LGEA members have overwhelmingly endorsed a new Local Government (State) Award 2017 for NSW local government employees. 98% of members who voted in the LGEA ballot voted to accept the proposed Award.
The Award is scheduled to be made by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on Friday 30 June.
Some key features of the new Award include:
- Three Wage Increases during the life of the Award:
- 2.35% from first pay period on or after 1 July 2017
- 2.5% from first pay period on or after 1 July 2018
- 2.5% from first pay period on or after 1 July 2019
- Strengthened Overtime Agreements for Professionals
“Excess Hours Agreements” provide members with the opportunity to negotiate a special allowance of at least 10% to be paid in addition to their normal rate of pay in recognition of the incidental overtime many are currently expected to work but are not always rewarded for.
- Better Access to Continuing Professional Development
The LGEA has successfully argued for a new Award provision that requires councils to provide a minimum of 10 hours of continuing professional development per annum to professional and executive band employees that are required to hold professional qualifications.
- Improved Motor Vehicle Arrangements
There will be a significant increase to the Vehicle Allowance, payable to employees who are using their own vehicle for work purposes. Annual increases to leaseback vehicle fees will now be limited to the relevant percentage CPI movement, except where an employer can demonstrate a need to increase fees by more (limited to 10% pa).
- Recognition of RDOs
The Award will define RDOs for the first time, and specifies that, where an RDO falls on a public holiday, it shall instead be taken on the next working day, or another day by agreement. This change prevents scheduled RDOs being lost when they fall on a public holiday.
- Long Service Leave Changes
Members will now be able to cash out any Long Service Leave accrual in excess of the minimum entitlement of 0.8 weeks per year of service under the Long Service Leave Act, subject to the consent of their employer.
Under the Award, employees accrue LSL at a rate of 1.3 weeks/year of service up to 15 years, then 2.2 weeks/year of service after 15 years service – this new provision enable members to cash out the difference between their legislated entitlement and their entitlement under the Award.
- Disciplinary Procedures
Significant improvements to this clause should result in increased procedural fairness and protections for any employee facing allegations as to their performance or conduct at work.
The Award parties have also developed industry guidelines concerning workplace investigations. These extensive guidelines have been developed by the Award parties and provide for a much fairer, transparent process than the process many councils are following under the current Award.
Whilst the new Award contains many new benefits for members, the LGEA has also reached agreement with LGNSW (the employer association) to jointly undertake a number of special projects throughout the term of the new Award. These projects include”
- Novated Lease Guidelines:
Industry parties to develop a set of guidelines regarding the use of Novated Leases, and then circulate throughout the industry.
- Phased Retirement:
A joint review will be undertaken into the approaches and strategies councils are utilising, identifying any gaps/improvements.
The LGEA & LGNSW will jointly develop appropriate guidelines to promote and govern the use of cadetships across the industry.
- Band 3 & 4 Job Evaluation and Salary Review:|
The Award parties have agreed to jointly undertake a twelve-month review into the job evaluation, rates of pay and salary system arrangements that apply to Band 3 and 4 employees.
In conducting this review we intend to collect a range of data so that we may be able to:
- Examine current rates of pay for professionals in Bands 3 and 4 and assess how local government rates compare with the non-local government sector;
- Examine the extent to which progression is linked to professional development; and
- The professional development needs and requirements for professional employees;
- Any barriers to accessing professional development;
- The extent to which professional employees have progressed through council salary systems to the maximum point/step for their positions;
- Any barriers to accessing performance related pay, particularly where other salary progression has been exhausted.
The new Award contains many improvement for local government technical professionals in NSW. These improvements would not have been possible without the feedback LGEA members provided throughout the process via member surveys, newsletters and member meetings. This Award in particular provides the LGEA with some special projects and opportunities to engage with members to improve working conditions for local government technical professionals in NSW. We look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.