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  • Required duties, but not compensated Ohio

    I work in an ABLE (Adult Basic Literacy and Education) program in the state of Ohio. It is a grant-funded program. The teachers in this program teach either GED or ESOL (English as a second language). It is an hourly job with no benefits. The typical class session is 2.5 to 3 hours, with a planning time of 45 to 60 minutes. Classes are held at various sites in the county, typically, in libraries or community centers. There are usually two classes per site, let's say on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and then the teacher gets "planning time" from noon to 12:45. We are required to arrive on site 15 to 30 minutes before the class begins, and that time is not compensated. The classes are free to the public. The problem the teachers are having, and have been having for a long time, is that there are many, MANY duties we are required to do which absolutely cannot be done in the allotted 45 to 60 minutes of planning time. These duties include: setting up and cleaning up the room before and after class (this often involves setting up tables and chairs), creating lesson plans for every class, paperwork for student folders (completing all the paperwork for each folder from inception to exit takes about 45 minutes per folder and there are typically 30 folders per class per any given school year), keeping track of attendance (recording attendance on an Excel file for every class), calling the students on the roster, using our personal phones, about three times per school year to encourage them to come back to class (this entails finding the student's folder, removing a special sheet where calls are documented, and then noting the date and time of the call, the reason the student gave for not attending, and then initialing it--at one point I was given a list of 60 names to call), keeping a record of supplies (an electronic inventory, which involves recording the ISBN number of every book and how many there are), driving to the central office to pick up or drop off paper items, like student folders (no compensation for gas, wear and tear, or the teacher's time; distance to office can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes from teacher's site or home; we are asked to pick up or drop off at least twice a month); creating and carrying out a special "advocacy project" twice a year which requires extra time, but it not compensated; removing all books and supplies from storage cabinets or storerooms, packing them in our cars and delivering them to two different locations (twice a year--once to set up, once to tear down); and reading, sorting, and responding to MANY emails from the office daily. To do everything that is demanded from the office exactly the way the office wants it done requires teachers to put in as many or more extra hours than the teachers may record on their time sheets. In reality, teachers in this ABLE program make minimum wage since their $21 to $25 per hour is so reduced by the extra time put in to carry out all the duties.
    There is never any response from the office concerning this issue beyond "that's just the way it is". There is also NO forum for discussion of these issues whatsoever. Is this legal? Teachers are very upset, disgusted, and resentful about it and morale is very low.

    Forgot about yet another task that is required of us--filling out surveys on our own time. These have due dates and the last one I received consisted of 33 questions. I asked if we would be compensated for one hour of time for this task, and was thanked for "my dedication in filling out the self-appraisal survey", and my question about compensation was not answered.
    Last edited by kshank67; 05-25-2014, 06:31 AM.

  • #2
    Bumping this thread due to the holiday weekend.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

    Comment


    • #3
      Federal law (FLSA) requires you be paid (at least) minimum wage for all time worked. This would include any time which was "sufficiently restricted" to prevent you from using the time for your own purposes. Such as mandatory coming into work early. The time spent on the on-line questionnaire is probably time worked. The only real exception would be if it is governmental requirement (no the employer but a separate governmental requirement.

      In addition to the MW requirement, there is generally a requirement that a 50% overtime premium be paid for hours worked past 40 in the workweek. There is a chance that the Teacher (Professional) exception applies here, although that is far from certain based on what was said.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

      Comment


      • #4
        Why are you not entering the actual time worked on your time sheet? For example, early arrival time, afternoons or evenings spent working on folders, making calls, etc. Have you tried to do it, and received instructions to change it? Or was your timesheet edited for you?

        If you are thanked for your dedication in filling out self-appraisal surveys, I would read that as a voluntary task and consider not doing the next survey. Then, if they inform you that the surveys are mandatory, then that would most likely be time worked, and you can add that time to your time sheet, too.

        Keep copies of your time worked, you may want to include details of your tasks done outside of the workday, save copies of phone records, details about your travel, etc.

        Technically, I guess your school would be your jobsite, and you could consider going to the office during your workday as a mileage-reimbursable errand. Driving home would be part #2 of your commute, and therefore not reimburseable. But if you go to the office on a day that you don't go to the school, it's just a different place to work, and there & back would be part of the normal (unpaid) commute. Have you tried submitting mileage reimbursement requests and been told not to do that?

        Is there a chance you could scan & email paperwork to their offices? Move to an electronic database to store these types of records? Hire a temp to drive to drop off/pick up materials at all of the locations at the beginning & end of the programs? Just some suggestions to consider that might streamline the work day and eliminate some of the driving.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Thanks for your response

          Thank you so much for your really considerate reply--I really appreciate it. We have tried putting the actual hours worked on our time sheets, but the time sheets are edited by the program supervisor. A good example of this concerns a colleague who is scheduled to work from 9:30 to 12:30, with 45 minutes of planning time right after 12:30. She works these hours Mon. through Thurs. Due to the resignation of the other teacher at that site (that teacher taught language arts, the remaining teacher taught math), the remaining teacher found herself teaching all subjects with 18 to 20 GED students in her room everyday. This greatly increases the time necessary to complete student folders and plan for four subjects. She found herself staying at the site until about 4:00 everyday. She put only one extra hour on her time sheet per day, despite the fact she was there much longer than that. Those four extra hours were removed from her timesheet and she was bluntly told "It doesn't work that way". This is a grant-funded program and every hour must be accounted for. I don't know if the supervisor can simply give extra hours for time actually worked. The problem is that there is no desire to work out this problem--no forums for discussion between supervisors and teachers, nothing. It is brought up over and over again by teachers and is always brushed off with a "that's just the way it is". Unfortunately, it's not okay.

          Concerning simply not doing surveys, that is not possible. All teachers are required to submit them. I recently completed three surveys. There is also paperwork (summary sheets and something else I can't recall at the moment) for two "advocacy projects" teachers are also required to do during the year. That too is extra work we are not compensated for.

          We have been told point-blank that ABLE teachers are NOT compensated for mileage (nor for our time), although other teachers in the school district are. I have not submitted mileage reimbursements because I already know they would not be paid.

          The items we are told to come and pick up are most often student folders, which cannot be created and transmitted electronically. Those in the office also print marketing flyers which they instruct each teacher to come and pick up; along with other misc. documents. I have repeatedly said that it takes me an hour and a half of my time if I leave from home; or 45 minutes if I leave from the site to pick up/or drop off items; yet, it falls on deaf ears. Nearly every week I receive a communication "ready for pick up; or please drop off". It never ends. That said, I have asked for flyers to be sent to me electronically whenever possible as I refuse to drive there unnecessarily.

          My question at this point is who to contact concerning this issue. Since it is a grant-funded program with set limits on what can be spent on what, then maybe there is no recourse. However, the program managers certainly could try to find ways to decrease the hours needed to complete tasks, but they do not seem motivated to do so. So that puts teachers in the position of quitting or putting up with it. Many teachers quit as the few paid hours per weeks isn't worth the hassle of it all.

          Also, at the last staff meeting, the program supervisor gave everyone a brand new book titled "Tuesdays with Morrie". Apparently she did this because she said she just loves that story. She gave out 40-some books at $13.99 per book. That comes out to about $560. No one requested that book and I find it ironic that she refuses to pay actual hours worked, yet somehow has the funds to buy a book for everyone that is not related to the job. And she closed my site for the summer apparently because they are "out of funds".
          Interesting....





          Originally posted by J.J. Brown View Post
          Why are you not entering the actual time worked on your time sheet? For example, early arrival time, afternoons or evenings spent working on folders, making calls, etc. Have you tried to do it, and received instructions to change it? Or was your timesheet edited for you?

          If you are thanked for your dedication in filling out self-appraisal surveys, I would read that as a voluntary task and consider not doing the next survey. Then, if they inform you that the surveys are mandatory, then that would most likely be time worked, and you can add that time to your time sheet, too.

          Keep copies of your time worked, you may want to include details of your tasks done outside of the workday, save copies of phone records, details about your travel, etc.

          Technically, I guess your school would be your jobsite, and you could consider going to the office during your workday as a mileage-reimbursable errand. Driving home would be part #2 of your commute, and therefore not reimburseable. But if you go to the office on a day that you don't go to the school, it's just a different place to work, and there & back would be part of the normal (unpaid) commute. Have you tried submitting mileage reimbursement requests and been told not to do that?

          Is there a chance you could scan & email paperwork to their offices? Move to an electronic database to store these types of records? Hire a temp to drive to drop off/pick up materials at all of the locations at the beginning & end of the programs? Just some suggestions to consider that might streamline the work day and eliminate some of the driving.
          Last edited by kshank67; 05-30-2014, 08:57 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for responding

            Thank you--minimum wage for these required non-teaching tasks would be better than nothing. Working more than 40 hours in our case does not apply. Could you tell me how to proceed with a complaint about this? This is a grant-funded program and the supervisor's response to extra hours on time sheets is simply "it doesn't work that way", and then she removes the hours from the time sheets. Most people don't bother putting the actual hours worked on time sheets; and if they do, only a portion of the time they actually worked is recorded. No one I know tries to abuse the system. We work off site and it would admittedly be difficult for the supervisor to know how many hours really were worked. Since that is the case, they need to come with a system where everyone gets a reasonable amount of time to complete tasks--an extra two hours every week for everyone to complete the non-teaching tasks, for example.






            Originally posted by DAW View Post
            Federal law (FLSA) requires you be paid (at least) minimum wage for all time worked. This would include any time which was "sufficiently restricted" to prevent you from using the time for your own purposes. Such as mandatory coming into work early. The time spent on the on-line questionnaire is probably time worked. The only real exception would be if it is governmental requirement (no the employer but a separate governmental requirement.

            In addition to the MW requirement, there is generally a requirement that a 50% overtime premium be paid for hours worked past 40 in the workweek. There is a chance that the Teacher (Professional) exception applies here, although that is far from certain based on what was said.

            Comment


            • #7
              Your state is not my state, but basically you file a wage claim with OH's department of labor (or whatever they call it).
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks again

                Thanks for getting back to me on this--I will look into that. --Kathy



                Originally posted by DAW View Post
                Your state is not my state, but basically you file a wage claim with OH's department of labor (or whatever they call it).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes, please file a claim with your state's DOL. With a grant program they may be under strict orders to keep the wages at a certain level, but they may not have realized how much time it would take to do the non-teaching tasks when they applied for the funding and now they're setting up boundaries on the remaining funds by editing time sheets, refusing mileage, etc. You may be trying to get water out of a dry well - but I think you should pursue it.

                  If you have any of these conversations preserved in emails or memos where your hours were edited, or you were told you would not be paid for time spent on certain tasks, or your mileage requests were denied, make sure to keep them.

                  Good luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks again....

                    Thanks again for your response. What is most troubling is the attitude and complete lack of desire to work with the teachers on these issues and to use some creativity to resolve them. It is much easier for the admin to keep doing things the same way. There is no empathy whatsoever, and a real disconnect between the office and reality.

                    One other question: I worked at a library site from September to the third week in May. The library indicated that the room we were using would be needed for a school lunch program over the summer. I asked if the smaller room next to the room we were using would be available, and was told yes, it was available. I told this to the office and received no response to my suggestion about using the alternate room and was simply informed the site would close for the summer (that communication went on in early April). I was asked if I was going to continue in the fall. I responded by saying that I could not commit nearly a half-year in advance to a very, very part-time job that only ran for 6.5 months out of the year and with no guaranteed hours (i.e., they can close the site at any time). With that, I was told to email a short notice of my resignation. My question is--how does a site closing constitute a resignation on my part? Also, the site was closed for an extra two weeks after the already two-week break, and I was not personally informed of that (noticed the site closing in a schedule sent to everyone), resulting in a an extra two weeks wages lost. Is that legal?



                    Originally posted by J.J. Brown View Post
                    Yes, please file a claim with your state's DOL. With a grant program they may be under strict orders to keep the wages at a certain level, but they may not have realized how much time it would take to do the non-teaching tasks when they applied for the funding and now they're setting up boundaries on the remaining funds by editing time sheets, refusing mileage, etc. You may be trying to get water out of a dry well - but I think you should pursue it.

                    If you have any of these conversations preserved in emails or memos where your hours were edited, or you were told you would not be paid for time spent on certain tasks, or your mileage requests were denied, make sure to keep them.

                    Good luck.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My question is--how does a site closing constitute a resignation on my part?

                      They asked you if you were going to be there in the fall.

                      You said you could not commit to being there in the fall.

                      They took that as a No. Quite honestly, so would I have done.

                      Also, the site was closed for an extra two weeks after the already two-week break, and I was not personally informed of that (noticed the site closing in a schedule sent to everyone), resulting in a an extra two weeks wages lost. Is that legal?


                      Yes. Perhaps not the most professional way of doing things, but not illegal.
                      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks again....

                        Thanks. The thing is, I may have wanted to let the summer ride out and then decide about the job in the fall (although I did not in this case). Also, openings for other sites are constantly posted and I may have wanted to keep an eye out for one of those. I do not feel I resigned in total as a teacher because one site closed and I did not commit to a site that may not even open in the fall (depends on funding). Maybe for "paperwork reasons", which I am not privy to, I had to officially resign from that particular site. Still seems an odd way of doing things. Thanks again.



                        Originally posted by cbg View Post
                        My question is--how does a site closing constitute a resignation on my part?

                        They asked you if you were going to be there in the fall.

                        You said you could not commit to being there in the fall.

                        They took that as a No. Quite honestly, so would I have done.

                        Also, the site was closed for an extra two weeks after the already two-week break, and I was not personally informed of that (noticed the site closing in a schedule sent to everyone), resulting in a an extra two weeks wages lost. Is that legal?


                        Yes. Perhaps not the most professional way of doing things, but not illegal.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I can still see them taking it as a resignation when you said you could not commit to being there (at their site) in the fall. It was your decision to wait & see if something else came available.
                          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for responding

                            Yes, apparently that is the case...

                            Thank you for responding. --Kathy




                            Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
                            I can still see them taking it as a resignation when you said you could not commit to being there (at their site) in the fall. It was your decision to wait & see if something else came available.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm a little late to the party but as a teacher, you are not entitled to either minimum wage nor must you be paid on a salary basis in order to be considered exempt.

                              Teachers are exempt if their primary duty is teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge, and if they are employed and engaged in this activity as a teacher in an educational establishment. Exempt teachers include, but are not limited to, regular academic teachers; kindergarten or nursery school teachers; teachers of gifted or disabled children; teachers of skilled and semi-skilled trades and occupations; teachers engaged in automobile driving instruction; aircraft flight instructors; home economics teachers; and vocal or instrument music teachers. The salary and salary basis requirements do not apply to bona fide teachers. Having a primary duty of teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge includes, by its very nature, exercising discretion and judgment.

                              And your employer does not have to wait and see if you feel like working this fall. They need to either find a teacher, which can take weeks, or count on you being there. Keeping them on the fence because you are waiting to see if a better deal comes along is not acceptable for 99% of employers. They gave you a chance to be employed and you essentially declined. They moved on, which is what I'd expect them to do. Ask if you are able to reapply in the event that an opening you do want comes available.
                              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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