Your Community Education Counsellors Union Update

Posted on February 18, 2020

2020 will be an important year for Community Education Counsellors in many ways.

It is a year when the need for culturally safe supervision is to be recognised, finally, in our EB agreement, as well as ensuring that every CEC has access to progression with the Recognition of Prior Learning and skills. We have been regularly meeting with the Department to progress the RPL Committee and Criteria. We hope to be able to share those criteria with you in the next couple of weeks so that you can apply for progression – more on that soon! If the Department is not able to progress this in this month we will lodge a dispute. It has taken a long time to get here, and Aunty Joan, Sigrund Nilsen and David Hartley along with their teams have worked hard on this, but we cannot allow for any more delays. I will keep you posted.

In good news -

Every CEC should be receiving the $1250 one-off payment as part of the EB next week in your 26th February pay. The payment is “pro rata” so if you work part-time then the payment will reflect your part-time fraction – for example if you are 0.5 FTE then you would receive $625.

There are lots of other things coming in our new EB. You can see a fact-sheet HERE.

Hours of Work - CECs

Over the last few months we have also had many enquiries from CECs who have had ADO time taken away or ‘written off’. This is not OK, you should not have your work time stolen from you.

Here is a quick guide to CECs hours of work which is from your Award (see section 15.6, 18 and others).

  1. CECs work a 36.25 hour week if you are full time.
  2. There is a maximum of 9.5 hours in any one day
  3. The spread of hours that you can work your regular 7.25 hours in is between 6am and 6pm
  4. If you work outside of these hours or more than 9.5 hours in a day you are entitled to overtime payments.
  5. All CECs are entitled to paid leave days in the school holidays as per the below (these are days that you DO NOT have to work ADO time up to take off as paid days and is IN ADDITION to your annual leave):
    1. Easter Holidays – 3 days in the end of term break
    2. June Holidays – 8 days in the end of term break
    3. September Holidays – 8 days in the end of term break
    4. December Holidays – 4 days in the end of term break
  6. If you work additional ADO time you can take those days at a time that you agree with your supervisor.
  7. By mutual agreement between the CEC and the supervisor a CEC may take any or all of their additional leave days during school term time or as paid leave where that leave would otherwise be categorised as unpaid leave under the Award.
  8. Should a CEC bet required to work on any additional leave days during the school vacation period, or on a mutually agreed day off, the CEC shall be paid for the first 3 hours at time and one half of their usual rate and after this time at double time. OR the CEC may waive the penalty rate payments and take the additional leave calculated on the basis of time and one-half for the first three hours and double time for the additional hours worked.
  9. In determining hours of duty, wherever practicable, DoE shall:
    (i) consult on the requirement to work specific hours before directing a counsellor to work those hours;
    (ii) where the working of particular hours is not suitable to a counsellor on a given day, take into account whether other staff are available and competent to perform the work;
    (iii) take into account the needs of workers with family responsibilities or disabilities;
    (iv) provide timely notice of the requirement to work in excess of ordinary hours; and
    (v) take into account the counsellor's current balance of additional leave days.

You are also entitled to up to 10 days unpaid leave to attend ceremonies of cultural significance. See 20.3 of the Award.

Employment Security – are you permanent?

Every CEC (or RCEC) has a right to be reviewed for permanent employment after two years. If you have worked for the Department for more than two years and you haven’t had a temporary to permanent review please get in touch with me at so that we can help you apply for permanency. We have had concerning reports that CECs with even over 15 years experience have not been offered permanent hours yet! This is really unfair and not right.

Your union office can help you with this.

There are more rights to seek permanent employment in our new EB too.

Just because the funding fluctuates does not mean that there isn’t ongoing work for CECs in schools, there always has been ongoing work and the work you do is invaluable.

As CECs you are the frontline of education, learning and community. As your union office we want to be there to support you.

Your delegates Connie, Loryanna and Joan have done an incredible job representing members and fighting passionately for what is fair. In 2020 we hope to see the fruits of this labour.

While the Commitment Statement has been published, it is time to see the commitment to you as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in action.

We want to be with you and help you.

1800 177 244