For contract employees, the subject of additional
duties is most likely governed by the contract itself. Most teacher contracts contain a specific clause stating
that additional duties can be assigned at the district's
discretion. The district may also be able to require some
work time beyond the ordinary workday. Most teacher
contracts do not state duty hours. How much extra time
can be required depends on what was reasonably
contemplated by the employee and district when the
contract was signed. For example, if a teacher
understands his core duty hours to be 8 a.m. to
3:45 p.m., then three or four faculty meetings per year
that last until 5 p.m. could probably be said to have been
reasonably contemplated by the teacher when he signed his
contract. However, on the other extreme, if the additional
duties include daily faculty meetings until 5 p.m. and
student make-up classes every other Saturday, for which
the teacher is not compensated, then the teacher may have
a successful claim that the contract was never intended to
include those duties.
There is no clear test for what constitutes a change
beyond the scope of the contract or for how many extra
hours are too many under a contract. Individual facts in
each case will determine the outcome. Focus on what is commonly expected of educators in your
district and educators in general.
If your district has not yet distributed contracts, you
may want to propose that any current additional duties
clause be modified to read "such other additional duties
as are reasonably contemplated by both parties upon
entering into this contract." This wording of the clause
would serve as an impetus for districts to fully disclose,
at the time the contract is signed, what kind of
additional duties may be imposed during the term of the
Get Paid for Extra Efforts
Being a teacher requires you to
occasionally perform duties outside the traditional
classroom setting. When these situations arise, you will
most likely ask yourself, "Should I get paid for this?"
Answering that question isn’t always simple. Each
situation warrants an individual evaluation. Whether or not a teacher can receive additional
compensation for such duties depends on several factors,
including the time and burden the tasks will put on the
teacher. Duties that require more time and responsibility
are more likely to merit compensation. In these cases, a
teacher should feel comfortable requesting additional
Many districts have a supplemental duty schedule that
lists compensation amounts for specified additional
duties. However, if a particular responsibility is not
included on a district’s list, it doesn’t mean you don’t
have a chance of receiving compensation for those duties.
Often, your chance depends on how well you present your
Keep track of what you’ve invested
For example, you might be asked to organize the
junior-senior prom. Such a task might require a great deal
of time, planning and effort, so it would be reasonable to
ask for some sort of compensation. Many times principals
have discretionary funds for such events. Be sure to ask
ahead of time whether funds are available for your
project. It’s also a good idea to write out the amount of
time, duties and responsibilities you undertake to
complete the project so you’ll have a record and a point
of reference when you present your case for compensation.
When deciding whether a duty is worth compensation, a
district may also take into account the amount of
responsibility placed on the teacher. For example, if you
chaperone students on a field trip, even if you didn’t
plan the trip and it only took one day of your time, your
responsibility and liability for those students makes such
a task a candidate for compensation.
Pay attention to timing
If you’re asked to perform a certain duty, you must ask at that time whether you will get addition
compensation. You will have more leverage before the work
is done than you will after it is completed. In addition, the district may be legally prohibited
in some circumstances from paying for work that is already completed.
But can you refuse a duty?
The answer is a definite "maybe". Your contract gives the
district the right to assign "additional duties" and so
reasonable additional duties cannot simply be refused. However,
"supplemental duties" are usually not covered by the
contract and can be refused. A lot depends on the
classification of a particular assignment. Generally, supplemental duties
are included in the supplemental duty salary schedule and are those that take more time and thus warrant more
compensation. Coaching is probably the most common example
of a supplemental duty. There is a lot of gray area as to when
a reasonable "additional duty", which you cannot refuse, becomes so
burdensome as to make it unreasonable.
So, when trying to determine whether you should ask
for compensation, consider the following questions:
- How much time will this assignment require?
- How great a responsibility is the assignment?
- Is the assignment similar to one that is already listed on the district’s compensation
The legal information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for
individual legal advice or the provision of legal services. Accessing this information does not create an
attorney-client relationship. Individual legal situations vary greatly and readers should consult directly with an
attorney. Eligible ATPE members should contact the ATPE Member Legal Services Department using our
online system, MLSIS.
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