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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3975 ..

(c) many cases have been brought to courts, tribunals and the Fair Work Ombudsman relating to wage theft and underpayment via individual or class actions or through self-reporting; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) self-report the salaries, working conditions and underpayments of those working in the ACT education system to the Fair Work Ombudsman for review and assessment; and

(b) if that review shows teachers have worked unpaid overtime or otherwise subsidise the ACT Government, undertake an assessment as to the amount of that underpayment and proper compensation be paid to teachers.

This motion looks at what could be one of the worst cases of worker exploitation in the history of the ACT. That is a serious claim, but I am not the one who is making that claim; it is a claim being made by the workers themselves and their union. What makes it worse is the fact that the workers in this case are our teachers, our primary and high school teachers, who are at their wit’s end. That is why I will not make this case just with my words but with the words and the comments of teachers themselves.

Members of the ACT division of the Australian Education Union recently released a study called Under-staffed, under-resourced, under-appreciated: the teacher shortage and its impact on our schools. That was the biggest survey of ACT public school educators ever conducted in the ACT. I quote from the report, which provides the facts, figures and comments:

Teachers and principals are working excessive hours to meet the demands of the system. Nearly all (97%) said they work more than their maximum weekly hours. This includes working on the weekends, at evenings and during periods of leave or stand down.

More than one third of principals work between 10-15 hours over-time per working week and a further third work more than 20 additional hours per week. This does not include weekend hours.

Of our SLC respondents, 79% say they work excessive hours every week, and 59% of classroom teachers say this happens every week, including 70% of primary level classroom teachers.

Three quarters of respondents reported working more than five hours over-time per week on weekdays.

More than 40% are working more than five hours over-time on their weekend.

Three of every five respondents are working more than 10 hours per week during stand down (school holidays), which is stipulated in the Enterprise Agreement as time when teachers are not required to attend work “in recognition of the breadth of their professional responsibilities”.

Almost all teachers report working unpaid over-time every week with more than 40% of them working 10 or more hours, and even more hours when weekend work is included.

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