IEU NSW/ACT shares top tips for ECTs once they secure their first role
The Sector > Jobs Tips and Resources > IEU NSW/ACT shares top tips for ECTs once they secure their first role

IEU NSW/ACT shares top tips for ECTs once they secure their first role

by Freya Lucas

June 06, 2022

For early childhood teachers (ECTs) who have recently secured their first role, the New South Wales and ACT branch of the Independent Education Union (IEU) has written a list of top tips to support them to have a smooth start to the world of work. 


Starting at the beginning 


When ECTs begin work they will be given a contract which confirms employment, the union said. The contract may be called a letter of offer, a letter of appointment, contract of employment, conditions of employment, or an employment letter. 


The contract of employment will typically outline the position accepted, whether it is ongoing or temporary, the teaching load, the hours and days to be worked, the rate of pay, etc. 


“It is always a good idea to read your contract of employment before you sign it. If you are a union member, you can always contact the union for advice or ask for a review of your contract,” the Union advised. 


Is the letter of appointment binding?


Generally, a letter of appointment is a legally enforceable contractual agreement to employ an ECT based on the terms contained within that letter. The letter of appointment or contract of employment sits alongside other instruments that underpin an employee’s rights including the National Employment Standards (NES), enterprise agreements or modern awards. 


“The terms contained in the letter of appointment cannot be less than what is provided for in the NES, your applicable enterprise agreement and/or modern award,” the Union explained. 


Do I need a new employment letter every year? 


ECTs who are  employed on an ongoing basis do not have to be issued with a new letter of appointment each year. 


“If you are asked to sign a new letter of appointment, you should seek advice from your union organiser in case there are things in the new contract which alters your conditions of employment,” the Union said.


“If you are engaged on a temporary or fixed contract, it may be necessary for you to receive a new letter of appointment upon new engagement. There are strict rules about appointing a teacher on a temporary basis, so make sure you understand why you are appointed on a temporary basis. Generally, teachers may only be appointed to a temporary position for a maximum period of 12 months. You may wish to speak to your union organiser if there are concerns about those reasons.”


What happens if they want to change some of the conditions? 


Generally,  employers cannot unilaterally vary the terms of employment without mutual agreement. 


“Your employer cannot change any of your conditions of employment that would be inconsistent with an enterprise agreement or modern award. Therefore it is important that if you receive a new letter of appointment, you talk to your union organiser to check whether the employer is: (a) seeking to change your conditions of employment, and (b) whether they are permitted to do so,” the Union explained. 


For more information about the Union and the support it can provide, please see here

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