Overtime Survey

January 5, 2018 bargaining meeting discussion on overtime

We discussed the Fall 2017 Overtime Survey results at length with the Employer. From the survey 52% responded that they have worked over their hours. Regarding the reasons for overtime: 70% cited an unreasonable workload estimation, 63% cited unreasonable estimates of preparation hours, 20% cited short notice and 17% cited external reasons (such as error in solutions). Of those who worked overtime, 26% approached someone in their department about it. Regarding barriers to approaching the department: 42% cite not wanting to be unjustly blamed for “poor performance”, 20% cited lack of time before overtime hours to be worked, and 53% do not think they will succeed, and so do not find it worth pursuing. Only 6% responded that nothing prevents them from approaching their department. Regarding change in workload as a result of approaching their course supervisor/department: 51% saw no change to their workload, 30% sometimes have to keep working overtime after and 20% had their workload adjusted so they didn’t have to keep working. Regarding overtime pay, 2% “usually” receive overtime pay; 8% usually do not, and 91% have never got it as a result of asking.

In addition, we discussed the specific issues that have been raised to the union, including through the survey comments. The main issues members face are:

  • working overtime hours; and
  • not being compensated nor having their workloads adjusted.

Common sources of the overtime work include:

  • the actual time required for grading assignments, essays, reports, quizzes, exams and other student submissions;
  • the actual time required for meeting/discussing with individual students (on student work, or office hours, or by email etc);
  • regular weekly duties come close or exceeding the 10 hours combined with non-weekly duties;
  • completing work that is beyond the scope of a TA (giving the course lectures).

Common messages we hear include that:

  • to do the work well or properly simply requires more time than the course supervisor has estimated; and
  • there is an inadequate number of TAs for the courses
  • there are too many students assigned per TA