Teachers 'have strong case' for sleepover pay
NICOLE MATHEWSON CHARLEY MANN
Teachers have a strong case to be paid an hourly wage while working overnight at school camps, legal advisers say.
Last month the Independent Schools Education Association asked legal advisers if the September 2011 Employment Court ruling to pay carers at least the minimum wage for each hour worked overnight should apply to the education sector.
Association membership support spokeswoman Mairi Ferguson said the group was advised that teachers attending school camps and overnight boarding-house staff had a "strong case" that they were at work during overnight duties.
They were currently not paid an hourly wage outside of their normal salary but received about $20 as an overnight allowance.
The Employment Court decision had not been applied to the education sector, she said.
It would not be challenged and the association was not seeking back pay. However, it would debate the matter when teachers gathered to renegotiate collective agreements.
"There has always been the assumption that teachers are dedicated, that it's part of what they should give to the school," Ferguson said.
"Teachers are paid a salary but they are expected to work 24 hours a day while at camp."
Legal advisers said school camps and sleeping overnight at boarding-houses was work because staff were responsible for pupils.
Staff were also restricted in terms of movement and could not have their families with them.
The four-year-long sleepover shift case argued that carers on a sleep over, where they stayed over with the people they looked after and dealt with any problems, should be paid at the minimum wage rather than a $34 shift allowance.
The Government and IHC came to a $150 million settlement last September to benefit 3700 disability support workers. Workers are to be paid about $60 a sleepover, or 50 per cent of the minimum wage, gradually increasing to the full minimum wage by next July.
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