Operations Update, Term 2 2019

Tēnā Koutou

It’s hard to believe we are already into term 2. Term 1 seems to have been a particularly busy time for you as well as us. We hope that you had an opportunity to relax and refresh over the term break.

2019 is indeed shaping up to be busy for NZSTA, with trustee elections, ongoing collective agreement negotiations, new legislation coming into effect and the sector potentially undergoing significant change.  Wellbeing and inclusion are hot topics for boards of trustees and their schools, so we also wait with interest for the Government’s first “Wellbeing Budget”.

For any questions or concerns around governance, including employment all roads can lead to us if you contact govadvice@nzsta.org.nz or eradvice@nzsta.org.nz.


2019 School trustee elections

Email election updates went out to all chairs and principals last week in time for term 2. All NZSTA registered returning officers will also have received their latest election update.

If your board has not yet appointed a returning officer, please call 0800 353 284 urgently to discuss the steps to take. If you already have a returning officer, please check they have registered on trustee election website, so NZSTA can communicate and support.

A key part of NZSTA’s Advisory and Support Centre for the 2019 school trustee elections is our Election Team, who are working hard to support your board and returning officer during the trustee elections process. We are already responding to a significant number of calls and emails from boards and returning officers - and are fully prepared for that to increase over the coming weeks!

Email electionsadvice@nzsta.org.nz


Free Kōrari sessions

To help your board promote the role of the board and encourage parents and people in your community to step forward for your board, NZSTA is running a series of free Kōrari sessions around the country. To find out more, contact our Advisory and Support centre or go here.  


Post-election professional development for new trustees

Following the 2019 school trustee elections NZSTA rolls out its Nationally advertised workshop programme, including Governance Essentials 1 and 2. As well, our new suite of interactive online learning modules will be delivered on a new digital learning platform. Look out for further information on the NZSTA website and in our other email communications.


Collective bargaining

Caretakers, Cleaners and Canteen workers (CCCCA)
Bargaining has been initiated to renew the collective agreement covering caretakers, cleaners and canteen workers. Discussion will include the possible addition of secondary and area groundstaff. The MoE is seeking the view of boards on claims around the interpretation and/or the application which they would like the Secretary to advance on their behalf.
At this stage Secondary and Area School Groundstaff should now be on individual employment agreements based on similar terms and conditions from the expired collective agreement. We recommend you contact the Advisory and Support Centre for advice in setting this up.

Area Schools Teacher Collective Agreement (ASTCA)
The ASTCA bargaining will be commencing shortly.  The Ministry is currently considering claims and issues to be addressed.
Feedback welcome
If you have any feedback on the interpretation and application of the current clauses in these collective agreements that boards would like raised on their behalf can you please email bargaining@nzsta.org.nz with any suggestions or queries by close of business Monday 6 May 2019.


Changes to legislation

The Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Act 2018 came into force on 1 April 2019. You will find more information on our website

30 day rule
From 6 May 2019 employers have to employ new, non-union employees on terms consistent with the collective agreement for their first 30 days of employment (the 30 day rule). Once the 30 days have concluded, the employee and employer can negotiate an individual employment agreement.  

Employers must provide information about unions to prospective employees, and a copy of the applicable collective employment agreement. 

Employers need to allow union representatives reasonable time to perform their duties within working hours and must pay employees at the same rate for doing union work as they would ordinarily be paid during their ordinary employment duties. An employer can refuse the request if it will unreasonably disrupt the business or the performance of the employee’s duties. 

NZSTA is currently updating the template letters of appointment to include this law change and they will be available from 6 May.

Meal breaks
From 6 May 2019 employers have to provide employees the minimum rest and meal breaks set out in the Act.  This will depend on how long they work, for example, an employee working an eight-hour work day must have two 10-minute paid rest breaks and one 30-minute unpaid meal break, while an employee working a four hour work day must have a minimum of one paid 10 minute rest break. Employers must pay for minimum rest breaks but don’t have to pay for minimum meal breaks.

Both employers and employees have an obligation to act in good faith when negotiating timing for breaks. Due to the nature of the education sector environment the collective agreements in the education sector may provide conditions over and above this entitlement already and you should refer to the applicable collective agreement. Breaks will need to fit practically within the operational needs of the school.

You will find more information on the Ministry of Business Innovation and employment website FAQs on upcoming changes to rest and meal break entitlements.

Trial periods
The collective agreements do not allow for trial periods in the primary and secondary education sector.
Privacy Act – does your school have a Privacy officer?
Significant changes to the Privacy Act 1992 are currently in the legislative pipeline, including the likelihood of mandatory data breach reporting.

Boards of trustees and their schools are agencies that collect and store significant amounts of personal information about identifiable students, staff, parents and caregivers and members of school boards of trustees.  Privacy is everyone’s business!  It is also a legal requirement for every agency to have a Privacy Officer.

The board is responsible for ensuring there is a Privacy Officer and that both the board and the school have robust procedures in place around the collection, storage and disclosure of personal information, including if there is a data breach of some kind. (If this happens, remember that the four steps to follow are: Isolate, eliminate, notify and educate). It is also important to assess the privacy impact when changes are planned to systems that collect and store personal information.

With Privacy week coming up from 13-18 May 2019, make sure your school has a Privacy Officer (often the principal) and that everyone in the school community knows who that person is. The Privacy Officer is the first port of call for requests under the Privacy Act and their responsibilities include encouraging compliance with the 12 information privacy principles.

Contact the Office of the Privacy Commission via their website here for information and free advice. For free training modules go to the Privacy Commissioner website. NZSTA Advisory and Support Centre can also help with enquiries around Privacy Act responsibilities, including requests for personal information.


Tomorrow's Schools Review

With the sector potentially undergoing significant change, NZSTA is awaiting the outcome of the Government’s various reviews, including that of the Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce. Click here to view NZSTA's submission (on behalf of NZSTA member boards).

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