Psychologists have been leaving schools, seeking better working conditions and entitlements elsewhere.
Federal Government recommends increasing the number of School Psychologists
The recent Parliamentary select committee Report on Mental Health and Youth Suicide Prevention recommended increasing the number of School Psychologists to combat the student mental health crisis, especially considering the impacts of Covid-19. Read more HERE: .
While the union welcomes the recommendation to increase the number of School Psychologists, the PSA believes that the Department must improve and guarantee the working conditions of those in current roles to create a working environment which will lead to ongoing retention and prevent a revolving door of school psychologists. The PSA intends to address the issues of concern to our members, during the upcoming Award negotiations. The PSA spoke to ABC Radio about this, you can listen to this HERE.
What will the Award negotiation process look like?
Formal correspondence between the Department of Education and the PSA has commenced the Award negotiation process – in which the parties will decide on agreed terms of reference and a meeting schedule for discussions. Your PSA Delegates will be attending these meetings.
The PSA expects the Department to file a draft award in the Industrial Relations Commission and we will seek the assistance of the Commission to keep both parties on track. The PSA’s position is informed by the member survey we conducted earlier this year; however we will rely on continuous feedback from members and delegates throughout the process.
The PSA represents the interests of our members and so your engagement is crucial to our success in achieving an Award that reflects the working conditions that you want. Members will be updated through bulletins like this, and through member meetings.
The PSA will establish a group of members who can commit some time for the duration of the Award negotiations, together with PSA staff and delegates, to ensure that we represent members. To complete the process, it is customary for the final draft of a proposed Award to be voted upon by members before being finalised; and as Award negotiations are often lengthy, it could be several months before the Award is made.
Callout for interested members and PSA Training
If you are interested in being more involved with the PSA we encourage you to enrol in the PSA training course “Basics for New Delegates”: You don’t need to be a delegate to attend this training, you may just want to be more involved in what the PSA is doing in your workplace. To register pick one of the two dates below using the appropriate link.
- Tuesday 16 November 10am-1pm
- Tuesday 30 November 10am-1pm
The training runs for 3 hours and you will be able to attend as a half day of Paid Trade Union Leave (of which you get 12 days every 2 years).
Ask your colleagues to join the PSA so we can achieve the best possible Award!
The PSA is as powerful as the number of members we have.
The more school psychologist members, the more bargaining and negotiating power we have. Now is the time for School Psychologists to join the union, get organised and help us achieve the best possible Award! Only PSA members will have a say and vote in this Award process.
Talk to your non-member School Psychologist colleagues about the upcoming Award negotiation process and encourage them to join the PSA online at www.psa.asn.au/join !