Media Statement



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Statement provided to Fairfax media on Tuesday December 20.

Paul Sadler Swimland has taught tens of thousands of people to swim at our facilities in Australia, Canada and Vietnam over the past 44 years, with our 650 employees providing 30,000 lessons each week to babies, children and adults in a safe learning environment.

We pride ourselves on being a world-class business with strong values that provides a good learning environment for both swimmers and our employees and one that is also committed to providing fair pay above the legal requirements.

In late 2015, we were made aware of an error with staff payments that had resulted in some of our staff at our Essendon centre being underpaid.

After an investigation at Essendon, we conducted an audit of our manual payroll systems at all our Australian centres and confirmed that details had not always been updated, resulting in a number of employees between 2010 and 2013 being unintentionally underpaid. The audit also revealed errors in recording information in the manual system, which resulted in Paul Sadler Swimland overpaying a number of employees as well.

Paul Sadler Swimland has worked throughout the second half of 2016 to ensure all current employees have been repaid any money owed to them and has also written to all former employees to let them know they are owed money. We have managed to contact most former employees by letter, email or phone – and where that hasn’t worked – by searching through social media. More than 90% of all impacted employees have been repaid and there are still some ex-employees who we are still trying to reach.

In October, we self-reported this issue to the Fair Work Ombudsman and have kept the FWO regularly informed of our progress in paying back our employees and ex-employees.

Paul Sadler Swimland CEO, Wayne Pollock, acknowledged the mistake was the combined result of poor manual processes and human error and has apologised to all staff impacted and kept them updated on repayment.

“We have always had great relationships with our staff over our 44 years of operation and after being made aware that some employees were unintentionally underpaid, we have apologised and worked to get the money to them. We are really sorry for the impact on our current and former staff and we are also sorry that it has taken us longer than we would like to audit our manual systems,” Mr Pollock said.

“We are an organisation that believes in treating employees fairly and everyone we have repaid, we have paid more than they are entitled as acknowledgement that it was clearly our fault. To ensure this doesn’t happen again we have also invested in installing a new fully automated system for roster, payroll and employee management that will automatically see any change in employee entitlements flow through without the need for manual changes.

“This matter was raised by our staff and we involved our staff in the process of fixing this issue to ensure transparency. We also alerted the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure transparency, detailed our steps taken to ensure the issue won’t happen again and gave a commitment to keep the FWO informed on our progress in paying all employees what they’re deservedly owed,” he said.

“We have made efforts to contact all impacted former employees with letters, emails and telephone calls and have also used social media to track people down so we can repay the money owed. We urge any former employee who has not heard from us to contact the company.”

The company has initiated bargaining for a new enterprise agreement that builds on the current agreement, which was supported by a high majority of employees, approved by the Fair Work Commission and passed the Better Off Overall Test.

We’re committed to providing our respected and passionate staff with the financial reward, career flexibility and training opportunities for all roles so that as our employees they can continue to deliver a safe environment for thousands of babies, children and adults to learn to swim.

Paul Sadler Swimland prides itself on the training offered to employees, both for teaching roles, with new swimming teachers receiving up to six months’ training before they take responsibility for their own classes, and for those employees who seek development into management roles.

Former employees who believe they have been underpaid are encouraged to contact Paul Sadler Swimland via email: contact@paulsadlerswimland.com

UPDATED: EBA AND FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Thursday 22 December 2016

Paul Sadler Swimland is committed to providing our respected and passionate staff with the financial reward, career flexibility and training opportunities for all roles, so our employees can continue to deliver a safe environment for thousands of babies, children and adults to learn to swim.

The company has initiated bargaining for a new enterprise agreement that builds on the current agreement, which was supported by a majority of employees, approved by the Fair Work Commission and passed the Better Off Overall Test.

We hope to build on our current agreement to continue to provide our employees with the financial reward, career flexibility and training opportunities they deserve. It is usual for existing terms such as the enterprise flexibility provisions and the part time seasonal arrangements to be a discussion point in a bargaining round. We have agreed with the union to review these arrangements and consider any alternative proposals.

The seasonal employment contracts reflect the school terms when we are teaching and was introduced to move away from casual arrangements. They are specific terms of the existing EBA and were approved by staff and by the Fair Work Commission in 2013, when we operated for 41 weeks per year. Staff are now employed under these arrangements for 45 weeks of the year and also accrue 5 weeks, not 4 weeks annual leave. Most if not all staff are re-engaged each term if they are available for work.

The enterprise flexibility arrangements are also a term of the EBA which was agreed by our staff and approved by the Fair Work Commission. It has suited some staff to work shifts of just one lesson, for example in the mornings so they have agreed to work a shift that is less than 3 hours.

The union only raised this subject during our most recent EBA negotiations and we have agreed to review these arrangements as part of the normal course of good faith bargaining and hope to continue to build a fair agreement with our staff that provides financial reward, career flexibility and training opportunities.

It is important to understand that under the enterprise flexibility arrangements included in the existing EBA that was approved by the Fair Work Commission, any staff member can end the arrangement at any time on 28 days notice.

Paul Sadler Swimland prides itself on the training offered to employees, both for teaching roles, with new swimming teachers receiving up to six months’ paid training before they take responsibility for their own classes, and for those employees who seek development into management roles.

Ends

About Paul Sadler Swimland

Paul Sadler Swimland has more than 650 employees that teach 30,000 swimming lessons per week out of 14 sites in Australia, Canada and Vietnam.

Established in 1972, Paul Sadler Swimland has received more than 25 industry awards in Australia and USA, with Paul Sadler recently inducted into the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association Hall of Fame.

Paul Sadler Swimland’s commitment to the learn-to-swim industry goes beyond its corporate objectives, through its philanthropic activities, most notably donating more than $400,000 to the Royal Children’s Hospital and now with its recently established Paul Sadler Swimland Foundation, which has donated $350,000 for the construction and operation of an in ground swimming pool in Vietnam and an education centre to teach children water safety and teach learn-to-swim teachers.

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Why Swimland?

What is a Deck Supervisor?

Deck Supervisors are the super friendly staff in the red shirts on pool deck. They are there to answer any questions you have about your swimmer‘s progress or about our program and to support our teachers to provide great lessons. They love to talk swimming, so please go and see them if you have any queries.

Why do we use teaching aids?

There are many ways to teach children about safety in water. Our approach, using flotation as a teaching aid, has produced excellent results.

It is proven that low stress levels increase coordination, so at Swimland, we encourage low stress with the use of teaching aids (floaties, back bubbles, kickboards, noodles etc). As a child becomes more confident, and therefore less stressed, we reduce the amount of teaching aids the child uses. We have also found that swimmers who are less stressed progress faster.

Our swimmers still have plenty of aid-free time, and we practise safety circles to teach the children how to swim back to the edge of the pool without help in case they were to fall in.

How often should my child come to swimming lessons?

Coming to swimming lessons once a week, on a year round basis, is awesome for swimmer progress. Swimming every week, all year round, will see your child really develop and get the most out of the fun programs we offer.

 

How long does it take to learn to swim?

On average, it takes around 20 lessons to achieve the next certificate, but sometimes it can take a little longer. Every child is different, and it’s important for parents to remember that some skills will come easily to their child while others will be a little more challenging.

If your swimmer has been at the same level for a while or is finding a skill a little difficult, our Deck Supervisor will talk to you about some strategies to help them move forward and will be working with your teacher to ensure your swimmer continues to progress. At Swimland, we will always offer extra support to those who need it.

How do I contact my child’s teacher?

Our Deck Supervisors constantly monitor the progress of all children participating in lessons. They are a great resource for parents who want regular updates, as they have the experience and, importantly, the time to answer any questions you may have. The Deck supervisor can also chat with the teacher about any specific queries you may have and get back to you with the answer.

What should I bring to swimming lessons?

We provide all of the equipment and teaching aids you and your child need to have a great, fun lesson. All you need to bring is bathers, a towel and goggles for swimmers at Maxi-Pink level or above

Little ones under three should also wear either a swim nappy or swim wear that is firm fitting around the legs.