Wor Blog

How many hours a week should academics work?

Chair’s blog No. 6

By Julia Charlton, Branch Chair, Northumbria University

How many hours a week should academics work? How many hours do you work in a week? Many academics feel overworked and exhausted by their jobs. But there is little evidence that long hours lead to better results, while some research suggests that they may even be counterproductive. The research on how long academics work is patchy, but on the whole it shows that scholars are putting in longer hours than the average worker, and certainly more than the 9-to-5 norm that in any case seems to be disappearing from Western workplaces.

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You are paid less - part 5

By Julia Charlton, Branch Chair, Northumbria University

From April 2016 there are legislative changes being introduced that may result in you paying higher National Insurance (NI) contributions. If you are a member of LGPS, TP or USS pension schemes then your National Insurance (NI) contributions will increase from April 2016. As an employee, youpay National Insurancecontributions if you earn more than £155 a week. The amount youpayis 10.6% to12% of your earnings above that limit up to £815 a week (for 2015 to 2016). The rate drops to 2% of your earnings over that amount. So for someone on top SL pay you lose all of your last pay rise and more. Members are telling UCU that the cost of living crisis is having a major impact on their ability to afford to continue in the sector.

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In the autumn statement, George Osborne announced the scrapping of the NHS bursary for new student nurses, midwives and allied health professions in England from 2017. The ‪NHS bursary supports over 80,000 healthcare students at more than 120 universities each year and the Tories want to scrap it.

Why does this matter to UCU members? Because our hardworking health academics are at possible risk because of the possible loss of NHS commissioned training places at Northumbria University. These commissioned places bring vital finance into the university in excess of £20 million per year.

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You are paid less - part 4

By Julia Charlton, Branch Chair, Northumbria University.

UCU report 'transparency at the top? Senior pay and perks in UK universities, UCU March 2015': http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/0/0/ucu_transparencyatthetop_mar15.pdf

In January 2014, UCU wrote to business secretary Vince Cable and universities minister David Willetts to highlight the escalation of vice-chancellors' salaries for the academic year of 2012/13 and reminded them of the government's strong words on excessive pay at the top of UK universities.

In response to the letter, David Willetts said universities should be free to set the operation of their remuneration committee as they see fit, and that there were already lists of vice-chancellors' pay in the public domain. However, he did suggest universities may be required to provide a remuneration report as is now the norm in many public and private sector companies.

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