Temporary Student Absences

It has come to our notice that there are operators who are unaware of the change in the contract this year that allows us to be paid for what the department refers to as “temporary student absences”. Unlike in the past, now when a student is not on your run for any reason, you are still entitled to claim the Klms as if they were. There are some conditions to this but essentially, it is like your set minimum daily rate.
Most people check their pays for inaccuracies – to which many have been wrong, particularly the February pay – but if you are unaware of this new and wonderful addition to the contract then you may not realize if there were mistakes. We recommend that you check both pays to make sure that all short term absences have been paid because we are aware of quite a few that weren’t.
Note: If your total run Klms are less than 30 then this rule would not apply because each day is paid at 30klms regardless of student absences (as stipulated by the Education Minister in January)

Below are some examples for runs over 30 Klms:

Example 1
You have a run with six students who go to the same school each day and are picked up from the same address. Your total Klms are 60. This is what you will be paid each day for the entire month even if some students were away. So if 2 students happen to be away, and on your claim form you have written the kilometres for that day as being 40, you will still be paid for 60. If on any day or days that perhaps 5 students are away and your total Klms written on your claim form for those days is only 5, then you won’t just get the set minimum of 30 Klms, you will be still paid for the 60. This payment of 60 Klms will continue while ever the run remains the same. On the day that a student is permanently removed from that run and a new run card is sent, then you would adjust your daily Klms accordingly and that new amount becomes your new daily minimum to be paid each day. There is a condition to the “temporary student absence” rule whereby if a student is away for longer than a pay period (ie more than a month), your payment will still be based on the 60 klms for the first month but will drop to the lower klm amount for the second month, or until that student returns.

Example 2
You have a run where the students on the run card vary each day. Some may attend school only 3 days a week or some are to be taken to other addresses in the afternoon. With a run like this, where each day has a different number of Klms needed to perform the run, you need to add the total Klms pertaining to each day for the total amount when all students are present. eg. Mon, Tues and Thurs might be 47 while Tues and Friday might be 56. Those amounts become your minimum day rate for those days. So for a month of 20 days starting on a Monday, you will be paid 12 days at 47 Kilometres and 8 days at 56 Kilometres, regardless of any students temporarily absent. Providing, as in Eg 1, the run card does not change or a student is not absent for more than a month.

Since many operators did not keep a copy of the contract before sending both copies to the Dept. below is a copy of the pertinent clause for you to read.

“16. PAYMENT RELATING TO VARIATIONS TO TRAVEL/NON OPERATION OF SERVICE
16.1 Payments will be made for the agreed loaded kilometres in the claimed pay period on the basis of the mapped distance for each Run as advised/agreed with the Department.
Payments will not be adjusted for temporary student absences. However, payments or the
ongoing requirement for Services will be adjusted where the Student/s are absent for
extended periods i.e. the Student/s continues to be absent in the following pay period or
where permanent variations to travel arrangements result in Students travelling reduced
days or distances.”
This our interpretation of this clause only and if unsure, please check this with the ASTU.

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