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School operations

Student Resource Package — Managing the Budget

2  Relief staffing

Funds are incorporated into the Student Resource Package (SRP) to enable schools to manage all of their short and long-term relief teaching requirements.

There are exceptions in the nominated leave items outlined below. Relief funds are incorporated throughout the SRP formulae and are not separately identified.

Long-term leave is defined as leave of greater than 30 consecutive school days.

  • relief planning
  • nominated leave items
  • relief funding
  • Defence Force leave
  • long-term leave
  • identification of a replacement
  • trailing holidays
  • teaching scholarship scheme

Relief planning

As part of the relief planning process, principals should consider the duties and expertise of all staff and allocate tasks accordingly. A reallocation of duties may be required in order to provide or maintain the desired curriculum or support provision in the school.

Replacement teaching staff are to be provided only when face-to-face teaching is required and where no internal resource is available. Contingency plans should be in place to provide for temporary re-organisation of teaching programs and extras to maintain necessary face-to-face teaching.

It is expected that principals will develop a school-based staff replacement plan and make adequate provision for relief costs to be met from within the total credit component of their SRP. Special support arrangements operate in respect of long-term leave via the 'Long-term Leave Support Scheme’ detailed below.

Nominated leave items

Schools will be reimbursed for the cost of relief for the following types of leave:

  • long service leave and paid parental absences, for example maternity, partner, other paid parental leave (over and under 30 days)
  • Workers’ Compensation absences after the first 10 days (Workcover threshold)
  • Transport Accident Commission Leave
  • major sporting competition leave.

Where leave is 30 working days or less the DET’s Schools Finance and Resources Branch will approve reimbursement from contingency funds, providing that relief is required (where no internal resource can be available) and is employed. For leave over 30 days, funds will be allocated to cover the range of potential replacement costs, including fixed-term appointments and higher duties.

Where there is insufficient overall credit surplus in the SRP to employ relief, schools must have a deficit management strategy in place to reduce the deficit and to meet relief contingencies, having a view to using both the credit and cash components of the SRP. A summary of relief fund sources is provided in the table below.

A replacement can be a central or local/agency employee who meets the criteria below. Reimbursement will be cash or credit depending on the type of replacement nominated by the school.  However, cash reimbursement can only be for periods up to 30 school days. Schools are required to process and submit nominated replacement details on a regular basis and need to be submitted no later than by the end of the next term after the replacement took place.

Please note: The SRP leave reimbursement will only be provided where a teacher replaced a teacher and where an Education Support staff member replaced an Education Support staff member.

Cash reimbursements are subject to investigation which will be undertaken continuously throughout the year. Periodic and random checks will be made at schools to ensure the integrity of the process is maintained and schools maintain accountability for the submission process. Documentation will also be reviewed to ensure appropriate evidence is on file such as time sheets and invoices.

Relief funding

The following table summarises the funding source for each leave type for principals, teachers and education support officers:

Relief funding — Principals

Principals 1-5 Days 6-30 Days More than 30 days (31+)
Sick leave No reimbursement* For periods of more than five days, higher duties must be entered on eduPay for an employee paid through central payroll Leave on central payroll is automatically reimbursed to SRP other than the holiday period **. For replacement to move to principal line Higher Duties must be entered on eduPay. Check Management Reports.
Nominated leave
  • Long service leave
  • Family-Primary Carer/Partner-Secondary Carer Leave
  • Workers’ Compensation absences after the first ten days (Workcover Threshold)
  • Transport Accident Commission Leave (after the first five days)
  • Major sporting competition leave
Identify replacement through the leave panel on the SRP Portal For periods of more than five days, higher duties must be entered on eduPay for an employee paid through central payroll Leave on central payroll is automatically reimbursed to SRP other than the holiday period**. For replacement to move to principal line Higher Duties must be entered on eduPay. Check Management Reports.

*Funding of up to 5 days already funded in SRP.

** Identify replacement through the leave portal on the SRP website to claim leave for the holiday period.

Relief funding — Assistant Principals, Teachers, Education Support Officers, Allied Health and Victorian Public Servants

Assistant Principals, Teachers, Education Support Officers, Allied Health and Victorian Public Servants Up to 30 days More than 30 days (31+)
Sick leave No reimbursement* Schools pay self-insurance premium under Long-term Leave Support Scheme (see below). Leave on payroll is automatically reimbursed to SRP other than the holiday period**. Leave Capping (see below) may apply. Check Management Reports .
Nominated leave
  • Long Service Leave
  • Family-Primary Carer/Partner-Secondary Carer Leave
  • Workers’ Compensation absences after the first ten days
  • Transport Accident Commission Leave (after the first five days)
  • Major sporting competition leave
Identify replacement through the leave panel on the SRP Portal Leave on central payroll is automatically reimbursed to SRP other than the holiday period**. Leave Capping (see below) may apply. Check Management Reports .
Defence Force Leave Leave is unpaid. If charged for make-up pay, claim reimbursement via Service Desk Request Leave is unpaid. If charged for make-up pay, claim reimbursement via Service Desk Request
Annual Leave No reimbursement* No reimbursement*
All other relief No reimbursement* No reimbursement* No reimbursement*

*Funding of up to 30 days already funded in SRP.

** Identify replacement through the leave portal on the SRP website to claim leave for the holiday period.

Defence Force leave

Defence Force leave is unpaid; some teachers on Defence Force leave may receive make-up pay to cover the difference between their Defence Force and the Department’s salary. Schools are to be fully reimbursed for this amount. To claim reimbursement, a Service Desk Request should be submitted to the Schools Finance and Resources Branch.

For more information on Defence Force Leave refer to Leave for Defence Reserve Service.

Long-term leave

During periods of extended paid leave for teachers, such as long service leave, there is normally an additional salary cost against eduPay. In addition to the salary of the teacher on leave, replacement costs arise from the appointment of fixed-term staff, payment of higher duties, time fraction increases or special payments.

Funds to meet these extra costs are not included in the SRP due to the highly variable impact of extended leave on individual schools. In these instances, separate administrative arrangements are in place for funding to be provided for replacement costs when the actual leave occurs.

For more information on Short Term and Long Term vacancies, please refer to Recruitment in Schools guidelines.

Teacher relief for periods in excess of 30 working days must be through fixed-term arrangements on eduPay. If a casual relief teacher is used initially because the absence is believed to be short-term, the employment must be converted, where the teacher is absent on personal leave, to fixed-term immediately when it is recognised that the absence will extend beyond 30 days. Refer to the Casual Relief Teachers policy.

The following funding arrangements operate for long-term leave over 30 days, including long-service leave, paid parental absences e.g. maternity leave, partner, other paid parental, Workers’ Compensation leave, Transport Accident Commission Leave and long-term sick leave:

  • Classroom teachers on long-term leave are charged outside the school’s SRP during the period of their leave, up to a salary equivalent of a classroom teacher CT1-3.
  • In the case of promotion level staff, the amount charged outside the SRP will equate to a classroom teacher CT1-3 plus the higher duties replacement cost.
  • In the case of the principal and education support staff, the whole of the salary will be charged outside the SRP during the period of leave.
  • The salary leave loading (SLL) of the absent staff member or the replacement (smaller amount of 2) will be only charged outside if the employee is on leave in the pay period SLL is paid.

Under this arrangement, long-term leave will be charged outside the budget automatically when the leave occurs. The model allows budget flexibility for schools that may choose not to replace directly, who replace at lower cost, or who replace using a combination of means such as special payments and time fraction changes.

Long term leave support scheme premium

A long-term leave support scheme operates to support schools in the management of leave costs for both teachers and Education Support Officers. The scheme effectively provides for schools to contribute a fixed annual premium towards the state-wide cost, rather than deal individually with potentially significant unplanned leave costs. The annual premium is displayed as a deduction in the cash section of a school’s SRP management report.

Long term leave support scheme rates 2022:

  • Index-model specialist schools: $ per student (included in index): $159.45
  • All other schools: % of the total credit component in the SRP: 1.384%

Leave capping

The following funding arrangements operate for leave where a credit reimbursement is made to the school.

Classroom teachers on long-term leave are charged outside the school’s SRP during the period of their leave, up to a salary equivalent of a Classroom Teacher 1-3.

In the case of promotion level staff, the amount charged outside the SRP will equate to a Classroom Teacher 1-3 plus the higher duties replacement cost. In the case of the school principal, education support staff, and allied health staff based in schools, the whole of the salary will be charged outside the SRP during the period of leave.

Leave capping

Salary of person on leave Equivalent value of a person's salary charged outside the SRP
Principal Full salary
Assistant Principal Classroom Teacher 1-3 + HD gap (base of Assistant Principal range minus Classroom Teacher 2-6)
Leading Teacher or Learning Specialist Classroom Teacher 1-3 + HD gap (base of Leading Teacher range minus Classroom Teacher 2-6)
Classroom Teacher 1 Levels 3-5
Classroom Teacher 2 Levels 1-6
Classroom Teacher 1 Level 3
Classroom Teacher 1 Level 2 Classroom Teacher 1-2
Classroom Teacher 1 Level 1 Classroom Teacher 1-1
Education Support Officers Full salary
VPS and Allied Health Full Salary

Example: Funding for a Leading Teacher 3.1 on long-service leave more than 30 days

Regular Fortnightly Charge $4,334.31
Salary Charge SRP Saving
Outside Budget $3,164.13 $4,334.31
Inside Budget $1,170.17
TOTAL $4,334.31 $3,164.13

Example: Funding for a Leading Teacher 3.1 on half pay long-service leave more than 30 days

Regular Fortnightly Charge $4,334.31
Salary Charge SRP Saving
Regular Charge @ Half Pay $2,167.15 $2,167.15
Outside Budget $996.98 $996.98
Inside Budget $1,170.17
TOTAL $4,334.31 $3,164.13

Calculation of saving

Classroom Teacher 1-3: $77,474 / 26.0893 fortnights $2,969.57
Higher duties gap Classroom Teacher 2.6 ($108,003) to Leading Teacher 3.1 ($113,079) = $4,334.31 / 26.0893 fortnights + $194.56
Saving to school for relief $3,164.13

The rates quoted above are relevant to salaries paid as at 1 October 2020.

Excel Calculator for Leave (Excel)

Note: This calculator assists with estimating the inside budget amounts for teaching staff who are on leave.  It is a guideline only and some classifications, like assistant principal class who have SmartSalary packaging can vary.

Leave reimbursement cash (short term leave)

Leave Reimbursement Cash (short term leave) is a process whereby schools can apply for reimbursement for nominated leave items less than 30 continuous working days.

If schools experience extraordinary periods of short term paid leave they should discuss alternative support with the Schools Finance and Resources Branch at studentresourcepackage@education.vic.gov.au or on 1800 641 943.

Leave Reimbursement Cash Rates

The following table contains the rates at which schools will be reimbursed for relief staff; these figures include superannuation and other on-costs.

For information on payment rates for relief staff, please refer to Salary Rates.

Reimbursement Rates for 2022

Effective dates Education Support Officer Relief (Hourly Rate) Casual Relief Teacher (Maximum Daily Rate)
1 January 2022 – 31 December 2022 TBA TBA

*Reimbursement rates will be advised upon finalisation of a new teaching agreement in 2022

Identification of a replacement

Central (credit) replacements are identified by any of the following methods using data from eduPay:

  • increase in time fraction
  • transfer from another school
  • temporary resumption from unpaid leave
  • fixed-term contract

Local (cash) replacements are identified by any of the following methods using data from CASES21:

  • local payroll payment (eduPay school local payroll)
  • creditor invoice payment (agency)

Supporting documentation

Trailing holidays

Where a staff member is absent during the term and vacation period, and the replacement staff member is employed throughout that term and into the following vacation period, this is referred to in the SRP system as a ‘trailing holiday’.

This leave type is only applicable to replacements for absences of 30 days or more of continuous leave, where the replacement is a centrally paid staff member, and where the leave covers the last day of term. This option can be selected from the SRP leave replacement portal.

Example 1 — Term 2 Break:

John Teacher is an ongoing staff member at Blue Primary School who took long service leave for the whole of Term 2. During his absence Elizabeth Teacher was hired into a fixed-term position. Although John’s leave ended on the last day of term, he will not actually return to the school until the first day of Term 3. At the same time, Elizabeth is entitled to be paid for the Term 2 vacation period.

Charging both staff to the school would result in a double charge. Blue Primary School recorded Elizabeth as the central replacement for the full period of leave including the vacation period (trailing holidays). The school was charged as follows:

  • From the first day of Term 2 to the last day of Term 2 John’s salary will be charged outside the Blue Primary School's budget. Elizabeth's salary in the same period will be charged to Blue Primary School.
  • John's salary will continue to be charged outside Blue Primary School's budget between the first day of Term 2 vacation until the last day of Term 2 vacation. Elizabeth's salary in the same period will be charged to Blue Primary School.    

Note: leave charging rules apply, refer to Leave Capping (above).

Example 2 — End of year break:

Jane Teacher is an ongoing staff member at Orange Primary School who was absent on long service leave for the last 7 weeks of Term 4 (greater than 30 continuous working days). During her absence she was replaced by Fred Teacher, a fixed-term teacher who was employed at Orange in a different capacity to the end of Term 3. He was retained at the school through Term 4 to cover the absence of Jane.

Jane’s leave ended on the last day of term, but she will not actually return to the school until the first day of Term 1. Fred is entitled to be paid for the end of year vacation. Charging both staff to the school would result in a double charge. Orange Primary recorded Fred as the central replacement for the full period of leave including the vacation period (trailing holidays). The school was charged as follows:

  • From the first day of Term 4 to the day before Jane goes on leave, Orange Primary School will be charged for her salary. Fred’s salary will also be charged to Orange Primary School during this time.
  • From the first day Jane is on leave to the last day in Term 4, her salary will be charged outside of Orange Primary School's budget. During this time, Fred’s salary will be charged to Orange Primary School.
  • Additionally, from the first day of the end of year vacation to the last day of end of year vacation, Jane's salary will continue to be charged outside Orange Primary School's budget. Fred's salary during this period will continue to be charged to Orange Primary School.

Note: leave charging rules apply, refer to Leave Capping (above).

Guidance chapter on managing relief staffing costs

Reviewed 17 January 2022

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