NTEU individual workers submissions

Apsara Sabaratnam (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Have provisions in place for long term casuals to be able to convert their contracts to a fixed term contract.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I have asked my employer on a number of occasions if they can increase my teaching load from 3 hours per week (1 tute) currently to 6 or 9 hours per week (2 - 3 tutes) per week. Each time my subject coordinator says yes, however, when the semester commences I only have one class allocated to me. Instead they have gone ahead and hired new casuals to take additional classes. I meet their targets, which is pass rates, however, am unable to increase my load. I do not understand why additional hours are not offered to existing casuals and instead new staff members are being hired. There needs to be in place provisions for long term casuals to be able to convert their contracts to a fixed term contract.


Cheryl Smith, Berwick (received via NTEU)

Community services

A directly employed casual by Catholic Care

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Fix casual contracts

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. A cruel … and they were happy to have me work extra hours and then refused to negotiate it. Can't pay bills, can't buy food. Worry about feeding family, paying bills takes its toll. This happened at Catholic care, Berwick when I was employed by Catholic care. This happened in the community services industry. Fix casual contracts.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education
A directly employed casual @ RMIT University, City Campus

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I have been working for 9 years in the same position, while remaining casual. I started with limited hours, but have built up to close to full time work, but still remain as a casual. Certainly the ongoing nature of the same position, but taken by a casual year after year, is against the Enterprise Agreement. I spend November to early February unemployed, and have so now for 8 years. In November I have discussions like "we hope to be able to employ you again next year, but there are no promises." In January there are further indications, but no contracts until mid-February.

Through my nine months of work I save up for the next three months, because I know I will be unemployed. However, I don't know about the following year's employment, so the summer holidays are a period of anxiety for myself and my family. This is still the case at RMIT University, City Campus, Melbourne. This happened in the Tertiary Education industry.


Fincina Hopgood, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Tertiary sector
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I have been employed on a series of short-term, 6-monthly sessional contracts that have seen me perform the same work for 5 consecutive years. With a break between each contract, my employer was able to avoid placing me in a more secure, ongoing or fixed-term position. I didn't want to query this arrangement for fear of not being employed again. As a sessional academic, I am also not eligible to apply for most of the research funding schemes, so any research work I do has been largely in my own time and at my own expense. As a casual employee in the tertiary sector, I have no leave entitlements of any kind (no annual leave, no maternity leave, no sick leave, no carers leave).

As a mother of two young children, I had to organise childcare in order to work, but childcare arrangements (in childcare centres) have to be made 6-12 months in advance of teaching timetables being finalised. Some institutions consult with you about your availability and try to accommodate the timetable to your needs, but others are more inflexible and if a class is timetabled when you don't have childcare in place, you can't take the job. I am only able to continue the work I do as a sessional academic (with a PhD!) because of my husband's job, which is a full-time, salaried position. If he were to lose his job or become unwell and unable to work, I would have to look for alternative employment to support my family. I love the work I do, I have spent years training for it, and I know I'm good at what I do. But I'm now 42 years old, still without a secure position and so I have been considering leaving the tertiary sector altogether. , Melbourne. This happened in the Tertiary sector industry.


Lachlan Clohesy, Melbourne (NTEU received via VTHC)

Tertiary Education
A directly employed casual by Victoria University, Swinburne University @ Victoria University, Swinburne University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Introduce caps on the percentage of full-time equivalent positions which can be filled by casual staff. The diversion of university funding to research rather than teaching exacerbates the problem and needs to be looked at as well.

Story

I am a casually employed academic working at two universities. Many people in my position do not know whether they will get a contract for a semester (12 week teaching period) until immediately prior (e.g. the week before) or, sometimes, until after they've already started working. Even if I teach one semester, I have no idea whether I will receive a contract the following semester, or (if I do) how many hours per week it will consist of. Between semesters I am unemployed - a period of about one month in winter or three months in summer. I save and pay my rent in advance over summer, often living off a credit card and paying it back once the following semester begins. I cannot think how much worse this situation would be if I had commitments such as a mortgage or children. This situation also contributes to problems in Australian universities. Students increasingly demand access to staff who are not on campus (or, worse, are expected to perform additional unpaid work). My desire to give meaningful feedback is hampered by the limitations on time allocated for marking. Maintaining research currency in my field, including through publication, is entirely unpaid - though it benefits the university research rankings. In addition, when students approach me with problems such as anxiety or depression (as I am a front line tutor), I have little idea how to handle the situation as we are given no formal induction or training in these areas (or others, such as OHS). Many casual academics are qualified and talented, but are not given the support they need to perform to the best of their ability.


Tess (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I was initially hired as a contractor through a labour agency. I was on three month contracts, and although I was always told that my work was appreciated and of a good standard, I was often left in the lurch as to whether my contract would be renewed. I didn't want to look for other work as I liked the job and I was given verbal assurances that my contract would be renewed, but the renewal paperwork was often left until the day it expired - which left me stressed about money as I had no recourse if it wasn't renewed. After a year of three month renewals I was employed as a casual. For the most part I work full time hours - but my hours would sometimes get cut with no notice. I don't get my roster far in advance so it's difficult to budget. It also means that I feel obliged to accept overtime (sometimes 12 hour shifts) as I never know when my hours will be reduced.

Other casuals who have been working for a year have requested to go full time and been denied - despite working full time hours. We're told that our casual hours look better for the budget - despite working as many if not more hours than the full time staff. I don't know my roster more than a week in advance. I usually work full time hours - but the hours have been cut without notice before which makes budgeting difficult. I have had to rely on my partner to cover my share of the rent when my hours were cut without notice. This put stress on my relationship - and also meant that my partner had to accept all shifts offered as he is also a contractor.


Anonymous, Notting Hill (received via NTEU)

Parks & Gardens
Employed through a labour hire agency by Hays @ Hays recruitment, placed with the City of Monash Council

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Invest in training so that people who are qualified in one industry can up skill and change to another industry sector without going thousands of dollars into debt. Invest in regional areas and local businesses and change the work for the dole scheme to employer contribution schemes to train older & young people for new jobs. Invest in the renewal energy industry to get people out of mining.

Story

I was employed through a labour hire agency in my current job. Low pay rates compared to industry standards, insecure tenure of work makes it difficult to budget for tent, bills and if I get sick and can't work then I risk becoming homeless Trying to juggle creditors while travelling 4 hours a day to and from work, trying to keep enough money aside for fuel for the car. We have missed meals in order to pay bills or rent. This happened at Hays recruitment, placed with the City of Monash Council, Notting Hill when I was employed by Hays. This happened in the Parks & Gardens industry.

Invest in training so that people who are qualified in one industry can up skill and change to another industry sector without going thousands of dollars into debt. Invest in regional areas and local businesses and change the work for the dole scheme to employer contribution schemes to train older & young people for new jobs. Invest in the renewal energy industry to get people out of mining.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Get as many people as possible out of casual (especially in the teaching profession) and into part-time work, so people at least have security and holiday pay.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I work 5 casual jobs, mostly involving teaching, but also examining and performing. I have worked as a long-term casual all my working life. I have been with my main current employer for around 14 years, teaching up to a very high level including PhD students. I have been with two other current employers for 20 year and for 8 years. I was with a previous employer (at a school) for 15 years. I have never had a day's sick pay or holiday pay my entire life. I have supported my family all my life under these conditions. Currently my husband and son are both chronically ill and I support them both. Over the long teaching breaks (school and university holidays) I always end up having to buy basic essentials on a bank card. This year, for the first time, I applied for Centrelink for the times I am not teaching, so at least I get some income over these periods. All my casual employers expect a certain amount of unpaid work, e.g., from report, preparation for thesis supervision and other teaching materials, to administration. When you multiply this by 5 times it ends up being an enormous amount of unpaid work. This kind of schedule and the unpredictability of my employment creates enormous stress and insecurity and has impacted on my health.

On the few occasions I have tried to express my views on this situation and my desire for better conditions (for myself and my students) I have had it made very clear to me that this is not acceptable. I know I am at risk of not being offered further work if I try to push these issues. The physical environment in which I work is generally safe. My main problem is stress related because of the very long and unpredictable hours I work. When work is available, I take on more than I would like to because I am trying to ensue I have enough money for the holiday periods. As a result, I get extremely tired and stressed.

In 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but I still worked through my chemotherapy and radiotherapy, partly because I needed the money. I should say here that I do enjoy my work and feel privileged to be a music teacher, because I feel that music is a worthy profession, which brings great benefit to others. It should be possible to deliver this without risk to my own health through exhaustion and stress. I'm not sure how to answer the above two questions - they are not directly relevant.

My son is an adult now. When he was a child, because my work was casual I generally had flexibility to fit around those needs but I could never have afforded child care -my mother assisted me. I don't have any 'leave' available for most of my jobs. The insecure nature of my work takes a great toll physically and emotionally as I have explained above in regard to health. I struggle financially because there are such long periods in the university year where there is no money coming in. I think I have covered this in my answers above. In ability to look after my son properly and to pay basic bills is the main one. Not having enough money to even cover costs that are required for me to even be employed, even basic things such as travel and parking to get to work are expensive a sis equipment. I don't own a lap top to this day and have to borrow money for things that I am expected to do in relation to my work - that is, attending conferences, putting on concerts, getting my music performed, published and recorded. Yet I have a PhD myself and am highly qualified and respected in my profession. My employer expect me to have a high profile and the university indirectly gets funding through ERA because I am undertaking these activities, but I get no assistance to do this.

The nature of my employment does not fit into any clear category and is ill-defined - I don't even know how to describe it - informal? Contract through ABN? Casual? Rolling contract? And neither does my tax agent who says I can't claim for many of my costs because I have an "employer" rather than 'running a business'. It is 'catch-22' and professionals such as myself are in limbo as far as work and conditions. I am not alone in this - all my colleagues employed as casuals in the music departments in universities and schools are in exactly the same position. Get as many people as possible out of casual (especially in the teaching profession) and into part-time work, so people at least have security and holiday pay.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Address the growth in job insecurity in Universities & the gender gap.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than 3 months ago. The pay rate looks good on paper- but there are always additional administration hours that are not mentioned in the contract but necessary to complete the job. It is not clear whether casual contracts tutoring will be offered in the future. It would be good to have some way to discuss with the University possibilities for more reliable employment. This is a particular issue for women who are Early Career Researchers as we're around the age of having children and it is obvious there are less opportunities for women in academia. The growth in job insecurity in Universities & the gender gap needs to be addressed.


Anonymous, Melbourne (AEU received via NTEU)

Independent School
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

If a casual workers works for an organisation for a year and a position become available, casual work must get preference for the position.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. They make me overwork without paying. Also they pay me $70 less per day than public schools. I've no health and safety insurance in the workplace supported by the employer. I'm a single mother. My grade 6 child has started travelling to and from the school by himself as I can't support him. I'm not sure how I'll live in the school holiday. Last school holiday I had to borrow money to pay rent. This holiday I'm looking for odd jobs. I'm even not sure if they'll call me for work in next year. They have position available and I applied. However they're not interested to take me though I've all necessary qualification. This happened in the Independent School industry. If a casual workers works for an organisation for a year and a position become available, casual work must get preference for the position.


Tony Ennis, Melbourne (NTEU received via UV)

Education, Entertainment
A directly employed casual by MUSU Inc

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

Set up an employment police force or similar body that would investigate and prosecute abusive employers. It is pretty easy to find the culprits, courier companies Cleaning services especially large contractor, vocational education industry, hospitality, health, the list goes on. It would be a very busy Department with no end of investigations...

Story

I was a directly employed as a casual more than a year ago. I was working as a casual for over 10 years in the same job. My hours were as needed and could be as long as 22 hr shifts occasionally. I was expected to have other forms of employment but be available for shifts as required, if no shifts were available for a couple of months I would have no income from this source. This happened at MUSU Inc, Melbourne when I was employed by MUSU Inc. This happened in the Education, Entertainment industry.

I have witnessed a large trend in many industries, particularly where large outsourced contracting occurs where the employees are subcontracting to a single employer on an ABN for substandard wages and conditions. In a lot of these cases that I have witnessed the employees/subcontractors have had no idea of their rights, they have feared speaking out in any form or even querying their pay if they felt it was incorrect. I have known many who have held 3-4 of this style of job at the same time just to make ends meet as the wages have been substandard and the job security non-existent.

If I was the Prime Minister or Premier I would set up an employment police force or similar body that would investigate and prosecute abusive employers. It is pretty easy to find the culprits, courier companies cleaning services especially large contractors, the vocational education industry, hospitality, health, the list goes on. It would be a very busy Department with no end of investigations...


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via VTHC)

Higher Education
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual more than a year ago. Another issue is lack of access to maternity leave. Despite working for 5 consecutive semesters (3 years) as a casually employed sessional tutor, I did not qualify for maternity leave from either the employer (I'm a casual with no entitlement to sick, maternity, long-service etc leave) or the government (because I was "unemployed" across the semester breaks and lost the continuity of employment required).

I work hard, I pay taxes, I want to survive. It is so very hard. This happened in the Higher Education industry.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Remove incompetent, desensitised HR bureaucrats and employ staff with credible degrees and academic experience. Eradicate fee-paying, buy-a-degree tertiary education and pathway courses, which promote a dumbed-down education system.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than 3 months ago. I was expected to work more hours than my contract paid. Three-monthly contracts do not enable personal financial security. I was only able to 'pay' food and rent by staying with my elderly parent and living below the poverty line. My job, which I had been employed in for nine years on a casual, three-monthly contract was never stable.

Since mid-2013, communication from my direct employer deteriorated and I was no longer invited to staff meetings, owing to being a sessional. I was dismissed through restructuring, and my job was given to an 'ongoing' staff member. Remove incompetent, desensitised HR bureaucrats and employ staff with credible degrees and academic experience. Eradicate fee-paying, buy-a-degree tertiary education and pathway courses, which promote a dumbed-down education system.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

Higher Education
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

I think the solution is a very big job and I'm an idealist, but that doesn't mean it is impossible. We need to re-examine what sort of a society we really want to be. How are we treating people in our corporations, in our universities, in the public services, across all sectors? Community and social growth is just as important as economic growth and we have pushed ourselves into becoming a society that values money over basic care for each other.

We need workplaces laws that make it easier (and fairer) for employers to hire part time and full time staff and better, fairer, transparent processes that can allow an individual to get assistance from Fair Work without needing expensive legal advice. We need a workplace system that encourages real mediation. In my experience large employers hire (or have in-house) legal teams and use bullying and intimidation tactics in the mediation process. Our workplace laws need to be clear, simple, and highly accessible, so that those without legal knowledge can understand if their working conditions comply with the law.

We need to look away from America and to other nations that have more successful employment and welfare systems in place. I don't believe that a country can have a healthy employment system without a healthy welfare system. The two work together to create a meaningful, cohesive, happy society. We need to fund universities better, we need to tax fairer, and we need less party politics and stuffing around at each change of government and find some workable long-term solutions.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I don't believe they comply with the spirit of the law. I am unsure as to the precise legality of my situation. We are put on contracts that mean that the employer can ask us to come into work for 1 hour of work only (we are paid for 2 hours of preparation and 1 hour of teaching in the $120 for the 1 hour). So each week I was coming in for 1 hour of work only. If I don't take the work, someone else will. I need the work. We are told that marking will be paid at the "marking rate".

It is impossible to mark at the rate prescribed and provide the level of feedback requested. Many hours of unpaid marking are undertaken. I have tried marking at the marking rate and have been asked to remark because the level of feedback was not comprehensive enough. In addition, we mark "in class work" in our own time that is unpaid because the employer interprets the contract to mean this type of marking is "administrative duties". This is despite the employer calling the working marking, the mark contributing to the student's final grade, and the marking necessarily occurring outside class time. Some classes have significant amounts of "administrative" marking. This previous year I have experienced a situation in which I committed to a certain amount of work (based around my available childcare). I made particular efforts to ensure the boundaries of the hours I would be asked to do (meetings and emails to confirm the workload). However during the contract period, I was asked to double the hours to which I had committed. I felt unable to say no because I had no job security and I wanted more work in the future. It was a tremendously stressful time. We were asked to have knowledge across two different year levels of university subjects, but were only paid for one. The employer writes up the contract so that it reads "Estimated total hours X." and so we have no power to fight over-work situations in which more and more work is expected for no extra pay. In the last contacted period, a colleague raised the issue of unfairness (and another issue related to improper procedure and concerns around bullying behaviour) and was told there was no work for her in the next teaching period. She was provided with legal advice that due to the contractual conditions, there was little she could do with regards to a Fair Work process. We are all too scared to raise issues of unfairness in our contracts or to challenge unfair or improper practices because we have no legal standing. We need the work and so we take on increasingly exploitative conditions just to survive.

Our union suggests to us a variety of basic level principles that we all should insist upon when dealing with such situations, but most people are too scared to raise these for fear of being told "sorry, we have no work to offer you this semester." In our training we were told "don't get sick". This was because there was no-one else to cover for us. They told us stories of how they come into work and teach while really unwell because there is no one else. So we come into work unwell and more prone to having an accident because we want work next semester. Our training did not cover any aspects of our entitlement to Work Cover. The significant increase in hours that was unexpected caused a number of the casual staff to become quite unwell with stress and anxiety. We raised this issue and we told "that is a personal issue for you". Normally I can nominate which classes I am available to take and then I am offered work on that basis. Therefore this usually results in a predictable roster, at least for that contract period. However this is on the basis that there is no other hidden and extraordinary hours or duties involved.

Most of us are experienced tutors and know the amount of work involved. We are asked to carefully consider our availability before committing to the work. Once we signed our contracts we were told of the hidden work involved which at least tripled the hours to which we had committed. Some of us had to make emergency child care arrangements. I had to spend my entire wage on childcare because I wasn't told of the extra commitment. I dare not take a semester away from teaching because I fear I will not be able to find work again. I returned to work when my son was 3 months old. The other difficulty about this type of contract work is that each semester it changes and so if I was to work in another part time or casual job, making them fit together is almost impossible, particularly around childcare.

I can only pay bills and food and rent because my husband has an ongoing job (although it is not particularly well-paid, at least it is reasonably secure). We are trying to save for a home. We have made some progress, but since having a child, it is increasingly difficult for me to find ongoing work (people always ask if I have a child or am going to have more, etc). Without me in an ongoing part time or full time job, we cannot get a home loan to enable us to afford a house within a reasonable travel distance to the universities that have work for me. Too far away and the travel and childcare costs are more than the pay I get. I am really worried that I will finish my PhD (I also have a Masters in Clinical Psychology), there will be nothing. No job security, no financial security. How can that be when you have the highest level of education one can get, and significant teaching and clinical experience?

This happened in the Higher Education industry. I think the solution is a very big job and I'm an idealist, but that doesn't mean it is impossible. We need to re-examine what sort of a society we really want to be. How are we treating people in our corporations, in our universities, in the public services, across all sectors? Community and social growth is just as important as economic growth and we have pushed ourselves into becoming a society that values money over basic care for each other. We need workplaces laws that make it easier (and fairer) for employers to hire part time and full time staff and better, fairer, transparent processes that can allow an individual to get assistance from Fair Work without needing expensive legal advice. We need a workplace system that encourages real mediation. In my experience large employers hire (or have in-house) legal teams and use bullying and intimidation tactics in the mediation process. Our workplace laws need to be clear, simple, and highly accessible, so that those without legal knowledge can understand if their working conditions comply with the law. We need to look away from America and to other nations that have more successful employment and welfare systems in place. I don't believe that a country can have a healthy employment system without a healthy welfare system. The two work together to create a meaningful, cohesive, happy society. We need to fund universities better, we need to tax fairer, and we need less party politics and stuffing around at each change of government and find some workable long-term solutions.


Rufaro Kanjere, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

University Teaching
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

If I were prime minister, I would prioritize jobs and job security as a fundamental aspect of citizens' well-being. I would reduce and/or reverse casualization of the workforce, and give more power to employees instead of employers. There is no point in having a strong economy if it is based on the exploitation of its workers.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. The actual rate per hour I was OK with, however, we were expected to do unpaid preparation for each session that we taught in the laboratory. This could amount to significant amounts of time because the subjects were quite diverse and it was very difficult to be across all the concepts all the time. Additionally, all admin time (of which there was a significant amount) was unpaid. And finally, when it came to marking the time allocated was typically too short for what we were expected to do. There were insufficient staff in the room if an emergency did arise, luckily there has not been a major emergency during my time. And were not told about WorkCover or anything of the sort!

Since the work is only for 12 weeks at a time, my childcare roster does not always relate to the actual days of work that I have. I am lucky in that my partner works full time, but otherwise I would not be able to survive on the available hours I had. I co-worker who did rely on this work said he was struggling, particularly because they would cut our hours wherever possible. Because of the short term nature of this job there is basically no job security at all - you just have to wait and hope you get chosen for the next semester. And because I am starting to take issue with the way we are treated at work I think I am less likely to get work next year.

This happened in the University Teaching industry. If I were prime minister, I would prioritize jobs and job security as a fundamental aspect of citizens' well-being. I would reduce and/or reverse casualization of the workforce, and give more power to employees instead of employers. There is no point in having a strong economy if it is based on the exploitation of its workers.


Barbara Hall, Brunswick (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education
A directly employed casual by Swinburne University of Technology @ Swinburne University of Technology

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Require job security and fair EBA negotiations be a condition of government funding.

Story

For seven years, I was a directly employed casual teacher until all sessionals in my school were sacked less than 3 months ago, four working days before the start of semester 2. I had developed from scratch a lecture topic for the subject in which I was a tutor and had updated each time I delivered it. The terms on which I received approximately $155 for each semester delivery as a guest lecturer were described as preparation and delivery. I was never paid an initial commission for preparation. Therefore I had no control over copyright of my work: the NTEU confirmed this.

When I was effectively sacked (that is, not offered any more teaching), Swinburne were able to direct a fulltime teacher to download and deliver my lecture, without paying me or presumably acknowledging my work; and the content was also adapted for a video presentation by Swinburne Online, the company set up by the university. I was paid a fee for this latter work but did not consciously transfer copyright. A third disadvantage is that at another university as a guest or staff lecturer, it is highly likely I could be challenged by Swinburne for lecturing on this topic. As an online teacher I had to provide my own `work conditions' including computer, furniture, heating. Only once in 7 years did the university distribute work ergonomics information.

In the past three years I have had no professional development. The head of school also ordered that although sessional teachers have university email addresses, were not to receive group emails sent to fulltime staff. Enrolments in my subject were decreasing each year in the three years under a new head of school. Students and teachers were also frustrated by the poor allocation system he introduced which loaded up classes at the front of the year and led to Summer and Winter semesters eventually being dropped altogether. It was feast or famine management. I was considered a good teacher and was always offered some classes, but the system was always one where we were advised of how many classes (or none) a week or two before semester started.

Over the past three years with the current head of school (who was been promoted to acting dean this year), my income was being severely eroded, from teaching four semesters (36 weeks equivalent) to two per year (24 weeks equivalent). So between November and March I depended on the age pension supplemented by a credit card and drawing down my superannuation. This happened at Swinburne University of Technology, Brunswick when I was employed by Swinburne University of Technology. This happened in the education industry. Require job security and fair EBA negotiations be a condition of government funding.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

Tertiary education
A directly employed casual @ La Trobe University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Better fund universities. Separate the requirement for universities to fund research from the teaching budget. Put people back in to fill face-to-face teaching roles and reduce the reliance on on-line methods of teaching in universities - it may be cheaper but the quality and depth of education is poor.

Story

I have been working as a sessional tutor/lecturer for eight years. If I spoke up about anything they would simply not allocate any work to me next semester. I do not receive any income between November and March which makes surviving Christmas difficult. I am reliant on Centrelink payments to survive.

While my hours are predictable during the semester, I have no way of knowing when I will no longer be offered employment. There are new PhD candidates that could/will be offered the sessional work I have been completing. I am replaceable, and with the University's push to entice more PhD candidates every year it is only a matter of time before I have no employment at all.

While I am a member of the union I don't speak up as any work I gain from the university is tenuous. Any changes to workforce requirements such as guarantee of ongoing employment for some will mean that I won't receive any work. This happened in the Tertiary education industry. Better fund universities. Separate the requirement for universities to fund research from the teaching budget. Put people back in to fill face-to-face teaching roles and reduce the reliance on on-line methods of teaching in universities - it may be cheaper but the quality and depth of education is poor.

Provide the opportunity for sessionals who have a 'good chance' of being employed for both semesters to convert their wage/payments to 48/52 rather than the current 20-24/52.That is calculate what they have earnt and spread payment out throughout the year. Or, allow us the choice of being employed as sub-contractors with one employer.


Anni Hine, Moana (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

I would offer more part time jobs to academics. In a Department with 2,000 students undertaking some First Year subjects it seems ridiculous to rely so heavily on casual academics. Many of these are wonderful teachers. As a workforce I believe that they are exploited. I have lovely coordinators whom I work for so I consider myself fortunate.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. As a casual academic I am one of many people who carry out teaching duties in Universities. I have no ongoing contract and I do not receive sick pay or holiday pay. Being a casual worker makes it difficult to plan my finances and I have no job security. I work both at a University and at another Institute, teaching undergraduates at tertiary level. For the Institute, I have written Units, and delivered them for the past four years, but still I am only a casual. The only staff member in the Course who is not a casual is the coordinator. I know that we (the casual staff) are valuable, and that this is not reflected in our conditions. At LaTrobe I am undertaking a PhD. I have a scholarship, and I am grateful for some teaching work, but I would rather be permanent part time or on a contract. My coordinator treats me well, with respect and kindness.

I was very surprised to learn that the co-coordinators in my department are all casual. It seems that there are very few staff with "real jobs" and yet we are involved in education - a job that requires commitment as well as a range of inter personal and professional skills and capacities. Here is an example: After marking essays I do sometimes get emails from students who are either not happy with their marks, or are seeking more feedback. When this happens, I spend a great deal of my own time going over their work and helping the students to understand why their mark was, say, an 80 and not an 85. I provide thorough feedback, and also advise the students of their options, should they wish to have their work reviewed. Not one student has ever chosen this option. Usually students will send me an email thanking me for the time that I have spent providing them with feedback. As a professional, I take pride in my work. I would rather not be casual, so that I could receive more appropriate remuneration and enjoy better working conditions.

If I was Prime Minister I would fund Universities properly, lower University Fees and offer more part time jobs to academics. In a Department with 2,000 students undertaking some First Year subjects it seems absurd to rely so heavily on casual academics. Many of these are wonderful teachers. As a workforce I believe that they are exploited. I have lovely coordinators whom I work for so I consider myself fortunate. Perhaps there need to be two categories of employment in academia - those involved primarily in research activities and those whose primary duties are teaching. Whatever the future holds, universities deserve to be in a position from which they can offer their teaching staff real jobs.


Anonymous, Frankston (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education
A directly employed casual by Monash Peninsula @ Monash Peninsula

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Value tertiary sector more highly in terms of budgeting such as with both more research funding and teaching funding.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Difficult to know how assertive to be and who to query issues with. Stress. Inability to plan. Insecurity about the future. Insecurity, concern and stress about the future. Stress around not having an idea of what to plan for in terms of schedule. Anxiety about whether I will be 'good enough' to get more stable employment. This happened at Monash Peninsula, Frankston when I was employed by Monash Peninsula. This happened in the Education industry. Value tertiary sector more highly in terms of budgeting such as with both more research funding and teaching funding.


Liz White, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education
A directly employed casual by a university in Melbourne

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Job security in tertiary teaching will benefit the quality of education provided to students and enable more effective professional growth and development of educators. Restructure economy to place education at forefront of social, economic and environmental wellbeing. Free education will pave the way to a sustainable future - educated societies invent solutions, respect and support the good of the many rather than individualism which promotes poverty for the many. More money on education will reduce costs of criminal system.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than 3 months ago. Sessional contract teaching - contract hours are insufficient for hours required for marking, following up student assessment, re submissions of assessment, email reading and response, student help outside class hours, administration of assessments, results, meetings with students and coordinators regarding student progress or assessment No Induction No certainty of securing a sessional contract until semester about to start.

No sick leave, no income outside reaching weeks (10 weeks per semester) No job security. No confirmation of a contract until week or two prior to semester start. This happened at a university in Melbourne. This happened in the Education industry. Job security in tertiary teaching will benefit the quality of education provided to students and enable more effective professional growth and development of educators. Restructure economy to place education at forefront of social, economic and environmental wellbeing. Free education will pave the way to a sustainable future - educated societies invent solutions, respect and support the good of the many rather than individualism which promotes poverty for the many. More money on education will reduce costs of criminal system.


David Ponsford, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

University teaching
A directly employed casual @ University of Melbourne

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I am directly employed as a casual as a university tutor at the University of Melbourne. While there are advantages of flexibility and options for part-time work, there are various instances where work related activities are either not paid for, or take longer than the set rate outlines. There is a set rate of pay per item marked. While it is possible to mark some items of work within the time that payment is made for, there is regularly student work that will take longer than this to mark. In particular, there is a strong push by the University to ensure adequate levels of feedback are provided for the students, this is something that I agree should be done, however, to do this properly often takes longer than the time allocated.

Being paid per item means that admin and follow-up associated with this work goes unpaid. For example, while it might take 25 minutes to mark an essay, it then may take longer to upload these results to an online learning management system. There are days when the learning management system is working slowly. These delays can also extend the amount of time it takes to login, access, and move through each piece of student work. At times, if connections break, or if one part of the system logs out, the part that you are assessing may not save your feedback correctly.

This also adds extra time in logging back in to ensure that what you have just typed in appears on their work. Unfortunately, there are also times when it appears that there are academic honesty issues with a student's work. In these cases, it takes longer to confirm that there are potential issues and to provide the required evidence on to the course coordinator. Again, this takes longer than the time allocated, and as such, without any extra pay to cover this extra time required acts as a disincentive to act on these cases.

The amount of time allocated to mark has also not been updated following the shift from assessing paper submissions to marking these online. Marking online takes longer, as you cannot quickly move back and forth through a student's work, or to easily compare work between different students to assist in marking consistency. Updating these pay rates would go some way into making pay fairer. Another issue is that casuals are disadvantaged compared to ongoing or fixed-contract staff. For example, if I was on a fixed contract, breaks to comply with occupational health and safety requirements are paid for, such as taking a break from the computer each hour. As a contract worker, no time is allocated into the rate of pay to take these breaks. As such, in a 7 and a half hour working day, a contract worker is only likely to be able to achieve 6 hours of paid marking time.

This is also felt on a regular basis in dealing with university admin. For example, at the start of each semester, I am required to complete all of the admin to set up access cards, logins, and dealing with HR with pay. For ongoing or fixed-contract staff, this is all done within paid work time. Receiving, for example, 2 or 3 hours pay to deal with 'admin' at the start of each semester would be a great way to cover this. If I needed to be absent during university semester, then I would not receive any pay, and if this was to be for more than 1 week, then being selected as a tutor that semester would not be likely. This happened to a fellow tutor who was to be absent for the first 2 weeks of semester to present at a conference overseas.

Due to this absence (which was to present research work conducted at the university) she was not offered a tutoring role that semester. This then had flow on effects on her ability to finance the remainder of her studies. At the end of each semester, I have no guarantee that there will be a role for me the following semester. This is particularly true for the end of 2015. The subject in which I have been tutoring will no longer be a core subject in 2016. As such, exact enrolments and therefore the number of tutors required, will not be known until the end of February. I have applied to tutor in the new core subject, but won't know the outcome of this until the end of January. As such, I am in the tricky situation of needing to apply for other jobs for 2016 to earn an income, and likely have to accept it if one was offered, even though my preferred option would be to continue tutoring at university, which I enjoy doing, find intellectually stimulating, and feel that I am contributing back into the good of our community.


Anonymous, Frankston (received via NTEU)

Teaching
A directly employed casual by Monash University @ Monash University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

Provide long term contracts for "career" university tutors instead of employing them from one semester to the next

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. This happened at Monash University, Frankston when I was employed by Monash University. This happened in the teaching industry. Provide long term contracts for "career" university tutors instead of employing them from one semester to the next. Despite 30 years' experience in the field and despite teaching the same course for 6 years and despite having fantastic reviews from my students, my teaching was given to a PHD student with no experience because the person in charge of employing tutors changed, and did not like me.


Sarah Dowling, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Tertiary education
A directly employed casual by ACU @ ACU

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Universities are relying more and more on a casual workforce, which forces highly qualified academics into precarious working arrangements because stable positions are so rarely available. The government needs to de-incentivize the casualization of the workforce and offer incentives for creating permanent positions.

Story

As a casual academic, I'm only employed during the University teaching semester. I have to find ways to make my wage from 30-or-so weeks of employment each year last all year. There have been times between semesters, especially over the lengthy end-of-year break, when I have had to borrow money to pay my rent and bills. This happened at ACU, Melbourne when I was employed by ACU in the tertiary education industry, but it is common at all Australian universities. Universities are relying more and more on a casual workforce, which forces highly qualified academics into precarious working arrangements because stable positions are so rarely available. The government needs to de-incentivize the casualization of the workforce and offer incentives for creating permanent positions.


Floyd Kermode (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: true

Solution

Give Fair Work more staff and some teeth, empower unions somehow (promotion and regulation).

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I have 5-6 employers. One used to drop me for 5 weeks if I got sick. They also took my super out of the pay they said they would give me. My spouse is often angry with me because of the disruption to her schedule. I have to miss important events in my son's life because I don't know when the work will dry up, so work as much as possible. Give Fair Work more staff and some teeth, empower unions somehow (promotion and regulation).


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by Monash College @ Monash College

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

Ensure fixed contracts for the period of work...for example, my 8 years of "casual" work - even though fulltime.

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job. This happened at Monash College, Melbourne when I was employed by Monash College. This happened in the Education industry. They should ensure fixed contracts (sick leave & holidays) for the exact period of work...for example, my 10 years of contract work (virtually full time) is only seen as "casual"; i.e. no sick leave nor holiday pay.


Anonymous, Traralgon (received via NTEU)

I was employed as a Casual Teacher Business at TAFE, however my industry experience was in Human Resources, and Business Administration.
On a rolling contract (but I was never paid) @ Federation Training

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Fund TAFE more so that TAFE are not employing staff just to get them to pay for "mandatory training" or any training for that matter. Are they just employing people, and making them do courses so that they can keep their own jobs?

Story

I was on a rolling contract less than 3 months ago. I am employed as a Casual Teacher Business. It was a mandatory condition of my contract to undertake Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. I was asked to pay the entire cost of this course, (and I'm a full fee paying student) of which came to approximately $2600.00. During the entire duration of my employment I have not received any work, paid no tax (and therefore unable to claim the cost of this course on my tax), and provided no subsidy by the TAFE for the costs of this training.

My contract commenced in August (after the course started) and ends just after the course ends (31 December 2015). It seems to me that I have been employed purely to get me into a course, have me pay for it, and then face termination at the end of my tenure. I feel this was unfair, and put me in a very difficult financial position as I had no other work until recently when I gained full time employment in a different industry. I have no examples to provide on problems I had with my health and safety (other than the psychological stress that the financial strain paying for my course placed on me).

However, given that I am employed for only 5 months and haven't been given any work, there is no way I would discuss it... I could just very easily not be given a new contract next year! I didn't have any work. No roster at all, and no communication about whether there would be any work. Not having money to buy food. The cost of the mandatory training crippled my family.

I am almost finished my Cert IV in Training and Assessment, but I have never been given any work. Numerous calls to Human Resources and emails to my Manager produced no support at all.

This happened at Federation Training, Traralgon - although I was never given any work when I was employed by I was never paid. This happened in the I was employed as a Casual Teacher Business at TAFE, however my industry experience was in Human Resources, and Business Administration Industry. Fund TAFE more so that TAFE are not employing staff just to get them to pay for "mandatory training" or any training for that matter. Are they just employing people, and making them do courses so that they can keep their own jobs?


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

Review the system of paying casuals and less incentive for large businesses to employ only casuals.

Story

I was a directly employed casual more than a year ago. [I had trouble] paying bills, stopping health insurance. Review the system of paying casuals and less incentive for large businesses to employ only casuals.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education
A directly employed casual by Deakin University @ Deakin University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

I would change the law so that casuals were treated like full time staff. If a casual has worked regularly for three years, then legally it should be treated like a full time contact when it comes to notice periods for termination, rights to maternity leave, etc.

Story

I have been directly employed as a casual in my current job at Deakin University, Melbourne for nearly two years. I would change the law so that after a certain period, casuals were treated like full time staff. If a casual has worked regularly for three years, then legally they should be treated like a full time staff member when it comes to notice periods for termination, rights to maternity leave, better super entitlements, etc. In the education sector, casual/contract employment is being increasingly used as a means to employ staff more cheaply.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Higher education
A directly employed casual by University of Melbourne @ University of Melbourne

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Provide proper contracts to employees.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than a year ago. I was always behind with paying bills and didn't know if I would be able to keep my home. I was highly stressed. This happened in the Higher education industry. I have now moved overseas to gain secure employment and have got my life back. Researchers in Australia need secure employment.


Mark Watson, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education
A directly employed casual by RMIT @ RMIT University VE

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Support education and educators. Just like Jeff Kennett said he would, and Baillieu with the highest (best) paid teacher promise.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Retrenched from TAFE teacher position under the Jacinta Allen "TAFE reform agenda"; have worked with 4 subsequent TAFEs with little support, such as retraining, etc. I funded the upgrade of my teaching qual in an attempt to get secure employment in teaching - only getting sessional with no sick leave or holiday pay, my prep is expected to be done on my time (their story is the hourly rate is for teaching face to face AND prep and assessment).

I have had to sell my family home and it has destroyed my marriage. Thanks. Teaching in antiquated classrooms little attention is paid to OH&S (WH&S). No professional development that allowed for vocational development, only training to meet statutory compliance with some local forums. No time off, I had pay docked for hours not taught, was invited to an international conference in Seattle to present I paid for it myself hopefully will get it back from income tax, not my employer.

Have an opportunity to present in India in Feb 2016 and the same applies, no support from my employer. Cashed my super at 58 years of age. This happened at RMIT University VE, Melbourne when I was employed by RMIT. This happened in the Education industry. Support education and educators. Just like Jeff Kennett said he would, and Baillieu with the highest (best) paid teacher promise.


Anonymous, Hawthorn (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education
A directly employed casual by Swinburne University @ Swinburne University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Guarantee more funding for these sectors to invest in teacher positions and stop ridiculous courses like the Certificate 4 in workplace training and assessment that tax teachers and undermine their existing qualifications and experience and dumb down the profession. Provide more teaching positions to address literacy and numeracy across all sectors.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. As sessional academic staff, our ongoing work involves considerable assessment and administration that I do not believe are accurately reflected in our hourly rate. Inadequate air quality and ventilation in some class rooms. Unpaid overtime stress and no sick pay and no indication of whether there will be ongoing employment at the college where I work. Because of insecure employment I have had to put on hold sponsoring my partner to immigrate to Australia for fear that Immigration would consider me unable to financially provide for him during his settlement period. This has also meant that we have been unable to have a family. I see little chance of being offered a contract, despite my years of experience in the adult English as a Second Language teaching sector and English for international students. These are important areas for creating a cohesive society and funding our tertiary system, but the teaching staff have no job security in the majority of institutions that rely on the good will of casualised staff. This happened at Swinburne University, Hawthorn. Vic when I was employed by Swinburne University.

This happened in the Education industry. Guarantee more funding for these sectors to invest in teacher positions and stop ridiculous courses like the Certificate 4 in workplace training and assessment that tax teachers and undermine their existing qualifications and experience and dumb down the profession. Provide more teaching positions to address literacy and numeracy across all sectors.


Bridget, Bendigo (NTEU received via NTEU)

Tertiary Education
A directly employed casual @ La Trobe University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Offer workers part time/full time continuing contracts that offer sick leave, annual leave. I would fund universities to be able to pay people properly and not expect them to do unpaid overtime, such as marking at home in the evening and on weekends, which if not completed threatens job security as well.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. If I don't work I don't get paid. I am a sole parent, my father died, and my daughter has a mental illness, I had to take time off work, but was not paid for this time off. I do not know whether I will be able to get another job once the current semester finishes. This happened at La Trobe University, Bendigo. This happened in the Tertiary Education industry.

If Prime Minister, I would fund universities to be able to pay people properly and not expect them to do unpaid overtime, such as marking at home, in the evening and on weekends, which if not completed threatens job security as well. I would offer workers part time/full time continuing contracts that offer sick leave and annual leave and security.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Change work paces laws to make companies hire permanently the worker after 3 years continuous casual work.

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job. I work extra hours outside of my paid hours Am I able to apply for WorkCover? I don't know. I haven't had any time off in 4 years. Even when taking holidays I need to ensure internet access at all time. I often don't get paid on time. Sometimes it can be 10 weeks before I am paid for a part of my work. I don't know if I will be working for the next 6 months or 6 days. It is very stressful.


Iqbal Hossain (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual @ Swinburne University of Technology

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. This happened at Swinburne University of Technology


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

Social research
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Introduce policies to reverse the increased casualisation of work and the rise in part time work. If businesses use only casuals for more than 3 months they should offer permanence to those that want it.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I don't know from week to week how many hours I will get, or when my shifts will be. This makes it hard to earn enough to survive as I can't take a second job. I usually get allocated <20 hrs work so I can't manage on this. I had a period where I couldn't work due to illness. Centrelink took weeks to process my claim for Newstart.

I received a 'Notice to Vacate' my rental home, and only still have a roof over my head because a friend lent me the money. I'm trying to pay them back but can't really do it at the moment. This happened in the Social research industry. Introduce policies to reverse the increased casualisation of work and the rise in part time work. If businesses use only casuals for more than 3 months they should offer permanence to those that want it.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by RMIT University @ RMIT University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

I don't think he understand this, because his from a different world, world of millionaires. What we need is a sustainable research and education policy: 1. Don't produce PhDs if you cannot create a job for them. 2. Do not cut education funds. 3. Support research. 4. Change the structure of funding to university especially the corrupted ARC Scheme. 5. Stop universities from hiring casuals.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. RMIT is not handling OH&S as it should be. If you say something you will become an unwanted person who always make complaints. They want people to be silent and do what they are asked to do. There are so many hazards in Bundoora Campus labs. If I get leave then I will not be paid. I can't plan to have children because I do not have a secure job to afford it. Why should I risk it and bring a new person in this world?

Every day I think of only one thing: do I get paid tomorrow? Let me be honest here, I hate public holidays and especially Christmas, since I don't get paid on those days. Every day of public holiday cost me a lot of money. This happened at RMIT University, Melbourne when I was employed by RMIT University. This happened in the Education industry. I don't think PM understand this, because his from a different world, world of millionaires.

What we need is a sustainable research and education policy: 1. Don't produce PhDs if you cannot create a job for them. 2. Do not cut education funds. 3. Support research. 4. Change the structure of funding to university especially the corrupted ARC Scheme. 5. Stop universities from hiring casuals.


Anonymous, Geelong (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by Deakin University @ Deakin University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

The solution I would suggest is to offer retainers for 'super-casuals' - so that they have a regular income across the year including the brakes.

Story

I was a directly employed as a casual in my current job. I am still working on my PhD and rely on casual teaching for my income. However, I never know just how much work I will be offered until a week or so before the Trimester starts. More often than not the amount of work offered is not enough to survive on.

I have been a casual at Deakin University for 12 years, I have also had various contracts during that time. But after giving so much to the institution over the years I find it disheartening to still be just given the amount of work the School needs done with no consideration about whether or not I can survive on what is offered. I have lived with financial insecurity for many years and it effects my relationship with my partner, and keeps me in a state of continuous uncertainty.

Despite my very good teaching record - I can't go for on-going positions without a PhD and it's very hard to keep up with my research when I am having worry about how I will survive financially. This continues to happen at Deakin University, Geelong where I am employed. This happened in the Tertiary Education industry. The solution I would suggest is to offer retainers for 'super-casuals', so that they have a regular income across the year including the brakes.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Tertiary Education
On a rolling contract by a major university

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

I would include an income protection plan as part of ongoing and transferrable employment. A minimum fee could be charged via superannuation.

Story

I was in a permanent part time tenured role. There were unsafe work conditions: limited room; unsafe room with no windows or ventilation; where there was a lot of manual handling and we often had to work on our own with no air-conditioning. When we complained, the work spaces were shut down and our roles changed significantly, although we were told not to worry as there was other work we could do, although this wasn't specified.

We currently have rolling redundancies in our area and other tenured permanent full time people have gone. There is a lot of anxiety surrounding job security. This happened at a major university in Melbourne. If I were Prime Minister, I would include an income protection plan and superannuation as part of ongoing and transferrable employment to at least provide some sort of safety net and peace of mind for such insecure times.


Anonymous, South Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Education sector
Contracting with an ABN but to one employer by JMC academy

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

I would ensure workplaces that employed large amounts of sessional contractors were investigated regularly to ensure they were complying by the appropriate legislation. The checks are in place but no-one polices them. Despite the rapid growth in the private sector delivery in tertiary education the rules are regularly dismissed by my employer as both unnecessary to comply with and inconvenient.

Story

I was contracting with an ABN but to one employer only in my current job. The contracted rates do not seem to comply with the award. I am unable to provide my services as a contractor would and instead am treated like an employee. The employer does not pay superannuation despite the income threshold being met. I am regularly reminded that my tenure is temporary and may disappear at any time. The work place safety issues are minor but many of them exist. My employer does not allow for the difficulty in organising care for my children. My schedule is often not confirmed until the last minute and often changes without warning. As a working mum this environment is attractive because the teaching day allows me to work and still collect the kids at a reasonable time.

However I am regularly informed that my schedule has changed - every three months a new schedule is fostered and I am often not made aware of how many hours I've been allocated until the last minute and often only because I have badgered my head of department. When taking leave for my second child despite being promised that I would return to the same classes they were allocated to new lecturers and it has taken me a long time to work back those hours in my speciality- I still do not lecture in the area that I was originally hired to teach. This happened at JMC academy. This happened in the Education industry.

I would ensure workplaces that employed large amounts of sessional contractors were investigated regularly to ensure they were complying by the appropriate legislation. The checks are in place but no-one polices them. Despite the rapid growth in the private sector delivery in tertiary education the rules are regularly dismissed by my employer as both unnecessary to comply with and inconvenient.


Anonymous, Eltham (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by RMIT

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Give a grant for administrative work or create a grant process for casuals. Give them full employment after two years, create an equalisation fund for poorer universities, however, also allow for external mentors to come and secure work for casuals outside the university.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Not told about it. I think the start of semester is always worrying, because you have not worked for a long time and then you have to wait four weeks before the pay comes in. This happened at RMIT, Eltham when I was employed by RMIT. This happened in the Education industry. Give a grant for administrative work or create a grant process for casuals. Give them full employment after two years, create an equalisation fund for poorer universities, however, also allow for external mentors to come and secure work for casuals outside the university.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Develop some best practice guidelines to inform the ways that organisations use casual and fixed-term employment. If projects are funded for more than one year, then the job should be secure for more than one year. Public sector services such as education should not be so reliant on the goodwill of capable and competent casual academics that hold multiple degrees and have very limited career paths. I understand the tension between workforce flexibility and profitability but seriously, should the casual workers have to suffer for a failure of management foresight and strategy.

Story

I was a directly employed casual more than a year ago. The academic I was working for had insufficient funds left in their research account and could not approve my timesheet so I did not get paid for hours worked Difficult to plan financially and the uncertainty of work and income insecurity was a worry for me personally, as the main household earner This happened in the Education industry. Develop some best practice guidelines to inform the ways that organisations use casual and fixed-term employment. If projects are funded for more than one year, then the job should be secure for more than one year.

Public sector services such as education should not be so reliant on the goodwill of capable and competent casual academics that hold multiple degrees and have very limited career paths. I understand the tension between workforce flexibility and profitability but seriously, should the casual workers have to suffer for a failure of management foresight and strategy.


Anonymous, Footscray (received via NTEU)

TAFE - teaching
A directly employed casual by Victoria University @ Victoria University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Bring in strict laws to prevent people being employed as casual workers

Story

I was a directly employed casual more than a year ago. The following issues were a problem for me. As I was a casual in the TAFE sector I was only allowed to work a certain number of hours and this didn't give me enough to live on with the low hourly rate. When I was later employed on a contract my income doubled for the same hours. I had long periods without pay over the Christmas break and holiday periods which my income didn't cover. When I was sick I wouldn't be paid. I was often pressured to come into work for free for meetings and other events on days I wasn't working.

You have to be constantly pleasing and can't complain because you can have your hours cut or be removed from the program. I worked like this for many years. For a few years I worked in a room without any sunlight, including an office. I got very ill with vitamin D deficiency. In general I felt bullied and exploited in this role. I trained hard to get into this profession and struggled to develop skills without much support.

My income was so low it was really comparable to being paid in a low skilled job. The other big issue was stress related. Being over-worked with little remuneration and in an environment where I felt I had no control over my work life and where I felt bullied and couldn't speak up. Also the poverty and knowing I had no career future at the university made me stressed. I left this job because I became ill and I wasn't able to work for a number of years afterwards. I consider this mode of employment to have had a devastating effect on both my physical and mental wellbeing.

I left the teaching profession as a consequence. As I've said earlier I had so little money during this period of employment. You only get paid for the four hours per day that you teach but there were many hours of preparation and marking which was all unpaid. Also you write most of the curriculum at the beginning for free.

I was making about $24,000 a year even though I was working close to a full week in terms of hours. In the holidays there's no money. I had to rely on my parents during this time as my partner wasn't working. Basically I had no financial security, often having to take out payment plans to pay my bills. It was stressful because all of the work in this sector is casual. It's not like going to another institution would be better. I felt really trapped in this employment. This happened at Victoria University, Footscray when I was employed by Victoria University. This happened in the TAFE - teaching industry. Bring in strict laws to prevent people being employed as casual workers


Sean Mulcahy, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Higher education
A directly employed casual by Victoria University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

Improve casual conversion terms across Agreements

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job at Victoria University, Melbourne. I would urge the Government to improve casual conversion terms across Agreements.


Jared, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
Employed through a labour hire agency by Dixon @ Monash University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Extensions on temporary contracts for temp to perm opportunities should be banned.

Story

I was employed through a labour hire agency with my current employer. I was advised that I would be paid through an agency for a maximum of 3 months, sort of like a probation period and then a decision would be made on contracts etc but I actually ended up on it for 5 months. That extra time crossed over the Christmas period and therefore left me without pay for the 9 days we have off.

Overall compared to others though I was actually lucky, as some people were on casual contracts for 9 months then advised there services weren't needed. All temporary staff were also denied the opportunity to work overtime and where the hourly rate was similar to that of the full-time staff without holiday or sick pay, this would've been a greatly appreciated option.

Due to this I did constantly feel stressed and anxious that I could lose my job at any time. This forced me to continually apply for full-time work whilst under contract and attend interviews outside of working hours which extended my days and added to my stress. This happened at Monash University, Melbourne when I was employed by Dixon Appointments. This happened in the Education industry. Extensions on temporary contracts for temp to perm opportunities should be banned.


Anonymous, Geelong (received via NTEU)

Education - Health
A directly employed casual by Deakin University - Waterfront campus

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

I would set a quota of how many casuals a university is allowed to have on their books, casuals who have worked at the same school/department/area for more than 2 years to be given a permanent position to fill in gaps in between projects. PS: I was an union member until last year when my contract finished and I could no longer pay the union fees as a became a casual.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I have worked at Deakin University since 2003 as a casual and a contractor at different instances. I have been able to secure a mortgage with the help of my ex-husband but would not have been able to purchase a house without his help due to my employment situation. The mortgage is now under my name but I cannot borrow against it because I don't have a secure job. For me it's a constant battle with stress and depression due to my work situation. It's very hard to plan for the next month because I don't know if I'll have any work. I know that I have work until December and then there will be nothing for me until extra funding gets allocated, which could mean I won't have an income for months. To help pay the bills I clean houses. I consider myself a researcher of 13 years' experience who has project managed many projects in that time. I cannot believe that researchers cannot be employed as part of the university staff and allocated other tasks when there are no projects available.

I worked on a project and had a contract for 5 days a week for the first 2 years and then 4 days a week for the third year but after project completion I was offered 1 day a week to wrap up the project and handover to someone else. Going from full time to 1 day a week was very hard, being a single parent with a mortgage. This happened at Deakin University - Waterfront campus, Geelong when I was employed by Deakin University. This happened in the Education - Health industry. I would set a quota of how many casuals a university is allowed to have on their books, casuals who have worked at the same school/department/area for more than 2 years to be given a permanent position to fill in gaps in between projects. PS: I was an union member until last year when my contract finished and i could no longer pay the union fees as a became a casual.


Anonymous, MELBOURNE (received via NTEU)

Education sector

A directly employed casual by AMES @ AMES

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Reverse the trend toward the tender process that increasingly exploits workers on casual payments who have no security of tenure and provide more full time ongoing positions, older women are the new poor. I have no super, I live in pain. I can't get enough work to support myself and I can't get a disability pension it I leave my marriage and I can't get an age pension for 10 years.

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job. I can only get sessional hours I spent over a decade raising my kids and studying simultaneously and as a graduate teacher in 2008, I expected to gain full time employment and earn a starting wage of $56,000 pa. Seven years later I have never earned more than 25,000 pa, and that was my best year. I usually earned around $12,000. There is no job security. Most terms I don't know if' I'll get a class to teach, therefore I am not sure of income each term, until the last Thursday or Friday of the term break. Sometime not even till term commences. One term I lost my class after a month without prior warning that it was funded short term. I am never offered full time hours even though I usually state great flexibility and desire for more hours.

I suffer extreme anxiety at the end of every term > not knowing if I will have a job the next term, waiting for a call, and then accepting whatever is offered because the alternative might be nothing at all. When l left my husband I couldn't get Benefits. I had to stay in my marriage where all the funds are controlled by my husband. This happened at AMES, MELBOURNE when I was employed by AMES. This happened in the Education industry.

To fix this - Reverse the trend toward the tender process that increasingly exploits workers on casual payments who have no security of tenure and provide more full time ongoing positions, older women are the new poor. I have no super, I live in pain. I can't get enough work to support myself and I can't get a disability pension if I leave my marriage and I can't get an age pension for 10 year


Anonymous, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Hospitality sector
A directly employed casual by Cafenatics 370 Collins Street

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

We need to clamp down on the hospitality industry and ensure that all workers are paid on the books at least award rates. There needs to be an easier way to report businesses that are exploiting their staff. Workers are often unaware of their rights, don't know who to go to for help (Fair Work is difficult to navigate and has been very unhelpful in the past) and fear negative repercussions if they do make any noise. The power needs to go back to the workers.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than 3 months ago. I worked full time but was paid casually and below award. I was recently made redundant with no warning and will not be receiving any compensation. This happened at Cafenatics, 370 Collins Street, Melbourne when I was employed by Cafenatics. This happened in the Hospitality industry. We need to clamp down on the hospitality industry and ensure that all workers are paid on the books at least award rates. There needs to be an easier way to report businesses that are exploiting their staff. Workers are often unaware of their rights, don't know who to go to for help (fair work is difficult to navigate and has been very unhelpful in the past) and fear negative repercussions if they do make any noise. The power needs to go back to the workers.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Higher Education
A directly employed casual by RMIT

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than a year ago. One of the staff more senior than me in my unit threatened my future employment prospects. As a casual, I had no access to leave. To manage my bills, if I took time off I had to work those hours.

My daughter was hospitalised for an operation and I couldn't take leave, which was incredibly stressful. I also felt uncomfortable because people in my unit talked to me like they were doing me a 'favour' by giving me casual rates. But I would rather have the secure employment and access to leave. When a manager explained that he'd changed the 12 month request for funding down to 10 months for the next year because "I would want a holiday", I couldn't believe it!

My kids and I still have bills over the summer, just like him and his kids. I had to borrow money from extended family. This happened at RMIT, Melbourne when I was employed by RMIT. This happened in the Higher Ed industry.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Scrap these unfair and unjust employment laws that exploit workers.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Being asked to mark 2000 plus word essays in 12 minutes, being paid for 5 essays per hour. Only being paid for final essay submission when each unit has at least 3 pieces of assessment. You don't really know if the job will be there next semester and you only work for two 12 week semesters per year. Relying on Centrelink to exist for the remainder of the year. This happened in the Education industry. Scrap these unfair and unjust employment laws that exploit workers. It is part of this general societal move where it is seen as okay to exploit people - profit over people, maximise profit at any expense.


Anonymous, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Health sector
A directly employed casual @ Ramsay Health

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Stop engaging in class war

Story

I was a directly employed casual. Underpaying was frequent; Assault by patient; Unplanned life; Feeling of powerlessness, which turned out to be real financial insecurity. At mercy of employers. Tried to get permanent part time but never could. Older person so more expensive and less able to be manipulated. This happened at Ramsay Health, Melbourne in the Health industry. Stop engaging in class war.


Anonymous, Melbourne (AEU received via NTEU)

Audio production, live and studio
Contracting with an ABN but to one employer only

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Force employers to follow ATO requirements on superannuation, award entitlements, and WorkCover aspects, and abolish the ability to hide behind labour hire or third party standards applied to work that is clearly outside the normal use of these rules. Ongoing qualified, experienced sessional staff should be entitled to pro rata sick, holiday, and long service leave entitlements, and these should be transferrable for a lecturer between RTOs.

Story

I was contracting with an ABN but to one employer only in my current job. No super paid. Tax not withheld. Invoice and signed timesheet required end of month, goes to Sydney the following Friday to be processed 14 days later. Late submissions, even by a day, are forced to wait an extra 7 days for payment. Pay is at 55% of the national award. It's a full on commitment and due to the introduction of trimesters and extra classes, 16 week units are delivered and assessed in 12 weeks. If you are ill, you cannot schedule a makeup class as there are no free timetable slots. Not to mention missing pay for that missed class. Having to set aside personal income tax, missing out on income completely during term breaks, no super, and no pay rise since 2010. Future is insecure and I have no protection or promise if future employment … This happened in the audio production, live and studio industry. Force employers to follow ATO requirements on superannuation, award entitlements, and WorkCover aspects, and abolish the ability to hide behind labour hire or third party standards applied to work that is clearly outside the normal use of these rules. Ongoing qualified, experienced sessional staff should be entitled to pro rata sick, holiday, and long service leave entitlements, and these should be transferrable for a lecturer between RTOs.


Anonymous (received via NTEU)

Contracting with an ABN but to one employer only

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Ensure the Uber rich and large companies pay their fair share of tax, re-evaluate the importance of education, remove entitlements for Politicians, and reintroduce tenured positions for teachers.

Story

I was contracting with an ABN but to one employer only in my current job. Underpaid, no superannuation, no sick leave, no holiday leave, not paid for a large % of the year, pay is less than 1/3rd. It was as a full time tenured employee … Not discussed …Couldn't get a loan …Too many to outline. Ensure the Uber rich and large companies pay their fair share of tax, re-evaluate the importance of education, remove entitlements for Politicians, reintroduce tenured positions for teachers.


Anonymous (received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

I don't know enough, but I would take money from something (probably the "war" effort) and provide it to the tertiary sector to allow for a wide subject selection, a stable syllabi from year to year, and outlaw drawn-out contractual work offerings.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. As a tutor I was not to get paid for lecture and film attendance time. In the end I did formally request payment and was granted it, but I was made to feel that the best alternative was to not go, thus either provide a poorer quality of teaching, or work without pay. I have not yet been guaranteed work next year. I am being hired each semester for different subjects, dependent on the work loads of permanent staff. If the roster will allow it, their workloads will be packed full and I will have nothing.

This is not fair on students or on us. There is little care paid to teachers and to the quality of the education. I don't know enough, but I would take money from something (probably the "war" effort) and provide it to the tertiary sector to allow for a wide subject selection, a stable syllabi from year to year, and outlaw drawn-out contractual work offerings.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual @ Deakin University / Special Broadcasting Services

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

In the higher education sector pressure on universities to at least provide casuals with a rolling contract of a year, rather than term by term. Creation of more permanent part-time teaching roles. Options for workers to have positions made permanent part-time rather than casual if they have been working same amount of hours regularly after a certain number of years.

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job. I have two casual jobs, one with a media organisation and one as a casual tutor. I am constantly worried that my position our hours will be significantly cut, particularly since I work in sectors under funding pressure. I have been working in one of my jobs for 8 years however there is still no guarantee that my position will be retained as the organisation faces cuts. Just this year my hours were decreased and are now minimal.

I also work weekends so would be badly affected if there were changes to penalty rates. My tutoring job is sessional, it provides only 22 weeks (plus marking time) paid face to face work a year, if I get work both semesters. It is unpredictable and I often only find out at the very last minute whether there will be any work. In the higher education sector pressure on universities to at least provide casuals with a rolling contract of a year, rather than term by term.

Creation of more permanent part-time teaching roles. Options for workers to have positions made permanent part-time rather than casual if they have been working same amount of hours regularly after a certain number of years.


Anonymous, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Education sector
Contracting with an ABN but to one employer only @ Australian Computer Society

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Have permanent jobs as the default position - particularly for teaching staff.

Story

I was contracting with an ABN but to one employer only more than a year ago. Fixed pay rate and no chance of negotiation, but the employer increased the rate each year. I suffered from stress, and inability to plan. I was always afraid that I could lose my job at any time and then not be able to pay bills or rent. I lost sleep and had migraines plus stress-affected muscle pain. This happened at Australian Computer Society, Melbourne. This happened in the Education industry. If I was Prime Minister I would have permanent jobs as the default position - particularly for teaching staff.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education and training sector
A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job. TAFE rates for HE teaching. No exam marking paid for … Unable to get bank loan; not knowing how long the work will last and the need to work in several places to make ends meet. I save as much as I can to cover expenses over Xmas period when there's little/no work. There's no getting ahead. This happened in the Education and training industry.


Elizabeth, Melbourne (AEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual @ Melbourne Polytechnic

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

I would force educational institutions to employ their staff properly. When a staff member has been working for the institution for ten years regularly with a regular timetable, flexibly adapting to new classes and subjects, giving generously of their own free time to complete the tasks that the institution needs to have completed in order to be compliant with industry standards, then the employer should honour the employee with a proper job so that the employee can experience financial security, holidays, and basically so that the employee can go forth with their life without the spectre of complete job insecurity hanging over their head for years and years. The current system is a complete disgrace and honestly, if Malcolm Turnbull has any idea of the conditions that teachers are working under then perhaps he will think twice about implementing any sort of innovation policies. Because without credible work conditions for teachers, how could anyone consider taking it up as a career. I know that I certainly tell everyone I know that they should discourage their children from choosing teaching as a career, because teaching is no longer a viable career unless you have someone else to support you.

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job. I often work many more hours at my workplace doing work that must be completed for which I am not paid. The work is stressful and there is no forum in which to discuss the stress apart from informally amongst colleagues - which just contributes to further stress. Taking leave, which is unpaid because I have no holiday pay, means that I'd effectively have to quit my job.

So I might not be rehired again. I am completely reliant upon my partner and parents to cover me financially. I am a TAFE teacher. Educational institutions should be forced to employ all teachers properly. For example if they need you to work for a year, for regular days each week then they should give you a 12-month contract. It's obvious isn't it? When a staff member has been working for the institution for ten years regularly with a regular timetable, flexibly adapting to new classes and subjects, giving generously of their own free time to complete the tasks that the institution needs to have completed in order to be compliant with industry standards, then the employer should honour the employee with a proper job so that the employee can experience financial security, and basically so that the employee can go forth with their life without the spectre of total job insecurity hanging over their head for years and years. The current system for employing teachers is a complete disgrace.

If Malcolm Turnbull has any idea of the conditions that teachers are working under then perhaps he will rethink implementing any sort of innovation policies. Because without credible work conditions for teachers, how could anyone consider taking up teaching as a career. I know that I certainly advise parents to discourage their children from choosing teaching as a career, because teaching is no longer a viable career unless you have someone else to support you.


Anonymous (received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Ensure there were a sufficient amount of permanent level A positions for university teaching and research staff.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. There are many sessional academics applying for work. If I cause headaches then they wouldn't hire me in the future. Sessional academics can't rock the boat. Being casual, if i was sick or unable to teach, then I wouldn't get paid. I have lectured with the flu before. I have had a friend who gave a lecture after finding out his friend had died. He had rent to pay!

My school at the university don't notify staff of their employment until a few weeks before semester begins. For semester 1 work, that is three months over summer without knowing if you are going to be working. At the beginning of this year, i was told at the very last minute I didn't have any work (while realistically, they could have told me many months prior). If I hadn't picked up work in another entire school, I would not have been able to pay rent. The PM should ensure there were a sufficient amount of permanent level A positions for university teaching and research staff.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

University education sector
A directly employed casual by Monash University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Engage in a serious discussion with the universities, change work rules to force unis to employ casuals after a few years of casual work.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. No issues as a uni tutor, I have no sick leave rights. Had to come sick to work many times. With no income between semesters, with a low income during semester, it's hard to pay bills and rent. I never have a clear idea if I will be employed again next semester, cannot get a mortgage without permanency.

Debts and a growing gap between my children's kinder and schooling costs and our joint income. This is very stressful and distressing. We are almost without any savings left. This happened at Monash University, Melbourne when I was employed by Monash University. This happened in the University education industry. Engage in a serious discussion with the universities, change work rules to force unis to employ casuals after a few years of casual work.


James Petty, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by University of Melbourne

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Introduce workplace relations legislation to prevent the casualisation of the university workforce. This would involve the introduction of ongoing positions for tutors as well as preventing the firing of professional staff and the offloading of their administrative duties onto tutors and other contracted staff.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. As a university tutor we are contracted and paid for a set number of hours per fortnight, however the work load has increased each year due to increased administrative duties required because of professional staff cuts. This extra work is not adequately compensated. We are told that all tasks are covered in the hourly rate, though it does not include lecture attendance or marking meetings, and is not sufficient to cover the amount of prep work and administrative work (student emails etc.) required. Also, timeframes for marking are becoming increasingly short. This semester I was required to mark 70 two thousand word essays over a period of five days. We are not paid penalty rates for this work even though it requires you to work overtime (more than 8 hours per day) nor for weekend work.

Doing marking work on the weekends is unavoidable: the essays were submitted to a Thursday afternoon deadline and were due by the following Wednesday. I do not get paid for the data entry of the marks, the required double marking of very high or low scoring essays, the significant communication between tutors and subject coordinators to ensure marks adhere to the set bell curve, or administration related to extensions and students requiring special consideration. Insecure and unpredictable work impacts upon my studies as there is no flexibility in terms of required output, except in cases of emergency. During the marking period the hours per week go from around 10 hours per week to over 60 with zero possibility of negotiation of this.

Due to the precarious nature of tutoring I can pay bills and afford food, though the work is only available for half of the year, so what I earn during semester also needs to be stretched out into non-semester periods. Tutors are contracted for single semesters with no guarantees of future work. The amount of work I do during semester impacts upon my ability to study and gain my qualification that will grant me access to future employment opportunities. This happened at University of Melbourne when I was employed by UoM. This happened in the Education industry. Introduce workplace relations legislation to prevent the casualisation of the university workforce. This would involve the introduction of ongoing positions for tutors as well as preventing the firing of professional staff and the offloading of their administrative duties onto tutors and other contracted staff.


Anonymous, Geelong (received via NTEU)

Higher education sector
A directly employed casual by Deakin University @ Deakin University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Have a think about the social and economic value of universities and fund them in a way which properly reflects this and doesn't leave them reliant on social Darwinist business models, which are an extremely poor fit for education and research and for making the most of Australians' potential.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Rather than my employer taking responsibility for paying its employees, my university reverses this principle, obliging casual employees to humbly request payment for work undertaken. This is done through the manual entry of a complex array of pay codes, which is not only time consuming, but also personally and professionally demoralising.

Problems with this system, and there are many, are met with automated rejection replies. Every unit I teach, and there have been dozens of them, requires a fresh recruitment, which, due to under-staffing perhaps, is often inaccurate and never timely. I am usually well into the teaching term before I am officially employed, with my pay claims becoming ever more remotely retrospective. I might also find that I have been recruited as a tutor when I have been delivering lectures, so my pay claims will be rejected until this fault is corrected – if it is to be corrected.

About half the teaching staff are casually employed and a cynic might observe that in the endless battle to be paid properly, any losses sustained by unclaimed and rejected hours, or mis-recruitment at lower pay scales, will translate into cost savings to the employer. Then university simply has no financial incentive to do things differently. Since permanent academic jobs are rare as hen's teeth, casuals are ripe for exploitation. Wish I'd joined the union years ago! My 'work station' is a hot desk. The steady incremental expansion of unpaid administration and overtime is difficult to resist. Anonymous student evaluations are used as a performance evaluation tool, making teaching a pedagogically flawed and trivial popularity contest – upon which one's continuing employment depends.

I worked in low paid jobs to support myself while undertaking eight years of study to complete my PhD. I've been working effectively – if not officially – full time since 2010 and I still haven't earned enough to begin paying off my HECS debt. Just as well I love learning and teaching! My taxable income was $21,000 this year, similar to my partner's. She is also a casual academic.

We receive no benefits of any description. It is very difficult to live on this sort of money. It is depressing. I feel degraded, demoralised and I don't see any future for myself in this field, but I can't afford to retrain and I am too young to retire. This happened at Deakin University, Geelong when I was employed by Deakin University. This happened in the Higher education industry. Have a think about the social and economic value of universities and fund them in a way which properly reflects this and doesn't leave them reliant on social Darwinist business models, which are an extremely poor fit for education and research and for making the most of Australians' potential.


Anonymous, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Tertiary Education sector
A directly employed casual by La Trobe University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Part of my role involved marking assignments. Often it would take longer to mark them than had been allocated to me to mark them. I didn't feel I could request more paid time to mark them so marked them in my own time instead. Childcare places are very hard to come by, particularly when you receive last minute or sessional casual work. I had to get a family member to care for my child or couldn't work additional hours. Working casually is not a secure, long term career. I'm uncertain where I will be working in the future. This happened at La Trobe University, Melbourne when I was employed by La Trobe University. This happened in the Tertiary Education industry.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by Deakin University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. No problems but if there were I would not dare bring it up. Although the university claims to have a "smoke free" environment, many people smoke on campus and nothing is done about it whatsoever. Security staff never patrol the grounds to stop people smoking. It is very bad for my self-esteem when I see people with lower qualifications, less experience and less competence given permanent work, whilst I remain as a casual. This happened at Deakin University, Melbourne when I was employed by DUELI. This happened in the education industry.


Anonymous, Sale (received via NTEU)

Training sector
On a rolling contract by Federation Training

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Strict policy in place for all public sector employees after 6 months of continued service all staff be given a pro rata contract where all redundancy/ leave entitlements are available.

Story

Ongoing employment contract being revoked to casual status, it took three months of trying to prove my ongoing status to federation training as they claimed my contract was with my previous employer, advance TAFE (East Gippsland Institute of TAFE) the amalgamation forming Federation training had no formal contract revision / roll over for ongoing staff. This happened at federation training, sale when I was employed by fed training. This happened in the training industry… Strict policy in place for all public sector employees after 6 months of continued service all staff be given a pro rata contract where all redundancy/ leave entitlements are available.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
On a rolling contract by Monash University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

I have been on one contract after another, doing the same role, for almost 6 years. I would input a law that ensured after a certain amount of time, you were guaranteed a permanent job.

Story

I was on a rolling contract in my current job. This happened at a major university in the Education Industry. I have been on one contract after another, doing the same role, for almost 6 years. This has made it hard to get finance for a home loan as it is not considered "permanent" work. Also added stress each tome contract is up for renewal. My contract is NOT being renewed this time, so I will be unemployed at Christmas. Won't be celebrating much in my house this year!


Kim Barbour, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Tertiary education sector
A directly employed casual by Deakin

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than a year ago. There was never any knowledge ahead of time as to whether I would have work in the next semester, even though I worked on large core first year courses. Not having secure work meant I was unable to plan for the future. Because of irregular income, what savings I had got spent between semesters. That means no mortgage savings, no possibility to build long term security. When my daughter was born, I couldn't afford to keep her in day-care over the summer, putting at risk her spot for the following year, meaning there was a chance I wouldn't have childcare when semester started. , Melbourne when I was employed by Deakin. This happened in the Tertiary education industry.


Annabelle Leve, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by Deakin

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Offer security and a safety net to balance the precariousness of casual workers. Force employers to acknowledge and reward sessionals for time in service. Provide better super conditions particularly for single women in precarious and non-ongoing employment.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. I work many more hours than I'm paid for but have to, to do a good enough job to be employed again I have found it very difficult to get help or support for mental health issues that I put down to the conditions of my work. Can't make an issue or again, no more work offers. An ongoing struggle to arrange and provide care and attention for my children. I still live like I'm on the breadline so I can keep paying bills and mortgage when I don't have any income like now. I'm living off savings. This happened at Deakin , Melbourne when I was employed by Deakin . This happened in the Education industry. Offer security and a safety net to balance the precariousness of casual workers. Force employers to acknowledge and reward sessionals for time in service. Provide better super conditions particularly for single women in precarious and non-ongoing employment


Anonymous, Geelong (received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual @ Deakin University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than 3 months ago. I teach Literature and Creative Writing units, and am often expected to perform duties not listed on my contract. For example, I have been copied into emails in which my unit chair has promised my students I will help them with their non-university related writing, such as reading and providing feedback on pieces not written or submitted for assessment — in other words, unpaid work. (Quote: 'Your tutor can definitely help!') I have felt that raising this kind of thing or refusing would suggest I have a bad attitude, am not committed to my work or my students (which is far from the case), and might result in me not being offered work again in future semesters.

On a number of occasions I have also felt bullied by colleagues in more secure positions, which I've also felt unable to raise without compromising my future work prospects. An accumulation of 'micro-aggressions' along with more overt attacks and examples of being undermined to other colleagues and my students have had a significant effect on my mental and emotional health.

At times, I've felt physically sick going to work, over issues I don't feel confident raising formally given my casual status (i.e. given that I am disposable). Taking leave for sickness for compassionate reasons (the death of a loved one) never feels like an option as a casual/sessional. Not only would this mean not getting paid that week, but I'd feel like I was letting my students down and rescheduling classes often seems to be more trouble than it's worth. In 5 years I have never called in sick, although at times I know I should have done so. Right now, I am unemployed, with no idea as to whether I'll be offered work next semester (March 2016). This makes budgeting for the months to come very difficult, and the uncertainty is also very distressing. Despite always receiving exceptionally positive feedback from my students, I am constantly left feeling uncertain and like the work I do isn't valued by the university.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
On a rolling contract by Box Hill Institute @ CAE

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

When I have spoken to Fair Work Australia about the problems, they have pointed out that my employer is in the wrong. There needs to be a stronger enforcement of employer obligations, so that we are paid in accordance with the law.

Story

I was on a rolling contract in my current job, where I have worked as a casual for several years. The dance studio sustained damage to the floor due to a tap dance class. This resulted in deep gouges that were a hazard, and took some weeks to fix. On another occasion I came in to work to find the classroom I was supposed to be using occupied by students who had taken it upon themselves to use the room to make a music video without booking or telling anyone. (Security staff leave rooms open when there are classes scheduled.)

The students were quite belligerent when asked to leave, and I felt intimidated and shaken: they finally left but the room was a mess, and I had to clean it myself as there were no cleaners available to do it before my class. At the start of one year, I had been handing in my time sheets as usual, and didn't even realise I hadn't been paid until I was unable to pay for my groceries.

There had been a change to the contract system, and I was supposed to have received a new contract, and signed and returned it. But I didn't receive the email with the documents, and they weren't sent to me by post either. When I contacted the payroll department, I was told to log in to the staff portal, but as a casual, I didn't have access to the portal. My manager did everything she could to sort it out quickly, but it took over a week to get paid, and I was unable to buy food during that time, as I was completely broke. I even missed out on going to my friend's wedding because I couldn't afford the train fare.


Max, Frankston and Dandenong (NTEU received via NTEU)

Metal Industry manufacturing
On a rolling contract by Chisholm Institute

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Offer either minimum 5 year contracts and or offers of full time ongoing employment after 2 years of continuous employment.

Story

I was on a rolling contract in my current job. No Paid Overtime, just given time of in Lieu (TOIL). Unofficially not placed in the HR pay system. I have to keep track of my TOIL time owed me and ask my supervisor for time off. I believe I am being underpaid. My job description does not reflect my job responsibilities and my trade and Cert IV qualifications. I am on 12 month contracts only and some of my colleagues have been on them for up to 7 years continuously.

I want to apply for an ongoing position but I am told that the Board will only allow 12 month contracts. This causes my wife and I a lot of stress and anxiety concerning planning ahead and how long I can keep this job? This happened at Chisholm Institute, Frankston and Dandenong. This happened in the Metal Industry manufacturing industry. Offer either minimum 5 year contracts and or offers of full time ongoing employment after 2 years of continuous employment.


Linda Stokes, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Health sector
A directly employed casual by ACU

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Contracts could be for 12 months rather than semesters. This would assist LIC's in marking and preparing for exams, making the current sessional academic an integral part of the subjects they are teaching

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Uninformed about policies of safety and I slipped on a wet floor. I did not report it as it was not a fall. Within a few months, I needed a hip replacement. Increasing the number of sessional staff has meant that there is less work for existing sessional academics This happened at ACU, Melbourne when I was employed by ACU. This happened in the Health industry. Contracts could be for 12 months rather than semesters. This would assist LIC's in marking and preparing for exams, making the current sessional academic an integral part of the subjects they are teaching


Claire Duffy, Geelong (received via NTEU)

Tertiary education sector
A directly employed casual by Deakin University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Value education more. Stop the corporatisation of education. Stop allowing university corporates from taking home million dollar (or near enough) pay packets and feed the money into the development of the content of education. Support PhD students. Value creative PhDs as much as traditional PhDs.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than 3 months ago. The teaching periods have decreased over the last few years from 13 weeks to 11 weeks so the content has to be crammed in and the students and tutors have no study/marking week as a break. This impacts on mental health and stress levels. At the beginning of each year there is no certainty whether you will be offered a casual position even if you have a strong connection with a university including being a current PhD candidate which usually strengthens this possibility. But no longer. You can be left adrift without any notice or reason.

There is no certainty from one year to the next or one teaching period to the next within a year. Notice of acceptance to a position is short for example you could be notified only one week before teaching begins and in one case I was notified in the week I was to begin teaching. This doesn't leave enough time to prepare for classes especially if it is a unit you have never taught before. The subjects I teach have high theoretical content and we are not paid to do all the prerequisite reading before classes begin (this can be many hours).

The pay for marking in no way matches the amount of time it takes to mark most assessments. The university and the students expect thorough, thoughtful, and theoretically sound feedback. We have to be psychologists and know how to deliver bad news to a student who haven't performed up to the standards that they are required to do and tutors have to be mindful of not sending a student into a depressive spiral.

This is a huge responsibility and can be enormously taxing. The pay we receive for marking in no way reflects the hours we spend correcting, and framing our comments and considerations. I have not felt unsafe at work There is a terrific pressure to please the academics up the chain because you never know what it is that that they rely on to consider you for a future position. You see colleagues receive offers and you don't and vice versa with no rhyme or reason and this causes huge instability and sometimes hostility.

The units I teach are not offered over the summer break even though the university has a third teaching period between Nov and Feb. This means that the summer is bereft of income and I rely on work to come in in March to make it through the next year after a lean summer break. This poverty over summer is especially burdensome because it is usually the time when people are relaxing and enjoying holidays but I haven't to pull the belt in and refrain from any activities beyond basic living. Even a car trip has to be carefully considered for its benefit. If I don't have more than one errand to do in a trip I won't go out of the house until I have several errands to do in one go. This year I was not offered teaching in March and I had to apply for unemployment benefits and was pressured to find work. I already work a second part-time job and I am trying to complete a PhD.

It is so stressful keeping a roof over my head that it prevents me from completing the PhD which I am partially doing to improve my work opportunities. It takes complete concentration to work on the PhD but my life is segmented into these moments of work and stress. I have even been told that some of the staff at the university are hanging out for me to complete so that they can offer me better work. It is impossible to plan anything in the future because I never know how much money I will have. I never know whether I should spend the little savings I do have because I might need it for an emergency one day and I may not have a steady income. It is like living in jelly unable to move. When there is a lack of income and no future prospects it is easy to fall into desperation. You imagine having to move to cheaper accommodation and having to sell your belongings to be able to fit into cramped conditions.

It is then almost impossible to think clearly enough to get yourself out of the situation. This happened at Deakin University, Geelong when I was employed by Deakin University. This happened in the Tertiary industry. Value education more. Stop the corporatisation of education. Stop allowing university corporates from taking home million dollar (or near enough) pay packets and feed the money into the development of the content of education. Support PhD students. Value creative PhDs as much as traditional PhDs.


Lindy Noblet, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Tertiary Education
A directly employed casual by Melbourne University @ Melbourne University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

A large part of the problem with casual work in the university sector is to do with the general lack of certainty and financial stability. Universities are now all about business. Services such as counselling are considered peripheral in the business model. I believe this is short sighted and problematic. University counselling provides support to a vulnerable and low income population. University counselling should be prioritised by the universities and the government as creating access and well-being for people where mental health resources are already stretched in the community. I would prioritise education and mental health and support those workers employed in these areas by giving them job security!

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. In my work I am employed only for the academic semester periods i.e. Feb-Nov. In my first year it was semester by semester only i.e. no employment for 3 weeks in between semesters. Contracts for the next semester are often not confirmed until the last minute creating a great deal of insecurity e.g. I am still waiting for confirmation about whether I will have employment next year. My service has put in a request for the casual staff contracts but the university have not responded yet.

I work as a psychologist/counsellor for students and staff. The lack of certainty around my ongoing employment also affects the staff and student I see i.e. continuity of care and problems whereby they have to see multiple counsellors because of a lack of availability. Being a casual staff member also means that we are not included in regular staff meetings and have less input about the workplace. You feel like a bit of an outsider. It can be difficult to work a manageable load during the year because you feel you must earn enough to cover the periods you are not employed. This means during school time when I would like to be around more for my kids I am working more than I would like. Working casually does increase my worry around ongoing income security as well as building super for the future.

This happened at Melbourne University, Melbourne when I was employed by Melbourne University. This happened in the Tertiary Education industry. A large part of the problem with casual work in the university sector is to do with the general lack of certainty and financial stability. Universities are now all about business. Services such as counselling are considered peripheral in the business model. I believe this is short sighted and problematic. University counselling provides support to a vulnerable and low income population. University counselling should be prioritised by the universities and the government as creating access and well-being for people where mental health resources are already stretched in the community. I would prioritise education and mental health and support those workers employed in these areas by giving them job security!


Julie Willersdorfn Bairnsdale (received via NTEU)

Education and training
A directly employed casual @ Federation Training

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Being paid as a base level rate when I have 20 years teaching experience. Been employed as a casual for 15 years; Annual contract not renewed until the following year. No salary for holidays; Student cohort, violence and aggression. This college has a 2 up rule (two people always with the cohort. Not followed up; Leave refused; Pressured to take leave when I didn't want to.

Trying to decide whether to look for a new job over Xmas holidays, or hang out and hope that I would have a contract the following year. Supporting 2 children at university. Having a contract that says my employment can be terminated at any time for any reason. This happened at Federation Training, Bairnsdale. This happened in the Education and training industry.


Anonymous, Melbourne and Ballarat (NTEU received via NTEU)

Tertiary education sector
A directly employed casual by Deakin University and Federation University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Massively reduce casual work positions and short term contracts for casual work, and replace with fulltime positions, while allowing for flexible arrangements in reduced work periods (e.g. November to February).

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Although on an hourly rate, start and end times were rigidly enforced, but unpaid overtime was dismissed as part of the job. Potential repetitive strain injuries were ignored. This happened in the Tertiary education industry. Massively reduce casual work positions and short term contracts for casual work, and replace with fulltime positions, while allowing for flexible arrangements in reduced work periods (e.g. November to February).


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by a Melbourne university

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Fixed term contracts. Same conditions as tenured staff. Get rid of Fair Work Australia - nothing 'fair about it! Ensure all casual staff are union members as a mandatory part of their employment. Ensure if there are casual staff employed they are given a paid training session of their employment right.

Story

I was a directly employed as a sessional casual tutor less than 3 months ago. I complained of workplace bullying and was told there would be no future work for me after complaining. I was paid an hourly rate as a sessional tutor and when I calculated the extra hours I was required to work it was less than the minimum wage. We were given strict timelines to return work with little negotiation.

My mental health was affected by unrealistic expectations and the extra hours I was working and not paid for. The roster was only predictable once the tutorials had been allocated but this could only be assured 4-6 weeks prior to anticipate commencement and only lasted for 10-12 weeks at a time. I have 3 children and a mortgage to support. I am now without employment since I complained about the unreasonable expectations placed upon me and workplace bullying. I continually lived with the worry which has now become a reality and am struggling emotionally and financially as a result. This happened at a University in Swanston Street, Melbourne when I was employed by that University. This happened in the Education industry.

I think there needs to be fixed term contracts with the same conditions as tenured staff. The government needs to get rid of Fair Work Australia - nothing 'fair about it! I was pushed by the mediator into a settlement after being told there was nothing I could do and it would be 'bad' for me to pursue my complaint. All casual staff should be union members as a mandatory part of their employment and ensure if there are casual staff employed they are given a paid training session of their employment rights. I need ensure the name of my workplace is not divulged to the 'Fair Work' agreement.


Jessica Crofts (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Stop casualising the workforce and protect workers' rights especially young workers who are trying to build up experience.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Not risking my current job but risking not being hired again in the same position next year. I am constantly on short term contracts which makes planning for the future incredibly difficult. Stop casualising the workforce and protect workers' rights especially young workers who are trying to build up experience.


Anonymous (received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

There needs to be more funding for the TAFE sector. Gov. appointed CEO's should be reviewed/monitored for performance.

Story

I'm a directly employed casual in my current job. For the 3 years I've spent as a casual worker I never know if I will have employment in the next year or not, I have to wait till Feb of each year to find out if I have work. There is no job security at all.

This insecurity leads to stress, especially leading up to Christmas and into the new year. There needs to be more funding for the TAFE sector. Gov. appointed CEO's should be reviewed/monitored for performance. Our current CEO has no understanding of RTO requirements and has restructured the organisation in such a way that it is unable to continue to function effectively. Staff with no knowledge around requirements of the training sector (i.e. audit requirements) are being appointed in senior managerial positions and are directing their staff to work in ways that are not compliant with ASQA etc. in order to 'save money'.


Anonymous (NTEU received via NTEU)

Employed through a labour hire agency

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Clarify the Fair Work Act to make clear that transferring a job to labour hire purely to avoid employee entitlements does not create a redundancy. Tighter regulation of labour hire. Laws that require work transferred to labour hire to be paid at the same rate as the company was paying before. A ban on "casualising" work that isn't casual. An overhaul of right wing unions that have actively brought about this current mess in our country.

Story

My partner worked for 9 years for an employer who was concerned to not pay weekend penalty rates. Knowing this, my partner would work his weekend 12 hour shifts with no break to try to ensure that at least he completed the work for the pay he got. The load wasn't always manageable. As explained the employer was motivated to avoid relevant Award penalty rate shifts. All new staff were already being employed as "independent contractors" via a labour hire agency.

The "independent contractors" were not paid the Award. Eventually the company announced that it was "outsourcing" all weekend shifts and my partner was declared "redundant" even though his job was still required to be done. The only thing "redundant" in the situation was the penalty rates. According to the FWC this was a "genuine redundancy". The crucial issue appears to be an employer's ability to rely on labour hire arrangements to claim that they no longer have a "job" i.e. there are no jobs in their company. Clarify the Fair Work Act to make clear that transferring a job to labour hire purely to avoid employee entitlements does not create a redundancy. Tighter regulation of labour hire.

Strengthen FWO powers. Submissions about this were made on 17.2.12 by the Melbourne University Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law. These submissions appear to have been ignored by the then Labor government. Laws that require work transferred to labour hire to be paid at the same rate as the company was paying before. A ban on "casualising" work that isn't casual.


Jikon Lai, Parkville (received via NTEU)

Higher Education sector
On a rolling contract @ The University of Melbourne

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

While I understand that fixed- and short-term contracts can be useful instruments to manage the ebbs and flows of the labour needs of employers, this should not be done at the expense of our moral obligation to workers who are human beings, not machines. According to my employer's own data, more than 30% of staff at the faculty in which I was employed was on non-continuing employment arrangements. In the school in which I was based, that figure was in excess of 40%. There has to be a cap on how much casual, sessional staff that universities can use in their labour force, especially in their academic staffing, and this should not be in the double digits. The high use of casual, sessional contracts makes a mockery of the claim that there are productive links between research and teaching.

One, people on insecure, employment contracts find it difficult to conduct research, especially if research requires a longer term commitment.

Two, the rise of casual, sessional employment reflects a rise in research staff being "bought out" of teaching duties so that they could focus on research, so in effect, the link between research and teaching is being actively broken. Part of the reason for the rise in the use of short- and fixed-term contracts at universities is the excessive focus on research outcomes, often at the cost of teaching outcomes. Indeed, teaching outcomes are often trivialised and denigrated. One head of school is reported to have said that he would be worried if his staff performed well in students' evaluation of teaching because this would imply that his staff were not focussing on research.

This is fodder for jokes that people in the know would find funny, but secretly acknowledge that there is more than just a grain of truth in the mirth. Universities need to stop operating in a manner that reflects a zero-sum game between teaching and research. Universities must stop denigrating teaching and teaching outcomes. In fact, universities must begin to reclaim the importance of teaching in and of itself, not just as a by-product or contributor to research. Teaching and teaching quality have to be valued sui generis for they have broader consequences for society.

They have a direct impact on the life-chances of students (note: in general, students will pursue a degree only once and poor quality teaching has immense direct effects on these individuals). More generally, they have an impact on the economy. Teaching also affects the quality of citizenry that we get in society. Yes, research may be important, but not at the expense of teaching. The latter is sadly the implicit modus operandi of universities in Australia today.

Story

I was employed on a fixed-term three-year contract as Lecturer of International Relations at The University of Melbourne until the end of June 2015. About 12 to 18 months before the end of the contract, I began to feel anxious and stressed about my professional, financial and personal prospects. Would I find employment when the contract ends? Would I have to relocate in order to secure employment (a peculiar feature of the higher education sector)? Would there be a period when I would have no income? If so, how would I pay my bills? How would the situation affect my relationship and my partner? Indeed, how did the early period of stress and anxiety caused by the insecurity affect my relationship and my partner?

As time went on, the stress and anxiety over the uncertainty and lack of security over my future began to manifest itself not just in my mental health, but also physically and professionally. I found it difficult to fall asleep, and when I did, I did not sleep well at all. During the day, I caught myself frequently clenching my fists and pinching my fingers. According to the dentist, I was probably also grinding my teeth against each other as the enamel had been eroding. My stress and anxiety also spilled over into my ability to be productive in research, as it was difficult for me to find the necessary head-space to do intellectual and creative work. This, of course, had implications for my prospect to secure permanent employment given the university-sector's current intense focus on research outputs in employment decisions. As it turns out, although the university eventually decided to (a) create a permanent position that was effectively my old role, and (b) shortlisted me for the position during the process of recruitment, they decided to employ the "next new model", a candidate who was perceived to have had a stronger research record. While this outcome might arguably be procedurally and legally correct, I found it offensive on two grounds.

One, on the employer's own terms, I was judged to have performed at above satisfactory levels in each of the three year's performance review exercises, and yet, I was somehow not good enough to be retained when the position was made permanent.

Two, while one can understand why employers would wish to employ the "best" candidate at any one point in time, doing so repeatedly through the employment of short-term contracts, results in a situation where employers are serially replacing existing staff for the next best thing. This is akin to the contemporary phenomenon where consumers toss out last year's gadgets for this year's new models, a practice which is all very well for electronics but morally reprehensible when it involves human beings and their lives. While I appreciate that fixed- and short-term contracts can be useful instruments to manage the ebbs and flows of the labour needs of employers, this should not be done at the expense of our moral obligation to workers who are human beings, not machines.

According to my employer's own data, more than 30% of staff at the faculty in which I was employed was on non-continuing employment arrangements. In the school in which I was based, that figure was in excess of 40%. There has to be a cap on how much casual, sessional staff that universities can use in their labour force, especially in their academic staffing, and this should not be in the double digits. The high use of casual, sessional contracts makes a mockery of the claim that there are productive links between research and teaching. One, people on insecure, employment contracts find it difficult to conduct research, especially if research requires a longer term commitment.

Two, the rise of casual, sessional employment reflects a rise in research staff being "bought out" of teaching duties so that they could focus on research, so in effect, the link between research and teaching is being actively broken. Part of the reason for the rise in the use of short- and fixed-term contracts at universities is the excessive focus on research outcomes, often at the cost of teaching outcomes. Indeed, teaching outcomes are often trivialised and denigrated. The head of school of a former colleague is reported to have said that he would be worried if his staff performed well in students' evaluation of teaching because this would imply that his staff were not focussing on research.

This is fodder for jokes that people in the know would find funny, but secretly acknowledge that there is more than just a grain of truth in the mirth. Universities need to stop operating in a manner that reflects a zero-sum game between teaching and research. Universities must stop denigrating teaching and teaching outcomes. In fact, universities must begin to reclaim the importance of teaching in and of itself, not just as a by-product or contributor to research. Teaching and teaching quality have to be valued sui generis for they have broader consequences for society. They have a direct impact on the life-chances of students (note: in general, students will pursue a degree only once and poor quality teaching has immense direct effects on these individuals). More generally, they have an impact on the economy. Teaching also affects the quality of citizenry that we get in society. Yes, research may be important, but not at the expense of teaching. The latter is sadly the implicit modus operandi of universities in Australia today. Meanwhile, the higher education sector thrives on a growing reliance on casual, sessional staff to fill their teaching needs, while balancing the perceived competing demands of teaching and research goals.

Teaching brings in income (hence the need to hire teaching staff, but only on a casual basis), but it is supposedly only research that support their reputation and performance in university rankings. I have become an inadvertent casualty of this dynamic. With the three-year fixed-term contract ended, and a personal inability to continue to experience the stress and anxiety that will come with serial and insecure short-term employment contracts, not to mention the financial implications of such employment arrangements, I find myself, for better or worse, leaving the sector completely and seeking employment elsewhere. Considering my skills, training and performance record (I have a first-class honours undergraduate degree from LSE, a masters from Oxford, a PhD from ANU, a strong publication record, excellent teaching scores and specialisation in an area that is attracting high student enrolment), many will find this outcome perplexing. Alas.


Juanita Fernando, Monash (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
On a rolling contract by Monash University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Ensure that a satisfactory review after one 3 year contract combined with winning an open selection process for one's job ensures a staff member's continuing employment.

Story

I was on a rolling contract less than a year ago. After recruitment to provide academic leadership for the Faculty to start a new course, I exceeded KPIs and eventually was responsible for the academic leadership of honours students within Australia and overseas. The program grew exponentially under my leadership. Once the program was established, and after more than 7 years of rolling contracts, my employment was not renewed by April 30 2015 and I am now unemployed. Bullying I care for my husband and also, a daughter is unwell.

These concerns combined with workplace bullying and a hectic academic workload complete with OS recruitment trips so that I was forced to take medication to continue as the bread winner for my family. How could I continue to contribute to Australia via taxation, care for my family and build a career? This happened at Monash University, Monash when I was employed by Monash University. This happened in the Education industry. Ensure that a satisfactory review after one 3 year contract combined with winning an open selection process for one's job ensures a staff member's continuing employment.


Katherine (NTEU received via NTEU)

A directly employed casual

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

Force universities to offer more short term contracts which reflect a regular work amount (with sick leave and support) rather than week to week casual pay so that teaching staff are not subsidising the university.

Story

I was a directly employed casual more than a year ago. As a sessional academic I was paid nominally by the hour--but the work could not be completed in the time allotted so I always worked extra unpaid hours. I needed to buy my own textbooks and use my own computer to carry out the required work. Each 'job' was separate and so I had to submit 7 time sheets a fortnight across my work, even though they were all on one campus. Even though I had outstanding ratings, I never knew if I was going to get sufficient work the next semester.

While my partner (who was in secure work) was able to support me so that rent and food were not an issue, I was often very stressed about what would happen if the relationship ended and I had no way to afford rent and food for myself. Force universities to offer more short term contracts which reflect a regular work amount (with sick leave and support) rather than week to week casual pay so that teaching staff are not subsidising the university.


Leigh Rogers, Barmah (received via NTEU)

TAFE and University sector
A directly employed casual @ Yenbena Training Centre and Swinburne University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: false

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

TAFE Teachers, University lectures, Trainers and Teachers are a pivotal part of an essential service. There should be no casual loading in this profession. Permanent Part Time "contracts" of minimal 8 hrs a week should replace casual loading. There should be two separate pay rates, one undergoing training and assessing, and one for outside work i.e. paperwork undergone during "non-operational" hours...

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Where do I start, as a sessional teacher I am expected to deliver a course during "operational" hours and yet expect to file relevant compliance paperwork aswell. This is physically impossible as I am training individuals with low socio- economic, low LLN or Indigenous backgrounds. Majority of the work is done outside "operational" hours and one would expect to get paid accordingly but no you don't.

Furthermore there is no security as each year we have to wait for funding outcomes to ensure continuation of our training. This is frustrating as one cannot plan things if things are in limbo for 3 months of the year... Then there is the question of pay rates etc since the national award had taken place in 2010. I work for two entirely different RTO's and each one has given myself different pay rates to the other... How can this be possible??? I'm doing the same job. Finally the 6 weeks break during Christmas/ New Year Period is a financial strain... there is virtually no pay and you have to try and "save" to supplement this period. It is very difficult when another 6 weeks of no pay occurs also during the year, let alone the occasional public holiday thrown in here and there. I am seriously contemplating leaving the profession only after 2 years it's just too insecure to live on.

Where do I start, as a sessional teacher I am expected to deliver a course during "operational" hours and yet expect to file relevant compliance paperwork as well. This is physically impossible as I am training individuals with low socio- economic, low LLN or Indigenous backgrounds. Majority of the work is done outside "operational" hours and one would expect to get paid accordingly but no you don't. Furthermore there is no security as each year we have to wait for funding outcomes to ensure continuation of our training. This is frustrating as one cannot plan things if things are in limbo for 3 months of the year... Then there is the question of pay rates etc since the national award had taken place in 2010. I work for two entirely different RTO's and each one has given myself different pay rates to the other... How can this be possible??? I'm doing the same job. Finally the 6 weeks break during Christmas/ New Year Period is a financial strain... there is virtually no pay and you have to try and "save" to supplement this period. It is very difficult when another 6 weeks of no pay occurs also during the year, let alone the occasional public holiday thrown in here and there. I am seriously contemplating leaving the profession only after 2 years it's just too insecure to live on. Where do I start, as a sessional teacher I am expected to deliver a course during "operational" hours and yet expect to file relevant compliance paperwork as well.

This is physically impossible as I am training individuals with low socio- economic, low LLN or Indigenous backgrounds. Majority of the work is done outside "operational" hours and one would expect to get paid accordingly but no you don't. Furthermore there is no security as each year we have to wait for funding outcomes to ensure continuation of our training. This is frustrating as one cannot plan things if things are in limbo for 3 months of the year... Then there is the question of pay rates etc since the national award had taken place in 2010. I work for two entirely different RTO's and each one has given myself different pay rates to the other... How can this be possible??? I'm doing the same job. Finally the 6 weeks break during Christmas/ New Year Period is a financial strain... there is virtually no pay and you have to try and "save" to supplement this period. It is very difficult when another 6 weeks of no pay occurs also during the year, let alone the occasional public holiday thrown in here and there. I am seriously contemplating leaving the profession only after 2 years it's just too insecure to live on. This happened at Yenbena Training Centre and Swinburne University, Barmah. This happened in the TAFE and University industry.

TAFE Teachers, University lectures, Trainers and Teachers are a pivotal part of an essential service. There should be no casual loading in this profession. Permanent Part Time "contracts" of minimal 8 hrs a week should replace casual loading. There should be two separate pay rates, one undergoing training and assessing, and one for outside work i.e. paperwork undergone during "non-operational" hours...


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education and Research sector
Swinburne, RMIT

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

More rigid rules on converting contract staff to ongoing staff.

Story

I was in my current job. I hesitated when I considered the application for promotion, as there might not be sufficient fund to support a higher salary for me. I have work contract after contract for many years. Some contracts just lasted for months. I had to worry about my next contract almost all the time.

In most of time, I had to pursue short-time outcomes (such as low-quality but a large number of publications) to ensure my next contract. I am now feeling lost in my long-term career plan. This happened in the Education and Research industry. More rigid rules on converting contract staff to ongoing staff.


Julian Holcroft, Churchill (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual by Federation /Monash

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Solution

The answer is not entrenching tenure or making all staff permanent. Many issues faced by casual employees, including unfair workloads and expectations are fostered by employers who are clearly incompetent yet cannot be removed. A fundamental shift in workplace culture would be required. One that is flexible enough to recognize the need for ongoing employment and stability and pathways to success but which does not entrench or reward persistent failure.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than a year ago. Systematic underpayment of sessionals was discovered by the NTEU. This was addressed by the employer by a restitution of the correct payments but incremental recalibration of hours, wages and reclassification of duties and other cuts to staffing ultimately led to less hours, more work and when these issues were raised with the employer complete loss of employment due to the 'nature of the sessional contract' When major health issues caused by conditions at the workplace arose or a report was made it was in some cases either not followed up or poorly investigated with shortcomings by the employer ignored and blame attached to the employee. Follow up with WorkCover was undertaken at the initiative of the employee. Power imbalance in negotiating anything, inability to stop other employees taking work. Contractual arrangements including pay and conditions would change from semester to semester be inconsistent and arbitrary. No clear pathway for advancement or ability to move forward in a role.

Lack of security in position. Ongoing disputes on pay and conditions led to a siege mentality and exhaustion for many staff. This affected ability to focus on work, co-worker relationships and ability of the department to function. This happened in the University Education industry. The answer is not entrenching tenure or making all staff permanent. Many issues faced by casual employees, including unfair workloads and expectations are fostered by employers who are clearly incompetent yet cannot be removed. A fundamental shift in workplace culture would be required. One that is flexible enough to recognize the need for ongoing employment and stability and pathways to success but which does not entrench or reward persistent failure.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Education sector
On a rolling contract by RMIT University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I work as a research academic. My job is totally dependent on external grant income, although my School expects me to contribute as if I were a secure staff member (do some teaching, contribute time to the administration needs of my discipline) and overtly expresses displeasure when I can't put time into some activities that are not funded by the grants that are paying my salary. I have been on fixed term rolling contracts for 9 years. These contracts have varied from 3 years in length to 3 months in length.

The process of getting a new contract regularly (for the last 2 years I have had a new contract roughly every 3 months) has been difficult, and generally goes to the last day or so in terms of sign-off, which has been very stressful. I have been under personal stress, with a sense of job insecurity and loss of self-esteem I have been unable to plan long-term.

The issues I face are: - never being able to apply for promotion, so being on the same pay scale for 9 years. - regular uncertainty about whether I will have work at the end of my current contract - unable to participate fully in work life as I am not able to sit on university committees or be part of work activities that are on-going. This is happening at RMIT University, Melbourne when I am employed by RMIT University.


Lee McKenzie, Sale (received via NTEU)

Education in the Food Industry
On a rolling contract by Federation Training / Victorian State Government @ Federation Training

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: false

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: false

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

This is a State Government issue caused by the dismantling of the TAFE sector by a previous government. As I see it the Commonwealth Government has an agenda to remove workers' rights so I doubt the Prime Minister is interested in fixing my issue. If you do not like it find a new job.

Story

I was on a rolling contract in my current job. I have worked in my role for 6.5 years with my contract renewed each year 31st Dec. My contract for the current year did not turn up until the first week of January 2015 with an offer of 2 days per week. No discussion regarding this contract with my manager. I stayed purely due to my loyalty to the award winning program I was involved in.

This prevented me from pursuing other fulltime work roles. I will not be renewing my contract at the end of this year. I will leave to seek employment elsewhere. I am led to believe some of my colleagues never received any communication re 2015 contract and employment ceased as at 31st Dec 2015. This happened at Federation Training, Sale when I was employed by Federation Training / Victorian State Government. This happened in Education in the Food Processing Industry. This is a State Government issue caused by the dismantling of the TAFE sector by a previous government. As I see it the Commonwealth Government has an agenda to remove workers' rights so I doubt the Prime Minister is interested in fixing my issue. If you do not like it find a new job.


Chandana Watagodakumbura, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual @ many institutes

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

I would fix the above problems I mentioned in the first place. Then I would give regular/permanent work to casuals even though at a lower salary rate. For example many universities do not have associate lecturer positions anymore; they save by using casuals to do the work of associate lectures. If we have associate lectures to do the work of casuals, the quality of teaching will improve. Casuals are only responsible for the hour they are hired. They are not paid to improve courses regularly and as a result the same mistakes are repeated every semester without anyone to take responsibility. In short, teaching is not given the priority level it deserves. I also create teaching-only permanent positions to take care of teaching and have continuous improvement.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than 3 months ago. To start with, this is not only a problem of mine; everyone in my situation face the same problem. In the last 3 months, I worked at 3 Universities and one private institute (sometimes weekly contact hours of around 25). Most of the universities (not all), tend to differentiate between tutorial classes and laboratory classes, which I feel is not fair. A tutorial is defined as a classroom without computers and tutor presents content to learners (sort of a discussion). On the other hand, lab class is a one usually with computers (or lab equipment). In a lab class, the tutor goes from one student to the other to help each student rather than a general presentation. The problem with categorization is that a lab class is paid at a rate of 1/3 of a tutorial rate. In other words, preparation and associated hours are not paid if you are doing a lab.

This seems wired and appears that Universities are classifying classes manipulatively to reduce casual payments. My point is, irrespective of whether you are doing a lab or tutorial class, you have to prepare and you have associated hours (like responding to student emails and checking emails). This differentiation is happening unfairly in some major universities I work (but I emphasize not all as one place I work do not do this differentiation and pay according to enterprise agreements). I have experienced this situation for a number of years - I have been a casual for over 4 years now since 2009 and I believe that this is against the enterprise bargaining agreement. Another bad thing happening is that, once a tutorial class is conducted, Universities tend to keep track of how tutors use associated hours (1 hour tutorial will have 2 associated hours). Instead of paying at a flat tutorial rate, they break down into associated hours. If you have not utilized associated hours (which is very difficult to track), they ask you to work later for the University without payment to compensate for accumulated associated hours.

I believe this is against the enterprise bargaining agreement (that is breaking down the unit of payment into sub level of associated hours instead of paying the flat rate) I only get to know the hours I have to work at the beginning of each trimester (even though I work at 3-4 different places at the same time). I have very less work in the summer. These situations cause a high-level of anxiety and stress. This happened at many institutes in Melbourne. This happened in the Education industry. I would fix the above problems I mentioned in the first place. Then I would give regular/permanent work to casuals even though at a lower salary rate. For example many universities do not have associate lecturer positions anymore; they save by using casuals to do the work of associate lectures. If we have associate lectures to do the work of casuals, the quality of teaching will improve. Casuals are only responsible for the hour they are hired. They are not paid to improve courses regularly and as a result the same mistakes are repeated every semester without anyone to take responsibility. In short, teaching is not given the priority level it deserves. I also create teaching-only permanent positions to take care of teaching and have continuous improvement.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via NTEU)

Teaching sector
A directly employed casual by SOPHIS, Monash University @ Monash University Clayton and/or Caulfield

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Reverse neo-liberal economic policies and recognise that teaching involves more than the face to face contact. Tutors often have a lot of teaching experience but their sessional status means they are not involved in the planning of a unit at a macro level.

Story

I was a directly employed casual less than a year ago. Although there was recognition that the hours determined to do a job were not sufficient, we were only paid according to an unrealistic standard. Lack of regular income between semesters and little time to plan once a new work schedule was available. Sometimes I was informed only a week ahead what day(s) I would be working.

Sometimes this involved attending campus for a regular meeting when I was not scheduled to work, therefore without pay. I am fortunate to be older and have some assets put aside so that my daily expenses could be managed. This was relied upon particularly during the long summer break, but did not stop me from looking for other casual work in the meantime. Many of my colleagues did not have the advantage of a nest egg. This happened at Monash University Clayton and/or Caulfield, Melbourne.

This happened in the Teaching industry as I was employed as a tutor for 12 or 24 weeks a year for eight years. Reverse neo-liberal economic policies and recognise that teaching involves more than the face to face contact. Tutors often have a lot of teaching experience but their sessional status means they are not involved in the planning of a unit at a macro level.


Anonymous, Melbourne (received via NTEU)

Education sector
A directly employed casual @ RMIT

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: false

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: false

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: true

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Reduce the constrictions around EBAs. They are now so prescriptive, organisations have no room to move. I am not offered a contract because it is "too hard" to get through the restrictive system. Myself and senior researchers have tried.

Story

I am a directly employed casual in my current job, working in the University sector. As a casual researcher, there are only two possible pay grades, the highest of which is only $49 an hour. The rate I was previously employed at for a short term contract was an Academic level B3 - the equivalent casual rate of which is around $65 an hour. However, the EBA does not allow for this rate to be applied on a casual basis. So I am consistently working on contracts where I am paid $15 an hour below the rate I should be. Additionally, within the system, casuals are treated as "non-people".

The time worked on casual contracts is not recorded or acknowledged. I have been working in this way for approximately 3 years now - on and off for various projects. Recently my husband and I purchased our first home together. I already owned a small property at Rye (inheritance) which I have been paying the mortgage for 15 years. In refinancing for the new purchase, because of my insecure work situation, I now must have my husband listed as a co-mortgagee on the property in Rye. I feel humiliated and angry that because of the casual work situation, I was not seen as a reasonable risk, even though my previous mortgage payments showed otherwise. This happened in Melbourne in the Higher Education industry.

Reduce the constrictions around EBAs and allow Permanent pay grades to be carried forward to casual rates. Investigate incentives for the University Sector to offer multi-year contracts. They are now so prescriptive, organisations have no room to move. I am not offered a contract because it is "too hard" to get through the restrictive system. Myself and senior researchers have tried.


Peter Brace, Hawthorn (NTEU received via NUW)

Higher Education sector
A directly employed casual by Swinburne University of Technology

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: false

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: true

Could speak up: true

Leave: false

Future secure: false

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. Not trained to handle unstable or dangerous students, as permanent staff were. Leave was not part of the job conditions. Never knowing whether I would have work next semester until a few days before. This happened at Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn when I was employed by Swinburne University of Technology. This happened in the Higher Education industry.


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via VTHC)

Tertiary Education sector
A directly employed casual @ Victoria University

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: false

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: false

Leave: true

Future secure: false

Solution

Reform the casual and 0 hour contracts to enforce security of workers. Provide casual workers with accrued day leave, sick leave, holiday pay and the same percentage of super.

Story

I was a directly employed casual in my current job. This happened at Victoria University, Melbourne. This happened in the Tertiary Education industry. Reform the casual and 0 hour contracts to enforce security of workers. Provide casual workers with accrued day leave, sick leave, holiday pay and the same percentage of super


Anonymous, Melbourne (NTEU received via VTHC)

A directly employed casual by University of Melbourne @ University of Melbourne

Pay and Conditions

Health and Safety

Personal Impact

Financial Security

Paid Fair: true

Safe work: true

Predictable Roster: true

Bills ok: true

Legal Employment: true

Worksafe: false

Childcare: true

Accommodation ok: true

Could speak up: false

Could speak up: true

Leave: true

Future secure: true

Solution

Create incentives for universities (and businesses) to establish full-time, ongoing contract positions. Ensure that all casuals in universities and elsewhere have access to professional development opportunities, including pathways to secure, ongoing contracts.

Story

I was a directly employed casual more than a year ago. I was a tutor at a top university. There was a sense in which the casuals were silenced -- we weren't invited to faculty lunches or morning teas or end of year parties. We weren't even welcome to the tea bags in the tearoom.

The casual workers were competing for contracts and so no one wanted to speak up about the precariousness of it all. Create incentives for universities (and businesses) to establish full-time, ongoing contract positions. Ensure that all casuals in universities and elsewhere have access to professional development opportunities, including pathways to secure, ongoing contracts.

Page last updated: 20 July 2016