Casual relief teachers are casual employees engaged by school councils under Part 2.3 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.
School councils may employ casual relief teachers for periods of up to thirty consecutive working days for a range of reasons including:
- to replace a teacher absent on leave;
- to replace a teacher undertaking other duties or professional development;
- to undertake a specific task or activity that requires a qualified teacher.
If a replacement teacher is required for a period exceeding thirty consecutive working days the vacancy should be filled as a teaching service vacancy in accordance with the procedures set out in the Recruitment in School Guide.
Circumstances may arise where a casual relief teacher has been employed to replace a teacher absent on personal leave that is anticipated to be thirty consecutive working days or less but the absence extends beyond thirty consecutive working days. In this case the casual replacement teacher must be offered employment on a fixed term basis in the Teaching Service. The duration of the fixed term employment will be until the teacher she or he is replacing returns to duty or the end of the school year whichever occurs first. In this case a fixed term offer of employment letter must be provided to the teacher. Schools Recruitment Unit will need to be contacted to give effect to the offer.
It is the responsibility of the principal (as the school council’s representative) to ensure that only suitable and eligible persons are employed in the school. Prior to the engagement of a person as a casual relief teacher, the principal must be satisfied that the person meets the following requirements:
- is registered or has permission to teach from the Victorian Institute of Teaching under Part 2.6 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, in addition to having completed an approved course of teacher training.
- has not received a Voluntary Departure Package or Resignation Incentive Scheme payment in the three years immediately prior to employment as a casual relief teacher; and
- has received a medical clearance if he or she was previously subject to an ill health retirement or resignation due to ill health from a previous employer (including the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and its predecessors); and
- does not have any employment or re-employment restrictions placed on them. To ascertain this, a pre-employment check must be done on the Department’s central payroll system. Any enquiries arising from this check should be made to the Conduct and Ethics Branch.
The principal must ensure that all of the pre-employment requirements are met regardless of whether an employment agency is involved in the employment of the casual relief teacher. When employing persons not known to them, principals are advised to check with previous employers to ensure that such persons are suitable to be employed.
Persons seeking employment as a casual relief teacher should consider outlining their employment interest and availability by lodging their details on Recruitment Online.
The conditions of employment for casual relief teachers including rate of pay are set out in Ministerial Order Number 200.
Casual relief teachers are paid for the actual hours of employment to the nearest 15 minutes, up to the maximum daily rate, and must be paid for a minimum of three hours for any one engagement. The hourly rate of pay equals one-sixth of the daily rate based on the average school day (excluding 30 minutes for lunch). Casual relief teachers who are employed for a full day are paid the maximum daily rate. The casual relief teacher rate of pay includes a 20% loading that reflects the casual nature of the work and is in lieu of annual leave, personal leave, and public holidays.
The maximum hours of duty of a casual relief teacher are 38 hours per week which should be applied on a pro-rata basis if the period of employment is less than one week.
In determining the duties to be undertaken by a casual relief teacher it is important that the work required of the casual relief teacher is neither excessive nor unreasonable having regard to the nature and duration of the engagement. The range of duties that can be required of a casual relief teacher will vary depending on the circumstances of the engagement. For example:
- a casual relief teacher employed for a short period (less than a week) to replace a staff member would normally undertake a combination of face to face teaching and student supervision
- a casual relief teacher employed for a number of weeks to replace a staff member would normally undertake the scheduled duties of that staff member.
- a casual relief teacher employed to undertake a specific task or activity would undertake the duties required of that task or activity irrespective of the period of engagement
In addition to scheduled duties a casual relief teacher is entitled to an unpaid luncheon period of not less than 30 minutes free from assigned duties. However, payment must be made for any school recess periods.
The provisions relating to the creation and retention of employment records for staff also apply to school council employees. In particular, records relating to qualifications, teacher registration and details of hours worked must be retained in the school. This is of particular importance as casual relief teaching from 1 January 2005 is now included as approved teaching experience for commencing salary purposes in respect of any future employment as a teacher in the Teaching Service.
To ensure that accurate information is maintained on casual relief teacher employment undertaken on and from 1 January 2005, principals are asked to provide a letter to casual relief teachers on school letterhead detailing the extent of the casual relief teaching work undertaken in each financial year. It is suggested that this letter be included with the casual relief teacher’s statement of earnings.
Casual relief teachers have access to procedures to resolve grievances that may arise. These grievance procedures are set out in Ministerial Order Number 200.
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