MPs Wim Jan Renkema and Lisa Westerveld (both representing GroenLinks) and Frank Futselaar of the SP presented ten questions to the Minister for Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven, and the State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, Tamara van Ark. Among other things, the MPs asked the Minister and State Secretary how they feel about academic staff ‘working themselves to the bone like this’. They also wish to hear more about the causes of these heavy workloads and the ‘culture in which a large amount of overtime is required’.
The MPs asked the Minister to implement clearly defined new measures to reduce university employees’ heavy workloads. In addition, they asked the State Secretary to have the Labour Inspectorate conduct an investigation into university employees’ working conditions.
Stress, sleep deprivation and marital problems: academics bring more than 700 complaints to the Labour Inspectorate
With more than 700 reports of structural overtime at universities the academic protest…
Last week the WOinActie protest movement presented the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate with a report based on the more than seven hundred reports of long-term overtime it had received from employees of Dutch universities. According to the movement’s report, academic staff put in an average 12 to 15 more hours per week than they are getting paid for.
Lecturers and full professors reported the largest amounts of overtime, putting in 45 percent more hours than they are getting paid to put in. Associate professors ranked second, putting in 35 percent more hours than they are getting paid for. Research staff, such as PhD students and postdocs, typically put in 30 percent more than they are getting paid for, while support staff tend to put in nearly 25 percent more.
Causes of the reported overtime
According to the report, teaching duties are putting the greatest strain on staff. The main cause is the discrepancy between the number of classes lecturers are expected to teach and the number of hours they are allotted to prepare for these classes. “The number of hours allotted to teaching duties, the so-called ‘reference hours’, is regarded unrealistic.” In addition, academic staff are not receiving enough support in their non-academic duties. Among other things, academic staff report that ‘they are increasingly expected to perform administrative and organisational duties themselves’.