In these extraordinary times, things change daily, and email inboxes are getting full. TEU is working to keep communications focused and direct. We will ensure everything is posted on our website but also look out for emails from the national and local teams.

Today we wanted to update you on the provisions for the tertiary sector agreed to by cabinet and to remind you of what the union has been up to so far.

Leave while we stay home and save lives

We have been lobbying for a consistent, co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across the tertiary sector for some time now. We continue to seek a unified approach in a number of areas but we now have a very clear and consistent position on the key area of leave.

When it comes to leave – here is the Tertiary Education Commission statement given to the vice chancellors and chief executives in the universities, wānanga, and polytechnics:

“All TEIs are considered part of the State Sector through this lockdown period.

·      Employees should work remotely (usually from home) wherever practicable; or

·      Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, special paid leave should be given.

·      If an employee becomes ill with COVID-19, sick leave should be used. If the employee has insufficient sick leave, the employee may anticipate further sick leave or receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave (i.e. continue to be paid).

This means for the avoidance of doubt that for all staff, no reduction in salary should occur and if a staff member is unable to perform any of their normal work duties from home, then they should be given paid special leave for whatever period applies in lockdown.”

TEU’s organisers are working with the employers in PTEs and other tertiary providers to make sure they are supporting their workers.

Funding for all TEIs

There is great news with regard to the approach to under-delivery or meeting Education Performance Indicators. While everyone is keen to ensure learners are supported as much as possible and that they continue to deliver quality education, the reality of the current extraordinary times means some adjustments in expectations are seen as acceptable.

In normal years if there is under-delivery or underperformance in terms of enrolment targets and other targets set in an institution’s investment plan, institutions have to pay back some of the funding allocated to them under that plan.  The TEC has decided there will not be any of these ‘clawbacks’ in relation to 2020 investment plans. Clawbacks currently being imposed in relation to 2019 plans will continue – but the funds collected will be re-allocated to Tertiary Education Institutions where they are needed most for survival this year.

This financial assistance is in addition to the dropping of the requirement for TEIs to make surplus this year.

Current situation across the tertiary sector

As we noted in our last email we have written to all employers asking them to confirm that they are taking every step to ensure security of jobs, to stop all reviews and restructurings, and to ensure all measures around changes to delivery as seen as temporary only.  Overall, the responses from employers have been reasonable. Where there are issues your organisers are working to sort these.

Very shortly we will also be asking them all to defer any performance or disciplinary processes until at least 28 April.

Keeping in touch

TEU is open and meeting online, via email, and by phone

0800 278 348

To keep up with the news from government agencies and national bodies:

Tertiary Education Commission

NZIST – parent body for the ITPs

Universities NZ