Tracy Tully

Letters dock pay for hundreds of unvaccinated Qld teachers

Hundreds of unvaccinated Queensland teachers will have their pay reduced over 18 weeks, the news from a top Education bureaucrat delivered by a blistering email.

Hundreds of Queensland teachers have been left reeling after receiving letters informing them their pay will be docked over 18 weeks because they refused to have Covid vaccinations.

In a withering letter emailed late on Monday, Education Department assistant director-general human resources Anne Crowley, told the teachers she could incrementally reduce their pay by the maximum penalty over 20 weeks.

However, the four-page email alerts the education department staff to a final decision of cutting their pay back by an incremental reduction over 18 weeks.

All unvaccinated teachers were under investigation for failing to obey a direction from the Education Department and were suspended without pay from December 2021.

Under the Public Service Act, if a teacher is being investigated they are suspended on full pay unless it is a criminal charge.

The strongly worded letter said the department had “lost trust” in the teachers and claimed the teachers had “acted inappropriately ”.

“I have considered very carefully your response. However there is nothing in the submissions made by you that lead me to consider the imposition if a disciplinary action is not a reasonably appropriate and proportionate outcome,” Ms Crowley said.

“However, you will notice that the disciplinary action I have determined to impose is lesser than that proposed.

“Your conduct in failing to comply with the direction posed a risk to the health and safety of your co-workers, students and members of the public which was mitigated only by the steps taken by the department to suspend you from duty.”

The letter sent to the unvaccinated teachers informing them of the Education Department’s decision.

The second part of the letter where Education Department assistant director-general human resources Anne Crowley advised of the disciplinary action.

Teachers Professional Association of Queensland secretary Tracy Tully said the letter was reprehensible because the sidelined teachers had been the frontline workers in schools during two years of Covid.

“It’s unconscionable that imposing a financial penalty or any disciplinary measure would somehow be appropriate because these educators have not broken any law or engaged in serious misconduct in the workplace,” she said.

“The only thing they are guilty of is not abiding by a direction issued by the department demanding that they get vaccinated against Covid.

“This latest measure is like a triple caning and means they have now been penalised financially three times.”

Teachers Professional Association Queensland secretary Tracy Tully. Picture: Zak Simmonds

A southside teacher, who could not be named, said it was not a condition of their employment when they first started teaching to undergo medical procedures on direction from the department.

Letters were also sent this month to unvaccinated teachers who were forced out of Education Department housing, leaving their contents behind, for failing to get the jab.

The latest letters to the unvaccinated teachers in remote and isolated regions, some on islands, said they are being charged for the rent of the Education Department housing even while they were on forced leave without pay and after they had been evicted.

Education Queensland has been contacted for comment.

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