Balancing Work & Study

October 22, 2020 Know Your Rights News

by Luke Png, SDA Organiser

The retail and fast food industries would not survive in Australia if it weren’t for SDA members working part-time or casual jobs whilst studying.

A university professor once filled a bucket with large rocks in front of her class and asked them if it was full. When they replied that it was, she then placed a load of small stones into the bucket around the large rocks, and asked the same question. The students once again said it was full, so she poured in sand amongst the rocks, and once again asked whether the bucket was full. By this time, the students were getting a bit confused, and weren’t sure what to answer, so the professor poured water into the bucket. She explained that the bucket is like our time and that if we place the big things in first then we have time for the little things of life, whereas if we fill up our time with the little things we have no time for the important things in life.

This story shows us how important it is to balance our lives and use our time well to be able to live the fullest life possible. Big things like family, study and work have top priority, followed by hobbies such as shopping or sport. By making sure that you give top priority to the most important things in your life, you will then find that you will be able to fit in all the rest of your fun, or leisure activities.

Many Enterprise Agreements allow members to take time off for study commitments. The majority of them allow for leave of absence (unpaid leave) to be taken to attend exams or to return to studies on a full-time basis. It is important to remember that unpaid leave for part-time employees is not a part of their annual, sick or long service leave and entitlements to paid leave are frozen during unpaid leave. Most Agreements also allow for study commitments along with family commitments and safe transport home when making or changing rosters. If you are in any doubt about taking time off during exam times, make sure you talk to your trained Shop Steward about it or ring the union office.

When organising shifts around exam times, it is best to give your manager or employer as much notice as possible for the times when you can and can’t work. It is also important to remember to take enough time off to allow for exam preparation and not just for the exam itself.

Finally, good luck to those members who are about to embark upon their final exams. It will soon be all over!!