Negotiations Concluded, in-principle Agreement Reached!

After months of negotiating and hard work on the part of many committed employees who vowed to stick together to get a fair deal for all swim teachers, the SIA is pleased to announce an in-principle agreement has been reached regarding both further back pay and also a future enterprise agreement.

This deal will see the average swim teacher earn over 20% more for their work and includes the reintroduction of penalty rates, increases to wages and importantly an improvement to youth wages which will see many young teachers now paid as adults, irrespective of their age. This along with a significant amount in further back pay to be distributed to employees was part of a deal reached between SIA bargaining representatives and PSS Management last Thursday.


Whilst the SIA bargaining representatives will be holding meetings with employees across the business in the coming weeks we thought it best to outline as much of the detail here as possible.

Penalty Rates - ARE BACK - 1.25 for Saturdays and 1.5 for Sundays were removed in the last enterprise agreement that PSS introduced in 2014. We are pleased to say that in the new enterprise agreement penalty rates will be reintroduced immediately. For example, this will mean that a Level 3 teacher (>350 hours) will be paid $26.90 on a Saturday and $32.28 for work on a Sunday.

Job Security - Proper permanent jobs In the last enterprise agreement PSS management moved everyone from casual (for which you got paid 25% extra) to 'seasonal permanent' where you were paid like a permanent but still terminated and rehired 4 times a year and removed the casual provisions. From here on this will end. You will be employed as a on an ongoing basis (not seasonal) and be allowed to take your annual leave, which will usually be during periods when the business is closed between terms. This will mean that the company cannot terminate your employment at the end of each term and that if you are engaged as a casual you will be paid a 25% all-purpose casual loading. There will be a period of up to 2 weeks per annum for which an employee may be stood down (45 weeks work + 5 weeks Annual Leave + 2 weeks stand down = 52 weeks).

Improved Rates of Pay - INCREASES FOR EVERYONE - From here on employees will receive a 2.5% increase every July (or CPI - 'inflation' - whichever is greater). You will get this increase even if you rate is higher than the minimum rates set out in the rates tables. This along with improvements to base rates will see every employee get an increase each year - See RATES TABLE to work out what this means for you.

Youth Wages - Treat 'em like adults, pay 'em like adults! - The SIA maintained that once you turn 18 you should be paid like an adult. The business expects the same from you whether you are 17 or 25 so why don't they pay you the same? Whilst we didn't remove youth wages entirely this is definitely an improvement. From here on an employee who has completed 600 hours of teaching will be paid the adult rate of pay irrespective of their age.This means that if you start at 16 and are qualified by 17 you could get to 600 hours when you are 18.  For these employees, this will mean a further 25% extra (for an 18yr old).

Quals - Costs Covered - From here on you will no longer have to pay for the renewals or gaining of new qualifications. Employees will have the renewal of their Austswim (or equivalent) qualification reimbursed along with any First Aid, CPR or any new qualification required (competitive strokes, infant aquatics etc). This does not include Working with Children Checks or your initial qualification.

Reception career progression - It's not all about the teachers - A common complaint from many of our reception members has been that the level structure does not allow for career progression for reception staff. From here on eligible Reception 1 staff will have to access a new Level 3.1 which attracts a higher pay rate.

Relocating Employees - The company wanted the right to relocate employees to different sites without their consent. This will not be allowed under the new deal.

Individual Flexibility Agreements - No more individual contracts - The business agreed to restrict the use of these individual contracts which removed working conditions for many hundreds of PSS staff and saw them denied minimum shift provisions and other entitlements.

BACK PAY - Earlier this year the SIA made an application to the Fair Work Commission to seek have other matters investigated for which it believed employees had been underpaid. These breaches included:

  1. Removal of minimum shift requirement (3 hours)
  2. Not providing a 15min paid break for every shift of 4hour or more
  3. Pre-brief and feedback not being paid

PSS has agreed that it will set aside monies to be paid to staff in relation to the last EBA. The formula as to how this will be back paid still needs to be resolved and the AWU will work with PSS to determine how this is to occur.

And much more - There are many more other aspects to this new deal that the SIA has negotiated. Over the next few weeks the bargaining representatives will meet to draft the terms of the agreement and start more detailed communications with staff. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many SIA members and representatives that worked hard (in their own time!) to either attend negotiations or perform other necessary tasks to make sure that staff got a fair deal. They are:

Michael O'Connor

Catherine Hinton

Darren Tucker

Guy Stephens

Jacsen Jardine

Thanh Nguyen

Jane Brits

Jason Morgan

Julia Ogon

Lachine Wages

Mitch Hughes

Veronica Phelps

Amy Wright

Daniel Vogl

Kristina Karaula

Kirsten Micallef 


Regarding back pay - From here an agreement will be drafted and a back pay formula devised - This should hopefully only take a few weeks. 

Regarding EBA - From here there will be a series of communication meetings that the AWU will hold around the business to ensure that people are given a chance to ask questions and find out what everything means. After that there will be a vote (this will most likely be electronic and every employee will get a vote).

If the agreement is voted up by employees it will then be sent to Fair Work who will assess to make sure that it is appropriate and if so approved. This process can take up to 3 months. Once it is approved it comes into force and needs to be complied with.

If you have any questions please feel free to email or to join click here