Members Stories

The SIA bargained for part-time work in our Enterprise Agreement. Why I prefer it to being a casual employee.

I have worked for the same employer for over 10 years, consistently 25 hours or so a week, however always as a casual. I was resigned to the fact that if I worked I got paid, if I didn’t work I didn’t get paid. There was no other option.
Have you ever found it hard to get a loan for a house, car, TV….anything? As a casual employee I found I had to jump through hoops with most lenders in order to be considered for a loan & I can still remember the feeling of my face turning the colour of a ripe tomato when asked what my husband does for work and it being suggested that we just put the loan in his name, just to make it easier. Even when I could show that I consistently worked 25-30 hours per week!
Kids get sick! I rarely get sick and have to take time off but with 3 kids, 2 who were in child care picking up one thing after the other, some weeks were a struggle when income was reduced to little more than 1 day’s work. Having personal & carer’s leave with part time employment is fantastic. Along with the benefits of 5 weeks of annual leave I can be with the kids when they’re unwell, when they’ve got school holidays or excursions and still be able to pay all the weekly bills and expenses that keep coming in.
To me casual seems to benefit the employer more than the bulk of employees. The security of a part-time position is important to me to balance my work/family/financial life and in planning for the future. It’s something that should be available to employees to make the choice if this type of employment is more suitable than casual.

Is your manager telling you the right information about your leave entitlements?

Recently, a part time employee had approached her manager regarding leave for a funeral following the death of her Grandmother. The manager discussed the employee’s entitlement to use her annual leave to take time off to attend the funeral.  Not being certain the information she’d received was correct, the employee approached her SIA delegate to confirm her entitlements under the circumstances.  Upon receiving guidance from the delegate the employee was able to go back to the manager with fact sheets relating to the relevant type of leave she could apply for and thus keep her annual leave for holidays.

Can your employer make you rearrange your hours across a week rather than pay overtime?

An SIA member who works full time in a swim school received an email from his manager asking him to send through an altered roster for his week so he could attend a training workshop outside his ordinary working hours. The staff member was happy to attend the workshop but was unsure why he had to change his hours around rather than be paid overtime. After discussing his concerns with his SIA delegate, the member had the delegate attend a meeting with the manager to discuss specific clauses in the Enterprise Agreement relating to overtime.

Do you have extra annual leave due to fill in shifts? How do you get what you’re entitled to?

A part time swim teacher and SIA member who had only 10 rostered hours across a week had by the end of one term racked up an additional 60 hours of leave due to fill-ins and additional, short term, programs. When applying for annual leave she was told she could only apply for 10 hours across 1 week of leave, what’s more, she was informed that she would be stood down, unpaid, for a period of 2 weeks. This didn’t seem reasonable as the only way to receive the extra annual leave she was building up would be to take an extra 8 weeks off! 8 weeks, in an industry where consistency is key! This didn’t seem beneficial to her or the business. Upon discussing the issues with her SIA delegate, and the delegate then meeting with management, an agreement was reached to pay an average of her hours worked across the term when applying for annual leave. 

The Swim Instructors Association (SIA) has been established by a group of senior swim instructors in conjunction with the Australian Workers’ Union. It was born in response to a number of serious issues of illegal underpayment and allegations of unfair treatment to ensure that instructors, both now and into the future, are treated fairly and given a voice.

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T: 03 8327 0888 

E: sia@awu.net.au

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