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Education and Development Policy

This Policy will remain as a final draft for a period of two weeks from the time of its release. This will provide an opportunity for comment or enquiry; these can be addressed to humanresources@sa.uca.org.au. At the end of the two week period the policy will become final until such time as a review is required or there are changes in legislation affecting the policy content.

Please Note: This policy replaces the (i) Education Assistance/Study Leave Policy and (ii) Training and Development Policy.


The Uniting Church in South Australia (UCSA) values the gifts and skills that each employee brings to the Church. The UCSA seeks to strengthen its capacity to serve the Presbytery and Synod and is committed to investing in its employees and fostering a culture of learning. To achieve this the UCSA is committed to supporting education and development opportunities for its employees relevant to their position and responsibilities so that together the needs of the Church are met. The Uniting Church SA is also committed to building a healthy, committed and capable work force whilst also ensuring it meets its current and future legislative obligations in all work place practices.


This policy provides a framework in which the UCSA provides opportunities for its employees to undertake education and development.


This policy applies to lay personnel only. Separate provisions are in place for personnel in placement positions.

Policy Statement

Uniting Church SA is committed to providing education and development opportunities for its employees. The UCSA believes it is essential that employees are provided with opportunities for education and development, enabling them to develop professionally and personally within the organisation in order to strengthen the services provided to and on behalf of the Church.

Education and development opportunities for employees will be designed to meet the current and future requirements of the UCSA with the overall objective of always having appropriately skilled employees.

Education and development programs will be based on balancing the requirements of the employee and of the UCSA and may be identified through:

  • Recruitment and induction processes
  • Improved performance opportunities
  • Performance Appraisal & Development Plan (PADP) discussions
  • Professional and personal development plans
  • Change in role, responsibilities or new assignment accountabilities
  • Career development and/or succession planning
  • New technology, practices or procedures
  • Organisational, industry, legislative, accreditation, quality assurance and professional codes of practice or other compliance requirements.
Education and development opportunities undertaken may include in-house or external; including:
  • Systematic on the job training
  • Online or external training sessions/seminars/programs
  • Online or external short courses
  • Online or external educational programs, generally leading to tertiary qualifications (refer Section 3 – Further/Higher Education and Development below).

1. Online/external training session, seminars, programs and short courses (non-Tertiary)

Education and development opportunities are generally discovered in conversation during the PADP process between a manager and an employee. It can also arise in response to work needs or changes in legislative requirements. Employees are also encouraged to suggest education and development opportunities that may benefit their development and growth, and/or benefit the organisation.

Managers and Executive Officers who are responsible for developing employees will approve the most appropriate education and development opportunities. During the approval process, consideration shall be given to workforce capacity and organisation requirements, employees work commitments and budgetary constraints.

In most instances where there is a clear nexus between the role of the employee and the education and development opportunity, the Church will meet the expenses to participate. Where appropriate employees can undertake this within normal work hours.

Employees’ participation in education and development will be subject to the approval of the employee’s manager and Executive Officer. Applications will be assessed on a case by case basis according to the Education and Development Policy.

Employees wishing to undertake education and development opportunities should complete an Education and Development Authorisation Form which can be accessed from the Human Resources page of the Uniting Church SA Intranet site Education Assistance / Study Leave Request Form. This form shall be completed and authorised prior to commencement.

2. Further/Higher Education and Development

a. Attainment of qualifications

Eligibility and support for the undertaking of Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Post-Graduate Degrees and development activities that lead to the attainment of qualifications are assessed on a case by case basis.

    • i. Employer Initiated - Where a manager ascertains that an employee requires a higher education qualification because it is has become an inherent requirement of the role being (or to be) undertaken, upon Executive Officer approval, UCSA will pay necessary fees and will provide paid leave to attend required compulsory course time. Should an employee be unsuccessful in completing a course, subject or unit of study, it is the responsibility of the employee to pay any additional costs or take leave to successfully complete that course, subject or unit of study, noting that the Executive Officer may exercise discretion in extenuating circumstances.
    • ii. Employee initiated - Where an employee initiates a request to undertake further education and development, the UCSA, at its discretion, may provide Education and Development Assistance (see below 2b) to employees completing courses of tertiary study where the proposed course is relevant to:
      • the UCSA’s current and future requirements;
      • and the employee’s career and professional development planning.

b. Education and Development Assistance

Education and Development Assistance can be financial assistance and/or study leave to undertake further or higher tertiary education. Study leave may be granted as paid or unpaid time away from work.

Applications for Education and Development Assistance must be requested by employees in writing by completing the relevant request form before the beginning of each term or semester of study.

Applications for Education and Development Assistance will be granted, in full or part thereof, at the Executive Officer’s discretion on recommendation by the line manager. In deciding whether an application will be approved, and if so to what level, the manager and Executive Officer may explore and determine whether there are any (internal or external) funding sources available for the type of training being requested. All applications for Education and Development Assistance will be assessed with consideration to workforce capacity and operational requirements, employee’s work commitments and budgetary constraints. Continuation of Education and Development Assistance is contingent upon the employee’s performance and the continued appropriateness of the course of study to the employee and the employer’s objectives.

    • i. Study Leave Assistance (paid and unpaid time away from work) -The amount of study leave hours employees require will be dependent on the contact time involved in the course of study. The contact time may include time to attend lectures, tutorials, workshops, presentations, examinations and other assessment processes.
      • Paid study leave: Paid study leave related to the attainment of a tertiary qualification, may be approved up to a maximum of 50% of the total amount of study leave required, and for part time employees will be calculated on a pro rata basis. Attendance atlectures where possible should be taken outside normal working hours, however, subject to management approval, one half day per week to attend lectures may be permitted.
      • Unpaid study leave: Study leave required in excess of approved study leave will need to be taken in employee’s own time. If taken during working hours the leave can be taken as annual leave, time off in lieu with hours to be worked at an alternative agreed time, or Leave Without Pay (refer LWOP Policy). Unpaid Study Leave shall be approved by the Manager. Employees are required to submit the approved Leave Application form for study leave (paid and unpaid) to Payroll administration, prior to the commencement of each term/semester.

Employees are required to submit the approved Leave Application form for study leave (paid and unpaid) to Payroll administration, prior to the commencement of each term/semester

    • ii. Financial Assistance (Tuition/Course fees): Financial assistance is available to reimburse costs incurred by employees relating to fees or other approved necessary costs. Reimbursements will be preapproved and at a capped maximum of 50% of the fees and necessary costs. Reimbursement claims shall be supported by tax invoices. Reimbursements will be made to employees at the end of each term / semester upon demonstration of successful academic achievement and satisfactory work attendance/performance. Travelling costs will not be reimbursed. Financial assistance is not available retrospectively.

      In the case whereby the employee voluntarily leaves the employment of the UCSA within one (1) year of completing subject/course, the UCSA Financial assistance contributions shall be reimbursed in full by the employee to UCSA.

      Employees shall agree to the terms and conditions of this policy when signing the approved Education and Development Assistance Request form which also sets out the declaration relating to the terms and conditions of the assistance.

      Employees seeking to apply for Education and Development Assistance shall complete an Education and Development Assistance Request form available on the Human Resources page of the Uniting Church SA Intranet site. This form shall be completed and authorised prior to commencement.

3. Traineeships

There may be state and federal funding available for traineeship programs for employees and the Uniting Church SA as the employer, if the eligibility requirements are met. Advice on these programs is provided by Uniting Church SA Human Resources. Meetings can be arranged with relevant parties and administration agents in order to establish the requirements and eligibility criteria for government funded schemes through Human Resources.

Traineeships have significant responsibilities and associated documentation attached including contracts and agreements between all parties involved. The parties include the employer, employee, training/education provider and the relevant government funding department.

4. Education and Development Records Management

Records of attainment, participation and attendance at Education and Development activities shall be submitted by the employee to the Manager for recording and retaining in the employee’s personnel file.

Executive Officer, Resources

24 April 2019

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