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Understanding the TAFE Services Certified Agreement and Its Impacts

The TAFE (Technical and Further Education) system in Australia provides vocational education and training to millions of students, helping them to develop practical skills and knowledge for various careers and industries. The TAFE institutions are governed by state and territory governments, but their operations are supported by the TAFE Services (TS) entities, which provide centralized services such as finance, ICT, HR, and marketing. To ensure fair and effective employment conditions for the TS staff, a collective bargaining agreement called the TAFE Services Certified Agreement (TSCA) has been negotiated between the relevant unions and the TS management.

The latest version of the TSCA was approved by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in 2019, covering the period from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2022. The TSCA applies to all TS employees who are covered by the TS Enterprise Agreement 2018 (EA) and who perform work for the TS entities listed in the agreement. The TSCA sets out the terms and conditions of employment, including wages, allowances, leave, superannuation, workload, performance management, and dispute resolution. Some of the key features of the TSCA are:

– Wage increases: The TSCA provides for annual wage increases of 2%, 2.25%, and 2.5% for each year of the agreement, which means that TS employees will receive a total wage increase of 6.78% over three years. The FWC noted that the wage increases were reasonable and affordable, given the economic and fiscal constraints faced by the TS entities and the need to retain and attract skilled staff.

– Allowances: The TSCA introduces new allowances for certain TS employees who perform additional roles or duties, such as the Higher Duties Allowance and the Professional Practice Allowance. The TSCA also increases some existing allowances, such as the Motor Vehicle Allowance and the First Aid Allowance. These allowances aim to recognize and reward the extra work and skills required by some TS positions.

– Leave entitlements: The TSCA maintains the existing leave entitlements for TS employees, including annual leave, personal leave, compassionate leave, parental leave, and long service leave. The TSCA also provides for more flexible arrangements for part-time and casual employees, such as the ability to access pro rata long service leave after 7 years of service.

– Workload management: The TSCA includes provisions that aim to address the workload and stress issues faced by some TS employees, such as the Workload Management Plan and the Work Health and Safety Consultation Arrangements. The TSCA also provides for a review of the workload management practices in each TS entity, with a view to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the services provided by the TS entities.

– Performance management and dispute resolution: The TSCA sets out the process for managing the performance of TS employees, including the Performance Improvement Plan and the Dispute Resolution Procedure. The TSCA also recognizes the role of the unions in representing and supporting TS employees, and provides for regular consultation and communication between the TS management and the unions.

The TSCA is an important document that reflects the interests and needs of both the TS employees and the TS management. By providing fair and reasonable employment conditions, the TSCA helps to ensure that the TS entities can attract and retain skilled and motivated staff, who can in turn deliver high-quality services to the TAFE students and stakeholders. However, the TSCA is not a static agreement, and its provisions may need to be reviewed and updated in response to changing circumstances and feedback from the stakeholders. Therefore, it is important for the TS employees and the unions to be aware of their rights and obligations under the TSCA, and to participate in the ongoing consultation and negotiation process with the TS management.