20 Academic Workloads

  1. Academic and ELC Teaching Staff Collective Agreement 2014–2017
  2. The provisions of this clause apply only to Academic staff members as defined in the position Classification Standards, in accordance with Schedule 5 and 6 of this Agreement.

    1. General
      1. Workloads will be manageable and equitable and will be determined on a fair, transparent and consultative basis taking into consideration the level of appointment and total responsibilities and provisions of clause 15 (Flexible and Family Working Arrangements).
      2. Once agreement is reached on individual workloads, the workloads will be published within each School.
      3. The Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), at its discretion, may advise on the particulars of the implementation of this clause.
      4. It is the objective of this clause that, once having satisfied the conditions of this clause, autonomy be left to the level of School-based decision making, given the provisions of sub clause 20.3.2.
    2. The nature of academic work
      1. While recognising the complex nature of academic workloads, the University and NTEU agree that academic workload consists of three major components:
        • teaching, curriculum development and research supervision;
        • research, scholarship, creative achievement and professional activity; and
        • service and administration to the University and community.
        • Employees have an entitlement to a balance of work across those three functions in the context of the requirements of the University and their own career development. Apart from research-only academic positions, it is the expectation of the University that academics will carry out all three activities, and a mix of work will not disadvantage an employee in an application for promotion.

    3. Education Scholar Role
      • Education Scholar roles are available to existing employee’s only.
      • No employee will be required to move to an Education Scholar role.
      • An employee, at Level B and above, may elect to become an Education Scholar. Any move must meet the University’s operational needs and be mutually agreed.
      • An employee in an Education Scholar role will primarily be teaching and scholarship focused.
      • Typically, an employee in an Education Scholar role will teach at the maximum of the EFTSL range in accordance with clause 20.7.4.
      • Where an employee seeks to move to an Education Scholar role, they will meet with their Head of School, or delegate.
      • The period of an approved move to an Education Scholar role will be for a period of three (3) years.
      • An Education Scholar is entitled to return to a balanced research/teaching workload allocation at the expiration of the Education Scholar role.
      • The employee will meet with the Head of School, or delegate, at least six (6) months prior to the expiration of the three (3) year period, to discuss whether the employee is seeking to return to a balanced research/teaching workload allocation or to continue in an Education Scholar role.
      • An employee in an Education Scholar role is eligible to apply for promotion and for study leave. Academic promotion will be assessed against the three (3) criteria of research, teaching and service based on the employee’s demonstrated workload allocation.
    4. The term "teaching" will mean the provision of education through activities such as lectures, tutorials, seminars, demonstrations, laboratory sessions, clinical/practicum sessions, fieldwork, supervision, or other teaching methods, including teaching in equivalent ways and equivalent duration through on-line/distance education media, excluding distance communication with students that is not a teaching related activity.
    5. The parameters of online equivalence will be set out in each School Workload Policy, and equivalent duration will conform to the provisions of sub clause 20.4, Requirements for Allocation of Workload.
    6. Teaching-related activity is intrinsic to teaching, and refers to activities such as coordination, marking, student consultation, preparation, and curriculum and materials development. Teaching includes undergraduate, postgraduate, domestic full-fee, international full-fee (on-campus, distance education and off-shore) teaching and research supervision (including working with partners to deliver units).
    7. Apart from postgraduate research supervision and marking of special exams or Special Extensions of Time (SETs), the term "teaching period" will mean a designated teaching period, such as a trimester, semester or Summer School per year.
  3. Allocation of Workloads
    1. The following five principles should apply in the determination and allocation of academic workloads:
      • Mix
      • Equity
      • Flexibility
      • Responsiveness
      • Transparency


      In order to achieve the career aspirations of employees and the mission of the School and University, all staff (other than casual and research-only academics) will aim to undertake an appropriate mix of teaching, research supervision, research, service and administration, to be determined annually after consultation with their supervisor.


      Determination and allocation of academic workload for all employees will be fair and reasonable, with consideration given to the relevant position classification standard and duty statement, responsibilities and the categories of employment such as continuing, probationary, fixed term, part time and casual.


      Workloads will be flexible in order to allow employees to have blocks of time to engage in varying levels of teaching, research, and associated professional / service work. Workloads will also have due regard to leave entitlements. Flexible and family working arrangements as provided in clause 15 will also be considered.


      The determination and allocation of workload should take into consideration the budget of the School or other Cost Centre, the teaching, research and service commitments of the Cost Centre and the number of staff that are located in the School or other Cost Centre.

      Academic workloads will be negotiated and allocated to enable quick and effective responses over an academic year to changes both internal and external to the University and will provide individuals with reasonable certainty and notice of their annual workload commitments over that period.


      Both the process of negotiation and results of allocation of individual academic workload will be in a readily accessible form for all employees of the School University. The Head of School will circulate within the School the EFTSL loads of all employees as soon as practicable in each semester and after the census dates in each year. Employees will be accountable for carrying out their allocated workloads.

    2. Each School, through collegial consultative processes with its academic staff, will develop, implement, review and revise an Academic Workload Policy on a School basis. The Academic Workload Policy will be considered by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor who will provide input. A School meeting will be called to consider the policy and it will be ratified by consensus. Where consensus cannot be reached, a majority decision, by vote of the applicable School staff, will determine the School Academic Workload Policy. The School Academic Workload Policy must be consistent with the University's Strategic Plan and academic mission of the School.
  4. Requirements for Allocation of Workload
    1. The University will take reasonable steps to ensure that employees are not allocated a workload which requires excessive or unreasonable hours.
    2. In determining what are unreasonable hours the University will have regard to the following:
      • The total number of teaching and/or required hours worked on a particular day, teaching period, or year;
      • The number of teaching and/or required hours worked without a break;
      • The period of time, being no less than 4 weeks between sessions including examination periods, for teaching-related duties carried out between the cessation of lectures in one teaching session and the commencement of lectures in the next;
      • The number of consecutive days of the week during which teaching and/or required duties are scheduled;
      • Health and safety requirements;
      • The employee’s general workload;
      • The number and size of units coordinated by an individual employee; and,
      • The obligations under clauses 20.3.1 (Equity) and 15 (Flexible and Family Working Arrangements)
    3. No employee will be required to engage in teaching that exceeds 220 hours (pro rated according to fraction and period of employment) over the year. An employee may be required to teach an additional 46 hours per year (pro rata) if the teaching is exclusively tutorials, demonstrations or laboratory sessions, and meets the other obligations of clause 20.3.1.
    4. An employee will not be required to undertake teaching duties over a span of greater than eight (8) hours in any one day. This requirement may be varied by agreement between an employee and their Head of School.
    5. Unless by agreement between the employee and supervisor, no employee will be required to teach outside the hours 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday, with the exception of intensive teaching periods, (being residential schools, weekend schools, overseas teaching and field excursions).
    6. An employee will only teach on weekends or public holidays where there is mutual agreement. Such agreements will include arrangements to take time-off-in-lieu.
    7. No employee will be required to teach overseas unless stated in the employee's contract of employment or with the agreement of the employee.
    8. Employees assigned to introduce new units or extend modes of delivery of existing units will be provided with adequate notice and consulted, and will be supported by adequate resources and training.
  5. Flexible Teaching Year
    1. The parties agree that the University may implement changes to working arrangements, taking into account the provisions of relevant clauses of this Agreement. This will enable the University to establish a flexible teaching year in order to provide opportunities for:
      • Increased flexibility in staff patterns of work;
      • Provision of teaching-free blocks for individual staff;
      • Enhancement of research opportunities for staff;
      • Improvement of opportunities for workforce planning;
      • Increased flexibility in patterns of study for students;
      • Increased University revenue; and
      • Attainment of a greater share of the local and international student market.
    2. A flexible teaching year may be achieved through initiatives by the University including but not limited to:
      • Multiple and sometimes overlapping teaching sessions throughout the year;
      • Summer schools;
      • Residential schools.
    3. A reference to a semester or trimester does not include Residential/Intensive Schools or voluntary teaching in excess of workload in summer schools.
    4. The introduction of flexible teaching year initiatives will comply with clause 20.
    5. Changes to the teaching year (e.g. trimesters, semester, summer schools, and traditional non-teaching periods) will be subject to consultation with the staff likely to be affected and the NTEU, which shall include appropriate risk assessment and analysis of the workload implications of various models.
    6. The following categories of employees will not be required to teach any more than 2 out of 3 trimesters per annum: employees who are teaching within the allocated load of their cluster EFTSL band; or employees who are research active (using ERA indicators); or employees who have a reduced teaching load because of a defined administrative role (e.g. Course Coordinator, HDR Coordinator).
    7. Employees who are not teaching within the allocated load of their cluster EFTSL band and who are not research active may be required to teach up to 5 out of 6 trimesters over a two-year period.
    8. Equity consideration shall be given in determining expectations of research activity in the case of early career academics and academics who have had a recent significant break in their career arising from, for example, being a primary care giver or returning from parental leave.
    9. In a situation where there are multiple and overlapping arrangements (for example 5 or more teaching sessions), no employee will be required to work more than 3 out of 5 overlapping sessions or to work in a pattern that would prevent the use of 12 weeks per annum free from teaching responsibilities.
    10. An employee will not be required to work in a pattern that would prevent taking a four-week block of annual leave per annum.
  6. Part-time Academic Staff - The workload for part-time employees is fractionally proportionate to the workload of a full-time employee.
  7. Teaching and Supervision Index (TSI)
    1. The Teaching and Supervision Index (TSI) is a measure of the Effective Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) plus the Higher Degree Research (HDR) EFTSL (weighted times 2) to one Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employee. Non-Commonwealth-supported students shall be included on the same basis as Commonwealth-supported students in determining EFTSL. All teaching is to be counted in terms of EFTSL, as measured at the census dates for each teaching session.
    2. Timely teaching relief will be provided for individual employees who exceed the maximum levels provided in school workload policies and/or the maximum specified in sub clause 20.7.4.
    3. The teaching and supervision indices will measure the student load to FTE (full-time and fractional) staff using effective figures (with casual assistance and teaching by non-employees removed), taking into account all forms of leave, including study leave.
    4. TSI loads for individual staff members will vary depending on the five principles at sub-clause 20.3.1. Subject to these principles, TSI loads will routinely fall within the cluster ranges shown below, which schools use in the development of their workload policies.
    5. Cluster description



      Economics, Business & Law



      Humanities & Arts, Archaeology and Paleoanthropology (arts/humanities funded units)



      Mathematics, Statistics & Computing



      Behavioural Science, Social Studies, Political and International Studies



      Health & Nursing






      Clinical Psychology



      Media and Communications



      Foreign Languages, Visual & Performing Arts



      Science, Agriculture, Surveying, Archaeology and Paleoanthropology (science funded units)






    6. These EFTSL parameters may be modified in line with any changes to federal government funding arrangements, by mutual agreement between the University and the NTEU.
    7. Where Course Coordinators have responsibilities associated with their role requiring teaching relief, then that relief will be in the form of EFTSL relief as prescribed within each School workload policy.
    8. If an employee agrees to undertake additional teaching beyond that provided for in the Workload policy, their workload allocation agreement will be varied accordingly by reducing other workload within the same period or reducing the teaching load in the next workload allocation period.
    9. All employees are expected to engage in a combination of teaching, research and service over a year. This combination of activities will vary according to the skills and interests of the individual, and the needs of the discipline. This distribution of activities will be reflected in the University's promotions application process.
  8. Unless it can be demonstrated that there is not a future need for a position, the University will, subject to available funding, establish a new position, or fill a vacancy for a position, where there is a demonstrated pattern (over a minimum of four (4) trimesters) of student load in excess of the load carried by employees as determined by this Workloads clause.
  9. Disputes about Workloads - Disputes about workloads will be resolved using the Dispute Settling Procedures (clause 58).
  10. Principles of Availability
    1. It is acknowledged that from time to time, employees will undertake a range of duties that either necessitate or benefit from their absence from campus. It is nevertheless expected that staff will be available for scheduled School and University meetings, and for interaction and consultation with students and colleagues on a reasonable basis.
    2. While travel and off campus work are normal for many employees, the University will remain the focal point of each employee’s professional life. Staff will regularly advise their supervisor of their general activities and of absences off campus for periods of two (2) days or more, and be contactable during these times.
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