An employee might be asked or required to perform some duty outside of their primary job.
For example: A teacher might be required to attend a grade-level meeting after regular work hours or to coach volleyball. An assistant principal might be required to attend all after-school athletic events.
Employees might wonder whether they can be required to perform these extra duties and, if so, whether they must be paid extra for doing so. The answer lies, first, in whether there is a contract, and second, in whether the duty is an “additional duty” or a “supplemental duty.” The difference between the two is whether the district intends to pay extra compensation for the duty. If there is no extra compensation, such as for staying after-hours for a meeting, it is an “additional duty.” If there is extra compensation, such as through a coaching stipend, it is a “supplemental duty.”
Contract employees and additional duties
For contract employees, additional duties are first governed by the contract itself. Most teacher contracts contain a specific clause stating that additional duties can be assigned at the district's discretion. Most teacher contracts also do not state duty hours. These two factors mean that generally, a district can require work beyond the ordinary workday. Exactly how much work can be required is a subject of hot debate.
The question becomes whether the assignment is a reasonable additional duty. The inquiry used in making that decision is whether it was something the educator knew or should have known might be required when they signed their contract.
The focus is first on what is commonly expected of educators in general and, second, what has been expected of educators locally.
Traditional teacher tasks would be considered reasonable, such as preparing lessons, grading in the evenings, and occasionally attending after-school department meetings and parent-teacher conferences. But, as expectations evolve, so does the standard for what is reasonable. It has become increasingly common for teachers to tutor after regular hours and attend weekend pre-STAAR preparation sessions. As these become more common and an understood part of teaching, they become a more reasonable additional duty.
Local expectations are also important. If teachers know that in their district teachers are expected to work at the concession stand during school athletic events and sign their contracts knowing that, then they have agreed to accept that as a part of their jobs. If teachers know that on their campus, the teachers are expected to attend weekly grade-level planning meetings after hours, that means the meetings are more likely to be considered reasonable additional duties.
Sudden but significant changes raise more questions—changes such as a mid-year 30-minute extension of the workday might not be considered reasonable if unexpected.
Most educator contracts state that the educator’s normal salary compensates the educator for all additional duties performed. If an assignment would be considered a reasonable additional duty, the district does not provide additional compensation. Generally, when an educator receives extra compensation for performing a duty, that duty is called a supplemental duty . (Supplemental duties are discussed below.)
Noncontract employees and additional duties
Because there is no contract, the district is generally free to require that the employee perform any legal task. The employee can try to explain why an additional duty should not be required, but—except in situations where some specific legal right is at issue, such as a reasonable accommodation for a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act—the employer can demand that the employee perform the task.
Like additional duties, supplemental duties are assignments not specifically mentioned in an educator’s contract. If a teacher’s contract says the person is a teacher and a coach, then coaching is not a supplemental duty; it is a contractual duty. But there are two important distinctions between a supplemental duty and an additional duty:
- A supplemental duty has a stipend attached to it under district policy. The district realizes the duty, such as coaching, is time-consuming enough to warrant additional compensation. Because it’s up to each district to determine what positions have stipends, one district might treat a position as a supplemental duty with a stipend while another district might consider the same position an additional duty with no stipend.
- A supplemental duty is outside the contract while an additional duty is part of the contract. As such, an educator can usually be directed to perform the additional duty but can refuse a supplemental duty. This means that in many cases an educator can decide to “quit” the supplemental duty without any effect on their contract. By the same token, the district can often terminate a supplemental duty without having to provide the due process required for contract termination. Educators should be aware, though, of the many nuances related to supplemental duties, when they can be terminated, and when that termination can result in losing the stipend attached to the supplemental duty.
Because a supplemental duty is outside of the contract, it is very much like an individual “at-will” assignment for someone who has a contract. For a non-contract employee, it is just another assignment—just one with added compensation.
Can districts extend the school day?
There is no maximum workday set in state or federal law. Local policy therefore determines the number of hours in a workday.
For contract employees, an extension might be considered a change in the contract term that cannot be made during the contract. This is why school districts usually announce planned changes for the next school year in the spring.
Work hours can be changed at any time for noncontract employees.