Workload distribution and management instruction


This instruction has been developed to ensure that workloads are realistic, reasonable, transparent and manageable.

Performance reviews are an associated process designed to ensure alignment of work outcomes with workplace planning and wider University objectives, which must be based on a reasonable allocation of work to staff.


Continuing and fixed term academic and professional staff


  • Vocational Education teaching staff
  • Executive staff
  • Child care staff
  • Casual staff

Instructions steps and actions

Principles for workload allocation

  • Workloads will be realistic, reasonable, transparent and manageable.
  • Full time workloads can be achieved in the equivalent of a 36-hour week over 46 weeks a year (52 weeks of the year, less authorised leave and University holidays). This amounts to 1656 hours.
  • Staff will not be required to work excessive or unreasonable hours.
  • Work allocation for a staff member will be determined by the supervisor in consultation with the staff member in accordance with the provisions of this clause.
  • Staff and managers must participate in a professional and cooperative way in the workloads allocation and workplanning processes.
  • For Professional Staff, hours of work are subject to the provisions of clause 63 of the Academic and Professional Staff Enterprise Agreement 2014.
  • Staff are able to raise and have properly considered legitimate issues relating to their work allocation.

Workload allocation review (academic and professional staff)

The principles and processes for the allocation of workloads will be subject to periodic review, subject to the same staff consultative mechanisms for workload allocation.

The workload allocation model and/or processes will be subject to annual review by a College, Portfolio (or equivalent) Workloads Allocation Committee.

Workload appeals (academic and professional staff)

The standard process for a staff member to raise an appeal regarding their workload is as follows.

Where staff are concerned that there is inconsistency between the principles outlined above and their individual workload or the relevant workload allocation model, they may pursue this concern either individually or through their representative, by:

1) raising the issue with the relevant manager.

2) where the issue remains unresolved, referring concerns to the relevant Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor.

3) where the issue remains unresolved, referring the matter to the Agreement Implementation Monitoring Committee (AIMC) for recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor or nominee for decision.

4) where the staff member is unsatisfied with the resolution reached by the processes referred to above the staff member may refer the matter to the Fair Work Commission for resolution.

The process is sequential and is to be undertaken in a timely manner in the interests of effective resolution. Steps 1) to 3) of the process should normally be completed within a timeframe of six weeks from when the issue is formally raised with the relevant manager under this process. Where the process is in action, all parties will not take action to exacerbate the issues under consideration. On notification of the appeal, the Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor may take immediate action to avoid exacerbation of the issue.

Should there be a valid reason for the above process to be altered the relevant staff member is to make a submission outlining their reasons to the Executive Director, Human Resources. Once received the Executive Director, Human Resources will consider the reasons outlined and provide a response in writing to the relevant staff member normally within four weeks of the submission being received.

It is expected that staff will raise their concern with the relevant manager in the first instance.

Should the issue remain unresolved the staff member may refer their concern, individually or through the NTEU, to the relevant Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor.

The staff member concerned will be notified in writing of any decision following consideration of their concerns.

Staff may not refer their matter directly to the AIMC prior to consideration of the issue by the relevant manager, Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Matters referred to the AIMC should be in writing and include:

a) the original concerns as raised with the relevant manager, Executive Director or Pro Vice-Chancellor;

b) the written responses provided to the staff member;

c) a copy of the staff member’s workplan; and

d) a copy of the School’s workload model.

The AIMC may call an extraordinary meeting with a minimum quorum of the Chair of the AIMC, one AIMC member who is an NTEU nominee and one AIMC member who is a nominee of the Vice-Chancellor.

The AIMC may choose to seek further information as required to determine if there is any inconsistency between the principles for workload allocation and the local workload allocation model or its application to the staff member’s workplan.

The AIMC will notify the staff member concerned in writing of any decision of the Vice-Chancellor or nominee.

Staff may not refer the matter to the Fair Work Commission until the process detailed at points 1) - 3) is exhausted.

Factors to be considered in establishing individual workplans

The annualised workplan for each staff member will take into account the following:

(a) The work plan of the employee’s work unit, and reasonable expectations of the employee’s contribution to that plan.

(b) The identification of professional developmental needs which may be required to assist in the employee’s individual contribution to the work group’s performance plan, and which facilitates the employee’s career development consistent with the needs of the employee’s work group and/or the University.

(c) The employee’s position classification standard and/or position description.

(d) The working hours specified in this agreement.

(e) The employee’s leave plans.

(f) The University's commitment to providing opportunities for staff to work in a family friendly environment and balance work-life commitments.

(g) Any responsibilities undertaken by the employee and sanctioned by the University such as duties associated with an elected representative role eg. on College or University-wide committees or approved volunteer activities eg. First Aid Officer, Health and Safety Representative or Fire Warden.

(h) For academic staff, the Academic Workload Model.

Academic Workload Models

Relevant managers in consultation with staff will ensure that each particular school or discipline area has a published Academic Workload Model reflecting the requirements of this clause.

The academic employee’s workload will be established in accordance with the appropriate Academic Workload Model.

The Academic Workload Model will require supervisors to:

(a) ensure that academic staff members have sufficient and reasonable time to perform their allocated activities, whether in:

    i. Teaching and teaching related activities;

    ii. Research, scholarship and professional activities; and

    iii. Leadership and administration.

The Academic Workload Model will:

(a) be clear and transparent.

(b) be based on a fair estimate of the required time to perform teaching and teaching related tasks at a professional standard.

(c) address the following teaching-related elements where relevant:

    i. preparation of teaching materials for face-to-face, online and other modes of delivery;

    ii. unit and course development, including online, off-campus and offshore learning materials;

    iii. Delivery of lectures, tutorials, lectorials and studio sessions in face-to-face, online and other modes;

    iv. Delivery of laboratory classes, practicums, studio, performance and clinical sessions;

    v. Community-based teaching;

    vi. Supervision of honours and post-graduate projects;

    vii. Supervision of undergraduate coursework projects;

    viii. Preparing, marking, moderation of student assessment, including the preparation of marking schemes, marking guides or rubrics;

    ix. Student consultation related to learning by whatever mode;

    x. Course and program coordination and administration, including active participation in Course Assessment Committees, Course Management Teams and Program Assessment Boards, as required;

    xi. Program and course development, student placements, field work and educational study tours;

    xii. Professional development activities relevant to teaching;

    xiii. Any other duties which manifestly constitute teaching or teaching-related activities.

(d) enables the allocation of teaching and teaching-related duties such that the academic employee’s research targets specified in their approved workplan can be achieved in the hours of work specified at clause 16.1.2. The individual’s research targets will be informed by factors including but not limited to:

    i. the academic employee’s previous three years research output.

    ii. the need for early career academic staff to establish an appropriate research record.

Academic Expectations and Development version 2, 8 March 2013 or any replacement will be used to guide workplanning discussions. No expectations in this or other similar documents will be used as default targets imposed without discussion. Supervisors are expected to exercise judgement about individual research expectations and to take experience and discipline-specific differences into account when discussing annual targets and professional development requirements.

The model should be reviewed annually. The annual review should consider any new activities or directions for the School and College and how these could impact workload management. The review will be overseen by the School AWM Committee.

Academic Workload Model (AWM) Committee

The Dean/HOS of School should establish the AWM Committee and make clear any reporting requirements.

Membership and chair of the AWM Committee will be determined by the Dean/HOS who will ensure that ‘relevant academic managers and elected staff representatives’ are included.

There is no prescribed formula for number of members but it is expected that the AWM Committee would consist of 6-8 people and will include at least two ‘elected staff representatives’ across academic levels. Remaining membership will be selected by the Dean/HOS and will usually include managers such as the School executive and the Manager Planning and Resources.

The election process for the staff representatives is not prescribed in the Agreement. The Dean/HOS should arrange for a fair and sensible process of election. While this election is not a statutory election, the Elections Regulations under RMIT policy may provide guidance.

The Chair of the AWM Committee, in consultation with committee members, will determine frequency of meetings and program of activities.

Factors to be considered in establishing academic workplans

Research, Scholarship and Professional activity

  • Academic staff members will normally have a minimum of 30% of their workload each year in which to undertake a combination of research, scholarship and professional activities resulting in outcomes that are specified in their approved workplan. This is equivalent to 14 weeks a year for a full-time workload.
  • An academic staff member who is enrolled for a research higher degree in a field associated with their work will be allocated, within their workplan, a proportion of time to undertake such studies, provided that their research higher degree supervisor certifies that adequate progress has been made.

Teaching and teaching related activities

  • Academic staff members will normally not be required to:

a) teach in more than 24 weeks over a 12-month period, unless either

    i. it is agreed by the staff member or

    ii. it has been directed by the manager in the case where the staff member did not substantially achieve the outcomes agreed in their previous year's workplan.

b) teach more than four consecutive hours without a break.

  • Academic staff members will not be required to:

a) coordinate more than three courses per semester.

b) commence teaching within ten hours of the conclusion of a teaching session, or other directed duties, conducted on the previous day.

  • The class size for tutorials, seminars and laboratory groups will be reasonable taking into account such factors as the nature of the activity, safety requirements, and availability of teaching facilities.
  • Level A academic staff will not have sole responsibility for the design and delivery of courses.

Academic workload roles and responsibilities



Pro Vice-Chancellor

  • Approves the College level Academic Workload Principles
  • Approves each School AWM
  • Escalation point in workload disputes

Head of School/Dean

  • Creates an AWM Committee and appoints chair
  • Ensures School has a published AWM (and related processes)
  • Ensures the AWM supports college principles
  • Involvement in workload disputes

AWM Committee

  • ‘Oversees the timely development’ of the AWM


  • ‘Determines’ (or approves) a manageable workload in consultation with staff member
  • Ensures an annual workplan is utilsed
  • Ensures annual workplan is ‘established in accordance with’ and ‘takes into account’ the AWM
  • First point in workload disputes

Human Resources

  • Advises management and AWM Committee members regarding policy and agreement interpretation and good practice
  • Provides or coordinates related training tailored for the School regarding workloads, workplanning and performance reviews

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