About 900 Queensland school workers will have their pay reduced as a disciplinary measure for being unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Teachers, teacher aides, administration staff, cleaners and schools officers will be among those punished for failing to comply with the health requirement, the state education department has confirmed.
The department claims that the penalties are being “individualised” based on the worker’s “circumstances”.
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“But generally, (penalties) involve a small-scale temporary reduction of one increment of pay for a period of 18 weeks,” the department said in a statement on Tuesday.
That amounts to between $25 and $90 per week before tax, according to the statement.
The department claims the school workers have been ”non-compliant with the lawful direction from their employer enforcing the chief health officer’s direction to be vaccinated against COVID-19”.
It also claims reducing a worker’s pay is “not an uncommon” way to punish them for disciplinary breaches, and the move affects just one per cent of the teacher workforce.
“School staff were given ample opportunity to follow the lawful direction or provide evidence as to why they should be exempt from the direction since the vaccination requirements were announced in November 2021,” the statement read.
Staff unvaccinated for COVID-19 have been able to return to work after a mandate was removed on June 30 this year.
The Queensland Teachers Union has been contacted for comment.
Another union, the Teachers Professional Association of Queensland, has slammed the policy, labelling it “unconscionable”.
“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,” secretary Tracy Tully told the Courier Mail.