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WRS and Working Hours

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by johnberyl, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. johnberyl

    johnberyl Occasional commenter

    Have just been reading GLG's thread about work related stress:

    There have been so many posts from distressed teachers under extreme stress recently.

    This guidance, published by the Chartered Institute of Personel Development, sets out clearly employers' duty and what potential recourse there may be in law.


    The part that caught my eye was under the core requirements on p6 namely:

    "not requiring employees to work more than 48 hours per week unless they provide a written opt-out from this requirement"

    So the Government's OWN research shows that secondary and primary teachers are routinely expected by their employers to exceed these hours (primary teachers are averaging 60 hour weeks and secondary teachers come close to that).
  2. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Hush your mouth.
    It's the teachers' fault for not managing their time more efficiently. Everyone knows that.
  3. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Our academy's Teacher Code of Conduct tells us that it is our responsibility to ensure that we don't exceed the 48 hour recommendation. I am in school from 7am until on average 4:30 every day so that's already 47.5 hours a week (I don't have time for more than 10 minutes lunch). If I followed their Code I would have a responsibility not to do any marking or planning outside of those hours at all, yet we all know that is unworkable. I probably do 3 hours a night plus a whole day on Sunday, and I know this is average.

    My school is populated almost entirely by NQTs who are too afraid of jeopardising their careers, and I totally understand this. When I've mentioned the 48 hour thing, they just shrug in resignation.
  4. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    The young ones, at the start of their careers, will accept it when they're told they should be working smarter. The fact that it is impossible to fulfil the duties in 48 hours, only adds to the anxiety and the relentless treadmill.

    The older ones realise it's all rubbish, but try not to rock the boat because they know how precarious their position is.
    GLsghost, JRiley1 and JessicaRabbit1 like this.
  5. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    In some ways it's not the hours but the constant monitoring, scrutiny, demoralising 'you could have done it better' attitude. Then you get the get the 'but we need to do more for the children' emotional blackmail. All designed to make you feel worse.

    Well if you really cared 'for the children' you wouldn't pile the work on so much that people feel they cannot cope, if extra work needs doing then take someone else on (or maybe get some of the 12 or more assistant heads to teach some more lessons) and there stop making teachers leave, go off-sick etc to be replaced by cover supervisors or supply teachers who aren't specialists in the subject (Maths and Science for example)
  6. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    I agree you can completely work your socks off, trying to be 'good' let alone outstanding but it's just never ending. I feel I'm not even scratching the surface at the moment of the to do list!
  7. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Here is more about the calculation of working hours and the WTR:


    Teachers have always worked long hours, planning and marking at home in the evenings and weekends. This presumption would not be accepted in other jobs and, particularly now with increased performance expectations, it seems to me that it is creating an intolerable burden. Work-life balance is non-existent.

    It seems to me that this is something the teaching unions should usefully be lobbying about (instead of attempting to make political capital in other ways).
    johnberyl and rosievoice like this.
  8. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Absolutely. At the moment the unions seem happy to negotiate settlements and little else (they are probably overwhelmed though)

    But yes you are right this crisis needs to be talked head on by the unions and quick.

    In my new job, I work at home and I have fixed hours per week. Oddly I have found myself working over those hours because it's a reduction from what I used to do!

    I have been reminded a couple of times to 'watch my hours' as I am working too hard! Now that really is novel!
    Mrsmumbles and JRiley1 like this.
  9. What-next

    What-next New commenter

    [QUOTE="Compassman, post: 11510003, member:.

    In my new job, I work at home and I have fixed hours per week. Oddly I have found myself working over those hours because it's a reduction from what I used to do!


    hi compasman, great to know that there is an employer who reminds workers to watch out for their hours! is that outside education? the private sector, perhaps?? just keen to know as the stress is killing me in education.
  10. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    It is outside education and in the private sector.

    Oh and I don't have that Sunday night feeling..........
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'm not sure how relevant for teachers the working time 48 hours regulations will be though. According to ATL (and probably other unions, I haven't checked their websites) teachers are unlikely to exceed the 48 hours for two reasons

    (1) Time that teachers spend evenings and weekends doing planning and marking doesn't count towards the 48 hours, and

    (2) Because the weekly time is averaged over a 17 week period which will almost always include school holidays that is likely to bring the average down below 48 hours anyway.

    Implications for schools
    Because working time is averaged over 17 or 26 weeks (which will inevitably include some school or college holiday within the calculation), most teachers and lecturers will find it hard to claim that their working hours exceed the statutory limit - even if they work considerably more than 48 hours a week during term time.

    'Non pre-determined' work that is not specifically required by the employer - such as the out-of-hours preparation many teachers and lecturers feel obliged to carry out - does not count towards the statutory working time limit
    Maybe unions should be campaigning to get this 'Non pre-determined' work included in the definition of working time.

    That would be the position under STPCD/1265 hours rules. If academies are directing longer hours that's maybe why they are asking staff to sign 'opt outs' from the 48 hours limit.
    GLsghost likes this.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  13. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    I wonder if there is any mileage in the following:

    "Article 16
    Reference periods
    Member States may lay down:
    (a) for the application of Article 5 (weekly rest period), a reference period not exceeding 14 days;
    (b) for the application of Article 6 (maximum weekly working time), a reference period not exceeding four months.

    The periods of paid annual leave, granted in accordance with Article 7, and the periods of sick leave shall not be included or shall be neutral in the calculation of the average;"
    [my emphasis]

    This suggests that the school holidays should not be included in the averaging process.

    This is from:


    In addition this from the GOV website:

    "What counts as work

    A working week includes:

    job-related training
    time spent travelling if you travel as part of your job, eg sales rep
    working lunches, eg business lunches
    time spent working abroad
    paid overtime
    unpaid overtime you’re asked to do
    time spent on call at the workplace
    any time that is treated as ‘working time’ under a contract
    travel between home and work at the start and end of the working day (if you don’t have a fixed place of work)

    What doesn’t count as work

    A working week doesn’t include:

    time you spend on call away from the workplace
    breaks when no work is done, eg lunch breaks
    travelling outside of normal working hours
    unpaid overtime you’ve volunteered for, eg staying late to finish something off
    paid or unpaid holiday
    travel to and from work (if you have a fixed place of work)"
    [my emphasis]

    Might it not be argued that the time teachers spend at home is not the "unpaid overtime you’ve volunteered for, eg staying late to finish something off" but actually the "unpaid overtime you’re asked to do" because of the direct effect of school policies and the fact that if you do not do it then you may be put on capability, and is therefore not voluntary but an implied instruction?
    johnberyl, RedQuilt, GLsghost and 3 others like this.
  14. gerg27

    gerg27 New commenter

    Yes irs1054! Surely if you can be disciplined for not doing something, it cannot be counted as voluntary.
    johnberyl likes this.
  15. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter


    This is RIPE for a case to the ECJ.
    johnberyl likes this.
  16. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    In reply to @irs1054 , I don't think that the whole of non-term time counts as annual leave.

    Best wishes

  17. gerg27

    gerg27 New commenter

    Yes Theo, maybe it's not all annual leave but isn't it unpaid leave? As I understand it, teachers are paid for 190 teaching days and 5 training days. The rest are not paid and so must be either annual leave or unpaid leave.
    johnberyl likes this.
  18. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Agree with that but 5.6 weeks is statutory so that must reduce the the effect of the unpaid leave. Of course there will then be an argument about what is the distribution within the school holidays.

    I remember reading long ago that there was something in the EU directive about unusual working patterns not being used to justify going over the limit but I can't find a reference to that (if it exists).
    johnberyl likes this.
  19. gerg27

    gerg27 New commenter

    This is an interesting article on the topic:


    Particularly Section 3 which begins:

    Governing Bodies and Head Teachers are required to have a policy for teachers. However, the requirement is not just to have a policy but to implement the legal requirements that are often referred to as a work/life balance. Section 52.4 of the STPCD 2013 emphasises that this is a ‘must’ and that the Governors and the Head Teacher, “should ensure that they adhere to the working limits set out in the Working Time Regulations.” This also applies to the additional hours of undirected time.
  20. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The website is incorrect in saying there must be a policy. There's no such requirement. The requirement in STPCD is, and has been for many years, that governing bodies and headteachers, "must have regard to the need for the headteacher and teachers at the school to be able to achieve a satisfactory [work/life balance].

    The problem with that statement though is that's so vague that it's hard to say what it means in practice. What does 'having regard to' mean? It doesn't normally mean you have to do it. Who judges what's satisfactory?

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