The Malta Independent 15 August 2022, Monday

MUT survey finds 85.1% carry out voluntary duties at the workplace

Thursday, 30 June 2022, 09:43 Last update: about 3 months ago

A survey by the Malta Union of Teachers found that 85.1% of respondents conduct extra voluntary duties at the workplace, with 62.2% carrying them out because they want to give more to their clients, students and/or parents.

54.7% have experienced an increase in "voluntary" work duties in the past two years. For this edition of Il-Ħsieb, the MUT explored duties carried out by educators which do not fall within their mandatory work and are considered extra and voluntary. 

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The survey gives a snapshot look at what these duties are. From photography for the school social media and website management, to nursing and guidance duties, to the organisation of many activities which go beyond school hours, most educators go far beyond what is expected of them as part of their work. Some of them buy crafts, food and sometimes even acquire uniforms for disadvantaged children, others troubleshoot school IT equipment when there is no one to fix it, while many educators end up doing a lot of paperwork and clerical duties related to transport, attendance, risk assessment and many other reports. 

According to the survey: 

- 85.1% of respondents stated that they carry out extra duties 

- 62.2% carry out extra duties because they want to give more to clients/students/parents, 43% stated that their role requires it even though it’s not in the job description, while 40.7% stated that employer expects it 

- 44.7% think that there would be repercussions from their employer if they stop carrying out extra duties 

- 83.7% of respondents carry out extra duties at their workplace during working hours, 65.1% at home outside working hours and 58.7% during weekends and/or recess 

- 67.4% do more than one hour but less than 10 hours of extra work duties weekly, 14.9% do less than one hour, while 11% do more than 10 hours but less than 20 hours 

- 47% think that some "voluntary" work duties will become mandatory, while 39.8% think that they will remain voluntary 

- 54.7% have experienced an increase in "voluntary" work duties in the past two years 

- 51.4% foresee that these extra work duties will increase in the next two years 

- 41.4% think that some of the tasks which are currently voluntary should become compulsory and remunerated (not necessarily through an increase in salary) 

- 68% think that not being appreciated by the employer/clients/students/parents reduces the educator's motivation to do extra duties and 64.6% think that the increased workload by the employer reduces their readiness 

- 40.3% have witnessed privileged/preferential treatment at the workplace for employees carrying out "voluntary" work duties in comparison with employees who do not carry out such duties. 

MUT President Marco Bonnici stated that "the MUT has always been aware that most educators do their best within the limitations of the education system and many of them go far beyond what is expected of them. This has been confirmed through this survey, which sheds light on many structural issues and problems within the system. Many indeed look positively at these extra duties and perform them with an open mind and heart, but still it is very important for educators to be aware of what their actual duties are so that they are also aware which tasks are “voluntary” or extra. More importantly, they need to make sure they stay within the parameters of the code of ethics to avoid grey areas that might create issues or conflicts related to tasks which are ultimately not within the core duties of an educator and which might be unregulated or without clear guidelines.” 

 

The survey included 14 questions with an open-ended one at the end and was answered by 181 respondents. The period for submission was between Wednesday 18 and Friday 27 May 2022. Like all similar exercises, the outcome will be included in the body of work that assists the Union in its discussions and decisions. The MUT thanks all those who participated in the survey and provided their feedback. 

 

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