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How many hours are we paid to work?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Orchid2457, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. hisir

    hisir New commenter

    Teaching for me is now getting to the stage where I'm not thinking whether or not I have to work weekends, it's how much work I have to do during those weekends. When it becomes a case of how much rather than whether or not we should have to, there's a problem.
    I've only been teaching for 4 years and I'm already looking at other career moves. It's just not sustainable.
  2. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    OK So in the context of a great many SLT's you don't know how to teach properly.
  3. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Pedant mode.

    By law you get 28days holiday or 5.5 weeks per year so in any 17 week period a non teacher would on average have had nearly 2 weeks holiday. So it is a lot closer to 14 weeks for a teacher and 15 and a bit for a non teacher in every 17 week period. Not as great a difference as you think. The summer hols would screw the figures if you used that period.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    There's another, more significant, issue though. On an earlier thread I posted the advice of one of the unions that says only directed time counts towards the 48 hours a week limit under the Working Time Regulations. The "reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of the teacher’s professional duties … " required by STPCD don't count.

    If that's correct then teachers are never going to be anywhere near breaching the 48 hours a week maximum.

    The union bases its view on para 20 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 'Unmeasured Working Time' [my underlining]

    The 48 hours a week maximum … "do[es] not apply in relation to a worker where, on account of the specific characteristics of the activity in which he is engaged, the duration of his working time is not measured or predetermined or can be determined by the worker himself, as may be the case for—

    (a) managing executives or other persons with autonomous decision-taking powers;"​

    No-one, AFAIK, has ever tested in court whether the additional work teachers do outside directed time means they are "persons with autonomous decision-taking powers" but it's arguable they are and at least one union says they are.And surely teachers non-directed time falls within the definition " … the duration of his working time is not measured or predetermined or can be determined by the worker himself … "?

    There's a curious silence on this from other unions and from the DFE. The Regulations also say (para 9) that employers must keep records of the hours worked by every employee to show they comply with the 48 hours maximum, and keep those records for two years. But they don't need to keep the records for 'Unmeasured Working Time'.

    No school I've heard of keeps records of the hours spent by teachers outside directed time. But in all the debates over teacher workload in recent years has the DFE or any union said schools must log all time worked, including work at home, or they are in breach of the legal requirement to keep records? Never that I can recall. But if time outside directed time counts towards the 48 hour limit why aren't unions shouting from the rooftops about schools breaching the law? I can only suspect that the DFE and all unions know that non-directed time doesn't count to the 48 hour maximum.

    Yet again I wonder why the unions haven't bought a test case on such a vital issue.
  5. ambi

    ambi New commenter

    Hi when I do extra hours ( I work part time but have been asked several times to come in paid on my days off) the maximum I can claim is 6 hours a day at a rate is somewhere between £25 a £26 an hour
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, yeah. You can't work it out on averages very easily.

    It makes no sense to work 30 hours one week and 66 the next just to get an average of 48.

    It sounds to me as if teachers are working stupid hours. Some teachers always did but now it seems as if it's an expectation. It shouldn't be.
    Orchid2457 and agathamorse like this.
  7. TrueFaith

    TrueFaith New commenter

    It has in every school I've worked in.

    Words to the effect of 'Teachers should be in school by..., and are not expected to leave before... and ... on days when meetings are held'

    The time we are expected on site is 5 minutes before the first bell rings.
    We are expected to stay on site until 10 minutes after the bell has gone.

    (Of course, I have never considered getting into school at that time, and have very seldom left 10 minutes after the bell, only when travelling somewhere on a Friday, or in the case of a dental appointment etc...)
  8. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    This exemption was revoked in 2006 though - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/99/regulation/2/made
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    One difficulty with this is that even in a school where there are not unrealistic expectations, some staff will work longer than they need to. I know that, in my early years, I could have spent far less time planning and marking than I needed to. By the time I left (2015), I often managed to do my work for a week in less than 48 hours; considerably less some weeks. So, how can we differentiate between somebody not working efficiently and somebody being forced to work stupid hours.

    By the way, my comment about teachers working 14 weeks out of 17 was a minimum, assuming a half term and a two week holiday. Periods of 17 weeks including the summer will include fewer weeks worked. I agree with @grumpydogwoman that averaging out is not sensible, but that is how the law goes. Indeed, one person I know who does shifts enjoys working long hours for a couple of weeks and then getting whole extra days off in the next fortnight.

    For somebody on STPCD, it is simple. Any time you are told you must be on school premised is part of your directed time, leaving less time for other things. If you are just 'expected' to be there, then staff need to take a stand as a whole and, on some days at least, only stay for the directed hours.
    agathamorse and grumpydogwoman like this.
  10. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    Ah I see my mistake the paragraph about staff who had partly unmeasured work was removed. Which you'd think would include teachers (as they don't determine all their work time)?
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide


    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    If your school membership have taken a ballot and voted to follow the terms of ‘action short of strike action’ then you are legally protected if you apply it. But you can’t do it without calling a ballot. And many schools have done that and fine with it.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    Sorry, I meant that they sit with the staff member and do so. Not just say X takes this long. That there would be a discussion around how long planning a lesson or assessing and reviewing data should take based on that employees experience and knowledge. That where there was a large difference the school could then demonstrate how other, similar, staff complete the task in that time taking into account individual differences; or the school would learn that expectation Y is unrealistic if they also want staff to do WX and Z as well.

    Of course this would require trust on both sides to implement
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The school can stop your pay, or part of it, though. What they can't do is dismiss you if it's legitimate industrial action. DfE issued guidance to schools on ASOSA when it started in 2012, deductions of pay are explained on pages 3 and 4. I've not heard on any school that has actually done that though. Why would schools bother? It's been running for over 6 years and teachers I speak to mostly have never heard of it! It's hard to find concrete examples of it having much practical effect.

    https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/16187/1/advice to schools final 12 december 2012-1.pdf

    Incidentally, although I've often heard ASOSA referred to as 'working to rule' or 'working to contract' the ASOSA instructions don't say that or use that term, and the DFE's analysis, on the link above, is that nearly all the ASOSA instructions are breaches of contract, wholly or in part, and not 'working to contract'. That's only DFE's opinion of course, other opinions are available :).
    Pomza and agathamorse like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter


    You are absolutely right.

    Most teachers are not even aware that there is a work to rule in place. People have joined, worked, and left the profession without ever knowing. In theory, it’s quite powerful and would cause a lot of disruption. And of course, no teacher would want to do that. Imagine if the Luddites had broken into mills and left a note saying ‘down with this sort of thing’. We need a bigger stick, frankly. Or at least a stick people know about.

    But there are instances of staff using it as a lever to persuade management to take their complaints seriously. But overall. We need something that more effectively outlines exactly what hours are reasonable and what are not, because the current situation is absurd. Imagine a mechanic being told he had to work ‘until the car is fixed.’ It’s just not reasonable.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    Surely, imagine a mechanic being told to work until the car is fixed, but also to record every change/action they are going to do before they do it. Review everything after and save to shared drive. Run diagnostics regularly and transpose that data into this spreadsheet. Oh and attend a meeting with the car owner regularly to tell them how it's progressing (not forgetting regular meetings with the manager who will tell you the latest methods in fixing motorbikes which should be applied in his work)
    agathamorse and (deleted member) like this.
  17. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    If we want to take the mechanic analogy further, don't forget that it's not just one car they're fixing, its 30 at a time. If you try to just focus on one car and fix it, the others will start honking their horns and driving into each other, making them even harder to repair.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. Jackofall6

    Jackofall6 New commenter

    For me the issues are bigger then just hours and reasonable hours. During the day a contact may state that you are paid for the hours you are in lesson or on ppa. So break time and lunchtime are not part of your directed hours. How many days a week does a teacher actually get a 'break' often you are still with kids or on detention duty perhaps.

    Despite the fact you are in the school clearly working schools want to make sure they are not paying for this time and that 30 -60 minutes can be used elsewhere as directed time.

    I have seen schools where the five minutes between each lesson is not accounted for as directed time, yet you are still working.
    This in itself is not a problem people dont mind they are there for the children and thats what matters.

    But when people feel pressured to take work home, or stay longer you cant help but question the system, and therefore hours you work. Why should you take work home if they dont want to pay for 10 minutes during the day when you are working?

    To say the pay accounts for the additional time is wrong also if you are on m1 or m2 you are not on that much of a high wage if you worked it out hourly on directed time, and surely the fact you are paid slightly above living wage is for the responsibility, stress and intensity of the job.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Sorry to have to say this but it is this attitude that gets us into the mess that we are in.

    Teaching is a JOB, I repeat it is a JOB.

    It is the willingness to go that little bit further, repeating the mantra "think of the children" that makes mugs of teachers and is abused by SLT.

    As graduates we are very poorly paid and the conditions are rubbish. I cannot help but notice people in other jobs, that frequently are better paid, just do not look as frazzled as teachers do all the time.


    *I believe we are paid for break but not lunchtime.
    agathamorse and Orchid2457 like this.
  20. Jackofall6

    Jackofall6 New commenter

    I dont think i have put my point across well. I agree it is a job. But my intention is to say most people wouldnt turn a student away who had an issue or needed support because it is break or lunch and not directed time.

    But in giving that good will it gets abused and because of that. People start timing hours.

    A few hours a week that seem part of the job i dont feel is an issue. The expectation of it os which leads to peole questiong the hours worked.

    And as you say it is a job and thats why i try to do no more than and hour a day extra if its not directed.

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