Following a series of preliminary meetings, we’re now at the stage of discussing the detail of specific matters in the Enterprise Agreement. Recent meetings have focused significantly on leave and the University’s proposed approach to simplifying our Agreement. View the draft leave clauses tabled by the University to date, which remain subject to ongoing negotiations. 

Parental leave

The University recognises that many staff are responsible for caring for a child after birth or adoption. Currently, birth mothers and adoptive parents who are primary caregivers can access 26 weeks paid leave. The University is proposing to also offer a new type of paid parental leave, called Primary Caregiver Leave, which would provide a primary caregiver – who is not the birth mother – with 14 weeks paid leave. 

Personal leave

The University is proposing to restore parity between academic and professional staff for entitlement to personal leave. In the new agreement, we are proposing that all continuing and fixed-term staff have access to the community standard of 10 days personal leave, which can be a combination of sick leave and carer’s leave as required, and will continue to accumulate from year to year if not used.

Our current Enterprise Agreement provides an entitlement for academic staff to access up to an additional 35 days of personal leave each year. This entitlement is not available to professional staff and considerably exceeds community standards. Provision will remain for staff to access accumulated personal leave and the University also facilitates paid special leave in exceptional circumstances. For these reasons, we do not expect this change to have a major impact; however, it will bring our University into line with what our community would expect.

Staff will continue to have access to the additional five days non-accumulative carer’s leave.  

Domestic and family violence leave

As a responsible employer, the University recognises that staff affected by domestic and family violence will require support in a range of ways, including but not limited to the provision of paid leave.

UQ’s current guidelines: Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Support Options Available for Staff presents support options, and bargaining representatives have had productive discussions with the University about further steps we can take to support those affected by domestic violence.

The University is therefore proposing to include a new clause in our Agreement dealing specifically with domestic violence and confirming employees’ entitlement to paid special leave in these circumstances.

Cashing out annual leave and long service leave

The University is proposing to offer staff much greater flexibility by allowing them the option to cash out untaken annual leave and long service leave. We’re pleased to be proposing this additional benefit to staff in response to previous staff requests for the University to allow this.

This new entitlement will include some sensible and reasonable conditions. For example, in accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009, staff will need to have a balance of at least four weeks leave following any cash out of annual leave, so that staff maintain the capacity to take regular breaks from work at any given time.

Simplifying our Agreement

The Enterprise Agreement underpins the working conditions of all staff, so it should be a document that can be readily and easily understood by everyone. Unfortunately, many of the provisions of the current agreement are either ambiguous or highly complex, so we’re seeking changes to our Agreement that make it far easier to understand and work with.

For example, current processes relating to organisational change, misconduct, unsatisfactory performance and medical conditions affecting performance are often difficult for the staff involved. The University would like to address the complexity of such processes so they are easily understood and can be completed in a timely manner, while remaining fair to the parties concerned.

How you can be involved

We welcome your input and feedback. There are two ways you can get in touch with us and learn more:

  • Make comments, ask questions and provide feedback to the Enterprise Agreement team via EBFeedback@uq.edu.au
  • Visit the University's enterprise bargaining webpage for further information and updates at hr.uq.edu.au/eb

 

The UQ Bargaining Team

Professor Alan Rix, Professor Aidan Byrne, Jane Banney, Anthony Lennon, Ann-Maree Waugh