Workload distribution and management guideline
These guidelines have been developed to ensure that workloads are equitable, transparent, and manageable.
Performance reviews are an associated process designed to ensure alignment of work outcomes with workplace planning and wider University objectives, which must be based on a reasonable allocation of work to staff.
Staff and managers must participate in a professional and cooperative way in the workload allocation and workplanning processes.
Continuing and fixed term academic and professional staff
TAFE teaching staff
Child care staff
Principles for workload allocation
In a large and complex university it is necessary that there be recognition of the diverse requirements for accomplishing equitably distributed workloads. No single model can match all workplace exigencies or requirements. The relevant managers in consultation with staff will therefore ensure that each particular work environment has a published workload allocation model and/or related processes, reflecting clearly articulated principles, including the following common principles:
a) Relevant documentation is open to scrutiny and discussion and review by all affected staff.
b) Full time workload can be achieved in the equivalent of a 36-hour week over 52 weeks of the year, less authorised leave and University holidays.
c) workloads for staff are realistic and reasonable and are distributed as equitably as possible.
d) Allocation of teaching responsibilities take into account all the associated work.
e) The process used in allocating workload is open and accountable.
f) All academic staff workplans include a time allocation which enables the individual to undertake scholarship and research.
g) Staff and managers must participate in a professional and cooperative way in the workloads allocation and workplanning processes.
h) Information accurately describing the distribution of work across work teams will be available to all relevant staff on a regular basis. In principle workload allocations are not regarded as confidential documents.
Workload allocation review (academic and professional staff)
The principles and processes for the allocation of workloads will be subject to periodic review, subject to the same staff consultative mechanisms for workload allocation.
The workload allocation model and/or processes will be subject to annual review by a College, Portfolio (or equivalent) Workloads Allocation Committee.
Workload appeals (academic and professional staff)
The standard process for a staff member to raise an appeal regarding their workload is as follows.
Where staff are concerned that there is inconsistency between the principles outlined above and the local workload allocation model, or its application to their own workplan, they may pursue this concern either individually or through the NTEU, by:
1) raising the issue with the relevant manager.
2) where the issue remains unresolved, referring concerns to the relevant Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor.
3) where the issue remains unresolved, referring the matter to the Agreement Implementation Monitoring Committee (AIMC) for recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor or nominee for decision.
4) where the staff member is unsatisfied with the resolution reached by the processes referred to above the staff member may refer the matter to Fair Work Australia for resolution.
The process is sequential and is to be undertaken in a timely manner in the interests of effective resolution. Steps 1) to 3) of the process should normally be completed within a timeframe of six weeks from when the issue is formally raised with the relevant manager under this process. Where the process is in action, all parties will not take action to exacerbate the issues under consideration. On notification of the appeal, the Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor may take immediate action to avoid exacerbation of the issue.
Should there be a valid reason for the above process to be altered the relevant staff member is to make a submission outlining their reasons to the Executive Director, Human Resources. Once received the Executive Director, Human Resources will consider the reasons outlined and provide a response in writing to the relevant staff member normally within four weeks of the submission being received.
It is expected that staff will raise their concern with the relevant manager in the first instance.
Should the issue remain unresolved the staff member may refer their concern, individually or through the NTEU, to the relevant Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor.
The staff member concerned will be notified in writing of any decision following consideration of their concerns.
Staff may not refer their matter directly to the AIMC prior to consideration of the issue by the relevant manager, Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor.
Matters referred to the AIMC should be in writing and include:
a) the original concerns as raised with the relevant manager, Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor;
b) the written responses provided to the staff member;
c) a copy of the staff member’s workplan; and
d) a copy of the School’s workload model.
The AIMC may call an extraordinary meeting with a minimum quorum of the Chair of the AIMC, one AIMC member who is an NTEU nominee and one AIMC member who is a nominee of the Vice-Chancellor.
The AIMC may choose to seek further information as required to determine if there is any inconsistency between the principles for workload allocation and the local workload allocation model or its application to the staff member’s workplan.
The AIMC will notify the staff member concerned in writing of any decision of the Vice-Chancellor or nominee.
Staff may not refer the matter to Fair Work Australia until the process detailed at points 1) - 3) is exhausted.
Factors to be considered in establishing individual workplans
The annualised workplan for each staff member will take into account the following:
a) The local workload allocation model.
b) The performance plan of the work unit of which the staff member is a member, and the expected outcomes of this plan.
c) The staff member’s individual contribution to the expected outcomes of the work unit’s performance plan.
d) The identification of professional developmental needs which may be required to assist in the staff member’s individual contribution to the work unit’s performance plan, and which facilitates the staff member’s career development consistent with the needs of the staff member’s work unit and/or the University.
e) The staff member’s position classification standard and/or position description.
f) The staff member’s workload established through the appropriate local workload allocation model and/or processes.
g) The staff member’s leave plans.
h) The University's commitment to providing opportunities for staff to work in a family friendly environment and balance work-life commitments.
Factors to be considered in establishing academic workplans
Overall mix of activities
- Academic workload consists of four major components:
a) Teaching and teaching related activities;
b) Scholarship and research;
c) Professional and community engagement; and
- All academic staff members are expected to participate in some combination of these activities not exceeding an average of 36 hours per week. Variations in the distribution for individuals may be based on factors such as the needs of the School and the personal strengths and interests, career development and responsibilities of the individual staff member. The distribution of activities in an academic staff member’s workplan will be reflected in the assessment of the individual's performance for the purposes of academic promotion.
- The appropriate mix of activities will be determined through consultation between the supervisor and the staff member and will include opportunities for staff members to participate in, develop and balance their expertise in the areas of academic activity.
- Academic staff will normally have a minimum of 14 weeks each year in which to undertake scholarship, research and professional activities, resulting in outcomes that are specified in their approved workplans.
Scholarship and research activity
- Academic staff employed on a fixed term basis in a research position may undertake activities other than research subject to the provisions of the project funding arrangements and agreement with their supervisor.
- An academic staff member who is enrolled for a research higher degree in a field associated with their work will be allocated, within their workplan, a proportion of time to undertake such studies, provided that their research higher degree supervisor certifies that adequate progress has been made.
Teaching and teaching related activities
- No staff member will normally be required to teach:
a) in more than 24 weeks over a 12-month period, unless either
i. it is agreed by the staff member or
ii. it has been directed by the manager in the case where the staff member did not substantially achieve the outcomes agreed in their previous year's workplan.
b) more than four consecutive hours without a break.
- The class size for tutorials, seminars and laboratory groups will be reasonable taking into account such factors as the nature of the activity, safety requirements, and availability of teaching facilities.
- No academic staff member will be required to coordinate more than three courses per semester.
- An academic staff member will not be required to commence teaching within ten hours of the conclusion of a teaching session, or other directed duties, conducted on the previous day.
Professional staff workloads
RMIT will ensure that in order to achieve its goals, workloads for staff are realistic and reasonable, are distributed as equitably as possible and that the process used in allocation is open and accountable.
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