DESE updates Employment Guarantee rules and expectations – 8 key questions answered
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) have provided an update on the rules and expectations around the Employment Guarantee which is embedded as a key condition of participation in the current national Transition Package support measures as well as the new measures announced for Victoria last week.
Specifically, providers who receive payments under the Transition Payment grant system must guarantee that educator employment levels are maintained for the duration of the receipt of the funds and “reflects the expectations of the DESE and the community that services will look after their educators and their staff, permanent and casual.”
The clarification is particularly important for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector as other supportive measures, such as JobKeeper, have been withdrawn and the transition payments are deemed a substitute that should be passed on to educators and employees as wages and payments.
What is the Employment Guarantee?
The Employment Guarantee is a commitment from a provider that in exchange for receiving Transition Support payments from the Federal Government they will continue to maintain employment levels at their service.
How long does it last for?
The Employment Guarantee applies for as long as a service is receiving Transition Payments.
Why is it in place?
The Employment Guarantee has been introduced to protect ECEC employees in lieu of the sector not being eligible for JobKeeper payments.
How should the Employment Guarantee work in theory?
Providers who are receiving Transition Payments should use these funds to support the wages and payments of team members.
So, what can an employer NOT do with regards to an employee in this period?
- An employer cannot terminate the employment of an employee engaged during the pre-transition fortnight without reasonable justification.
- An employer cannot terminate an employee due to redundancy, including for business restructuring or sale that takes place during the Transition Period.
- An employer cannot stand down a team member without pay during the Transition Period.
Are there examples of “reasonable justification” given?
Yes, reasonable justification includes:
- Termination for misconduct,
- the loss of an essential qualification (including, for example, the loss of a working with children clearance)
- the expiry of a fixed term of employment (for example at the completion of a traineeship contract).
Under these types of circumstances an employer can terminate an employee but the action has to have “reasonable” justification.
What happens if an employer breaches these guidelines?
Services which do not fulfil the conditions of the Transition Payment will be investigated and may be required to repay Transition Payments and may lose access to future payments.
Is there a number or email to contact if I have concerns about breaches?
Concerned employees or parents should speak with their provider in the first instance, and can escalate matters to the tipoff line on 1800 664 231 or [email protected]
To visit the DESE website and review the FAQ’s please click here.