New award set to give teachers a pay rise
By Anna Patty
Updated December 5, 2019
NSW teachers returned to work on Thursday morning after accepting a pay rise under a new wages agreement which will also put an end to more experienced teachers being paid less than newer ones.
The NSW Teachers’ Federation said its members who attended stop-work meetings around the state voted overwhelmingly in favour of accepting the Department of Education’s offer of a 2.5 per cent salary increase from January, followed by 2.28 per cent in 2021. There will also be a 0.22 per cent increase in superannuation in 2021.
Teachers who were earning up to $14,000 less than colleagues with fewer years of experience because of changes to the statewide pay scale can also now expect that anomaly to be fixed by 2021.Advertisement
Teachers who entered the profession after a new pay scale was introduced in NSW in January 2016 were taking seven years, instead of nine, to reach the top level which pays $109,427. This meant that teachers who started after 2016 were being paid more than those with more years of experience.
NSW Teachers’ Federation president Maurie Mulheron said teachers would now transition from the old nine-year scale to the new seven-year pay scale over the life of the new wages award.
“The anomaly has been resolved once and for all,” Mr Mulheron said.
In an email sent to staff on Monday, NSW Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott said his wages offer would resolve the transition issues affecting pre-2016 teachers. He said he hoped teachers would deem his offer “to be fair and reasonable, and this will result in the 2020 school year starting with a new award in place”.
One teacher who recently moved from the public school system to teach in a Catholic school said he was now being paid at least $10,000 more.
Another teacher who started in mid-2015 said the pay anomaly had meant he was paid $76,031 under the old scale and that if he had started six months later, he would have been paid $90,236 under the new system.
“If I’d followed the same career path six months later, I would be on roughly $14,000 more than I am now after working for four years,” he said.
NSW Secondary Principals’ Council president Craig Petersen said paying teachers less money for more experience had been inherently unfair.
“Where people have the same experience and the same qualifications, it seems wrong to be paid at two different levels. We welcome the department coming to an agreement to rectify that,” he said.
NSW Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the government was “committed to resolving this pay disparity and that’s what we have done”.
“I am pleased the NSW Teachers Federation Executive have endorsed the terms of settlement,” she said.
Anna Patty is Workplace Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald. She is a former Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter.