Workload Position Statement under development
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 4, 5 June 2020, page no. 15
The QTU is developing a Workload Position Statement.
The statement, which augments current QTU policy with the inclusion of research-informed details that support calls to action in our workload reduction campaign, was endorsed by QTU Executive in May as an interim document, subject to additional member consultation.
The resolutions of QTU Executive open the next phase in the development of the QTU’s Workload Position Statement to all QTU members, as well as local branches and Area Councils. It can be downloaded from the publications tab on the QTU website, and feedback can be emailed as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
QTU Officers will collate all feedback from bullet points summaries of recommended changes, or track changes saved in a Word document, and a summary will be provided to the next QTU State Council meeting. Any amendments to the position statement will be uploaded on the QTU publications tab after Council.
The statement defines workload as the composite of the amount and the complexity of work that is undertaken by an individual employee or group of employees. Excessive workload is defined as unreasonable hours of work and increasingly complex work that is routinely undertaken by members of Queensland’s teaching profession.
The QTU’s Queensland Teacher Workload Study (2018), supported by findings of other educational and industrial research, demonstrates that teachers work an average of 44 hours per week and school leaders work an average of 62 hours during a typical week, increasing to an average of 82 hours per week during Term 3.
The benchmark for unreasonable hours of work is a Queensland public servant working for 36¼ hours per week for 46 weeks, excluding annual leave and public holidays. To work the same number of hours over 40 teaching weeks, excluding public holidays and student free days, a teacher, head of program or school leader would have to work 41.7 hours. Therefore, routinely performing work for longer than 42 hours constitutes excessive workload.
Excessive workload is exacerbated by increasing the level of complexity of work that is performed, drawing on higher levels of employee’s cognitive, physical, and/or emotional labour. Examples of increased complexity can be observed and measured in both classroom and school-wide settings, where complexities are increased by factors of educational disadvantage, rising student populations, resource availability, and increases in the ranges of ability and ages of students. Duties and responsibilities of the teaching profession that increase administrative complexity can also draw on higher levels of cognitive and/or emotional labour and adversely impact on employee wellbeing.
The QTU’s Workload Position Statement draws together discrete elements of current QTU policies. All QTU policies are available as member-only documents on the QTU website. QTU policy is developed as a draft by QTU members in their position on standing committees. Draft policies are then debated by QTU delegates who are elected to represent their branch at QTU Conference. Ultimately QTU members, elected to Conference, endorse our policy positions.
The statement recognises the industrial instruments, negotiated by the QTU with and on behalf of members, and that members have democratically voted to support. These include clauses dealing with workload management, consultative mechanisms, and dispute resolution procedures.