Health & Medicine

Queensland teachers who refused Covid vaccination to get docked 18 weeks of pay

Teachers docked 18 WEEKS of pay for refusing to get vaccinated during the Covid pandemic

  • Queensland teachers who refused a Covid jab will be docked pay for 18 weeks 
  • The decision will affect hundreds of teachers for ‘failing to obey a direction’
  • Decision communicated in a letter that says department ‘lost trust’ in teachers 
  • Teacher union has hit out at ‘disciplinary action’ calling it ‘unconscionable’ 

Queensland teachers who refused to get Covid vaccinations will have their pay docked for 18 weeks after receiving a harsh letter from the state’s education bosses. 

The move, which is expected to affect thousands of teachers, was announced in a letter signed by Education Department assistant director-general Anne Crowley, which was emailed on Monday.

Ms Cowley wrote she could have decided to dock pay for 20 weeks for failing to follow the department’s direction to get vaccinated but had settled for 18 weeks after ‘carefully’ considering submissions against disciplinary action.

Queensland teachers, seen here protesting mandatory vaccination, who refused to get the Covid jabs will be docked pay for an 18-week period, the state’s education department has informed them

‘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.’ 

Unvaccinated teachers were put on leave without pay from December 2021.

The letter sent out by the education department informing unvaccinated teachers of the decision to dock their pay for 18 weeks

The letter sent out by the education department informing unvaccinated teachers of the decision to dock their pay for 18 weeks

Ms Crowley wrote that she noted the teachers receiving the letter had already been suspended with pay and that ‘this would likely have had a financial impact on you’.

‘I remain of the view that the disciplinary action is reasonable and proportionate to your conduct in this matter,’ she continued.

The letter said the department had ‘lost trust’ in the teachers concerned and accused them of ‘acting inappropriately’.

Under Queensland’s Public Service Act, teachers being investigated must receive full pay while suspended unless it is a criminal charge.

The teachers’ union hit back strongly against the pay penalty calling it a triple hit against those who decided not to take the jab. 

Teachers Professional Association of Queensland secretary Tracy Tully said the move by the education department was 'unconscionable'

Teachers Professional Association of Queensland secretary Tracy Tully said the move by the education department was ‘unconscionable’

Teachers Professional Association of Queensland secretary Tracy Tully said the letter was unfair considering the state’s educators had been the frontline workers during the Covid pandemic.

‘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,’ Teachers Professional Association of Queensland secretary Tracy Tully 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 who were stood down because of refusing to take the jab were evicted from education department housing despite still being charged rent for the period. 

Previous figures have shown that about 4000 teachers were stood down or sacked for not getting Covid jabs.

Queensland dropped mandatory vaccinations for teachers in June. 

Members of the teachers union protest the Queensland government's standing down without pay those who refused to get the Covid vaccination

Members of the teachers union protest the Queensland government’s standing down without pay those who refused to get the Covid vaccination

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