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Being an employer – school and governing councils

When you volunteer to work on a council for a school or preschool (site) you might be an employer – or the employing authority – of non-teaching staff at the site.

What being an employer means

Employer and contracting out work – the difference

When we say ‘employer’ we’re talking about the council directly employing non-teaching staff. You will be responsible for paying them, checking their relevant history screening and ensuring their work health and safety.

When you work on a council you might also need to contract work out. There are still responsibilities involved with this. For example, when you contract a third party provider of an out of school hours care service

Who you can employ

You can employ

If your site has any of these services, the council might need to employ people for:

  • out of school hours care (OSHC) 
  • residential facilities
  • canteens
  • bus driving
  • land management
  • building and equipment maintenance
  • sports days and events that are outside usual school hours
  • cleaning facilities
  • administering awards and scholarships.

Sample contracts available for OSHC:

You cannot employ

Your council cannot employ any teaching staff, including principals and teachers.

What you might need to do

As an employer on a council, you might:

  • be on an interview panel
  • need to assess the suitability of a service provider through a third party provider panel
  • consult with the community and assess different models for employment, including as a:
    • provider, for example an out of school hours care service
    • self-managed service, for example a canteen.

Important legal responsibilities

As the employer, you do have a wide range of responsibilities, but an important one that many councils need to be concerned about is relevant history screenings

Work Injury Insurance 

The council must register with ReturnToWorkSA (RTWSA) within 14 days of becoming an employer. For more information about registering for work injury insurance email ReturnToWorkSA or call 13 18 55. 

Superannuation and Tax

Refer to the Australian Tax Office.

Long Service Leave

Long Service Leave is a state based provision administered by Safe Work SA.

Further information on employer obligations can be found on the Fair Work Australia website

Although the council has responsibility, the site leader does the day-to-day management. The council’s responsibility is always about governance.

Changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law 

There are amendments being made to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) which governs the safe operation of heavy vehicles.  

These amendments apply to all school buses (20 seats or more), including those owned and/or operated by governing councils and school bus drivers employed by governing councils. As the employer of a bus driver, councils are required to ensure the safe transport of children and students whether for excursions or to and from school.

Local management of buses requires governing councils, and principals and preschool directors, as the legislated line managers of governing council employees, to ensure that prescribed vehicles are serviced and repaired and pre-journey checks are conducted. Drivers must be fully conversant with speed and fatigue management requirements. Drivers must also be inducted to the bus they will be driving and the particular workings of that bus. Heavy penalties may apply where breaches occur.

Governing councils, principals and preschool directors need to ensure that all relevant staff with responsibilities relating to the School Transport Policy are made aware and comply with the HVNL. This includes bus coordinators, transport services officers, department employed drivers (regular and relief), governing council employed drivers (regular and relief), volunteer drivers and contracted drivers.

For further information or queries, please talk to your site leader (principal or preschool director).

School buses – Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment  - Summary of changes 
 

Contact

Governing Councils, Office for Education and Early Childhood

Phone: 8226 9617
EmailEducation.sitegovernance [at] sa.gov.au