The 4.51pm myth

A myth that seems to surface every now and then in our system is that staff are required to be present at work from 8.30am to 4.51pm. We have recently heard from our school psychologist members that some of you have been told that you must not leave work before 4.51pm.

School Psychologists’ conditions of employment are covered by the ACT Public Sector Education and Training Directorate (Teaching Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2014 – 2018. The 4.51pm “myth” comes from section B5.3 of the Enterprise Agreement, which provides that “The standard hours are 8.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.51pm, Monday to Friday for a fulltime employee.”

While many of our members would be overjoyed by the prospect of a guaranteed hour of peace from 12:30 to 1:30pm, clause B5.1 of the Enterprise Agreement makes clear that the clause is only for the purposes of calculating salary and leave entitlements. What this means is that there is no requirement that you be on site until 4.51pm. The only provision of the Enterprise Agreement in relation to required hours of attendance is section Q1.3, which provides that hours of attendance shall be negotiated with the Principal and reviewed at least once a year.

Our workplaces benefit from flexibility around the matter of hours of attendance, which allow staff to balance their work and home lives, and schools to adopt timetables and practices that suit their communities. Imagine if every teacher refused to keep working after 4.51pm on parent/teacher evening!

If you are being incorrectly directed that you must be at work until 4.51pm, or you have any other query about your required hours of duty under the Enterprise Agreement, please contact the AEU office on 6272 7900 or email

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