Anyone working as lecturer on 0.8FTE?

(28 Posts)
dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 15:11:13


I am a lecturer at a UK university. Am currently full-time. 2 children - due to return from mat leave in July,.
Due to childcare issues and general stress levels, I'd like to cut my hours. Unfortunately, anything less than 0.8FTE is not really financially viable, but my line manager told me that, if my work hours went down by just a day, I'd probably just loose my research day and see little other relief on admin and teaching.
Have any of you guys reduced your work hours by a day? If so, how did your workload reduce / how was this negotiated?

OP’s posts: |
mumofblue Tue 28-Mar-17 15:21:14

Also a lecturer at a UK uni. I reduced to 4 days a week for a year when I returned from mat leave. This was proposed as a "flexible" 1 year arrangement which could become permanent if I wanted. However, I did not find it feasible at all. Exactly as you mention, I lost research time and had to focus on teaching/admin/pastoral roles (as seems to be the way........) - however, there were greater institutional issues around flexibility and workload - your dept might handle things better (I've now left that dept). Depends on your research - if you are able to do bits away from the office, perhaps it will work, my lab based research was not something I could do from the kitchen table! If you are a likely REF returner then you could use that as bargaining to keep your research time protected. Good luck!

dinobum Tue 28-Mar-17 16:58:02

Same as the other posters, tried to go .8 but just got told they'd cut my research day, so instead I got very bolshy with the timetabling department and insisted all my teaching was on 1-2 days to give me some more time to do research over the week and then unofficially compressed my time into 4 days. I then work evenings and weekends to catch up on the day I'm not in.

ImperialBlether Tue 28-Mar-17 17:02:13

I was in FE, not HE, but I went to .8 and was put at the top end of the teaching provision where my friends who were full time were put at the bottom end. There was one hour's difference. Be very careful what you agree to.

user7214743615 Tue 28-Mar-17 17:38:34

I would never do 0.8. I agree that you just lose research time in practice.

It is also astonishing to me that so many women work officially part-time (while in reality working more than their hours) and so many men declare themselves full-time but disappear at 3 most of the time to collect children from school.

TooDamnSarky Tue 28-Mar-17 17:41:02

I was 0.8.
Then when I requested to go back to FT my HoD said there was no need to adjust my teaching/admin as I already had a FT load. Says it all really.

GriceBaby Tue 28-Mar-17 18:01:52

You should request a flexible working agreement/working from home for 1/2 days a week/consolidation of teaching - it really helps with managing stress. I agree, 0.8 doesn't work.

pickachuselectricattack Tue 28-Mar-17 18:04:48

Just to add my voice to those that say 0.8 doesn't work. A colleague tried it and when I attempted go after mat leave, my manager supported me to compress teaching and work from home more to enable me to do some school pick ups. I do work in the evening but see a lot more of DD.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Tue 28-Mar-17 18:59:42

I also have a friend who did .8 in another similar type of post and ended up going full time and working compressed hours, going home early on Fri.

I would never drop to 0.8, for the reasons everyone states. We had a male professor at work who used to go sailing once a week. Did he go to 0.8 to accomodate this, did he heck!

I hear your worry about stress though- I think 0.8 is just as stressful as f/t especially if you lose traction in research and end up being overloaded by teaching/crappy admin roles. I would keep f/t but cut yourself some slack or work one day on weekend and take Fri off (unofficially unless you need to be there).

I work in a totally unsupervised in any capacity environment, though, we manage our own time and so if it is a little unorthodox or compressed, it's fine. In other situations, it may be more difficult.

dodi1978 Tue 28-Mar-17 19:35:55

Thanks everyone. You confirmed what I suspected! I really don't want to end up loosing money for the same amount of work.
I will apply for flexible working, but all I can get under that is no teaching before 10 and no teaching after 4 - which will still make pick ups difficult in a childcare free village (I have another post on this currently running...). Plus I'll be working every evening I suspect, leaving no time for any relaxation / exercise etc.
Oh well, the holidays are better than in most jobs...

OP’s posts: |
Foureyesarebetterthantwo Tue 28-Mar-17 20:33:34

I have done quite cheeky things like returned my timetable if it is spread out over too many days asking them to compress them a bit, this isn't 'allowed' but it's always happened when I asked.

It is difficult though, I had to resign myself to not being too productive, and not being too competitive about not being too productive during those early child rearing years, they do pass and your opportunities to do more come around again, it's just a question of hanging on in there really IMO.

I don't think of holidays as 'good' because I tend to work them (e.g. work half time all summer to cover childcare) now the children are a bit older and can read/go on the tablet/go out with friends.

dimples76 Tue 28-Mar-17 20:35:07

I'm on a 0.8 contract. I actually have more teaching now than when I was FT!

That said I am still glad I changed my contract and I have got better at saying no to other things. I have also agreed wah one day a week which makes life is a lot easier for me as I am a single parent. My commute to work including nursery drop off takes about an hour and a quarter - only doing that three days a week takes quite a lot of strain off me.

Resentment about colleagues who are employed full time who have easier workloads is hard though!

user7214743615 Tue 28-Mar-17 21:48:49

The holidays are good?

You don't work on research through all breaks from teaching? I'm quite surprised that anyone who is research active can slow down much in the breaks. It wouldn't be possible in my area - we work harder in the teaching breaks if anything.

dodi1978 Wed 29-Mar-17 11:32:55

Just to clarify - the annual leave is better than in most other jobs (I have 30 days + closure days, adding up to about 40). No, I don't work in that time, but I do of course work in lecture-free time that is not annual leave!

OP’s posts: |
mumofblue Wed 29-Mar-17 14:40:53

Oh dear - the consensus is not great.... I would agree with other posters to try and get one day at home if you can. I am now FT, work every day but condense as much as I can into Mon - Thur and work from home 9.30-3.00 on a Friday as often as possible. Just makes things a bit more manageable.

dinobum Wed 29-Mar-17 17:49:21

I've been told by senior female colleagues not to let on to anyone that I compress my hours and take one day as childcare. They all do it and have just said it's like an unwritten rule - don't mention it, just do it, and if anyone questions why you're not on email or something then say you were writing/on field work.

dodi1978 Wed 29-Mar-17 21:23:47

Some interesting insights here! The only flexible working my institution officially allows is no teaching before 10 am and after 4pm, but you can - officially - only apply for one of these periods. So - you can either have no teaching before 10 OR no teaching after 4, but not both. My HoD has advised me to apply for both periods nonetheless and he'd try to fight for it.

I know I need to be a bit smarter with regards to my hours. I wouldn't be able to take one day completely as childcare - I just wouldn't be able to do all my work that way (my career is stalling as it is). But I will try to avoid the situation from last year when I was working almost every evening. I'd rather do one or two really long days (i.e. working in the evening) and then have other evenings off.

I also need to be better about saying no. Other colleagues are quite ruthless about it!

Thanks for all your insights. Lots to think about!

OP’s posts: |
worstofbothworlds Wed 17-May-17 13:15:08

I went back after mat leave to 0.6 and had a pretty good reduction in teaching - we see everyone else's workload and I know my admin job was smaller than everyone else's too. Now I'm on 0.8 (4 days a week).

Your HoD sounds good, mine has been cr*p (old one - new one is much better) and I had a lot of support from my union to allow no teaching after 5 (as nursery shuts at 5.30...)

I am ruthless though! I have my working days on my outgoing email signature and I tell all my students not to expect replies on my non-working days. They are much better than colleagues! Internal colleagues aren't too bad but external - especially overseas - colleagues cannot comprehend AT ALL. It doesn't help that I have a good number of collaborators who either have much older children or who live in countries where there is hot and cold running childcare.

I work evenings if I have something easy (marking etc.) or urgent (haven't quite finished something at 5.10 when I have to pick up DCs). I can't work weekends unless I'm away from home as the DCs are small and just relentless.

I posted on here about school aged DCs and part time working - I really don't want my DCs to be in after school care every single day all the time - for a start they won't get to do any activities. There was someone else who replied who worked till 2pm 2 or 3 days a week which I may think about when both my DCs are in school. DH currently also works 0.8 and I think my department would agree as long as I could occasionally swap school pickups with DH.

Before DC1 started school I was struggling with flexibility as I had no childcare, ever, on my day(s) off because the campus nursery never offers extra days. My dept weren't happy with that but it's a bit easier now because a) DC1 is mainly in school on my day off and b) DH can occasionally swap days off - so DC2 doesn't have to go in for extra days either.

I was reasonably senior when we had the DCs and I have also started caring a lot less... resting on my laurels and have no major desire to be promoted very soon, and making the most of my advisory role on people's projects to seem important while doing not THAT much on any given project (e.g. have just applied for some funding which will almost all be undertaken overseas so if we get it, I'll waft in to see them a few times a year but carry on working 0.8 here).

Yogafire Wed 17-May-17 13:36:08

A colleague has recently gone .6 after mat leave and their teaching and admin has been reduced accordingly, and targets pro-data-ed. But it hasn't always been like this. I think it depends a lot of your HoD and dpt.

irregularegular Wed 17-May-17 13:43:32

I used to do 0.6.

My teaching was reduced proportionately. Admin/meetings etc weren't officially reduced, but I said no to more things. I let it be known when my working/childcare days were and if something was scheduled on another day then I wouldn't be there, except in really exceptional cases. I once took my two very small children with me to an examiners' meeting when it wasn't on a working day.

I also had my tenure clock extended to the full time equivalent, so it did buy me quite a lot of extra time.

It kind of worked, though possibly the tenure clock was the main advantage. Otherwise I might have been better off continuing to work full time and just being a bit lazy/ruthless. But at least this way I felt honest and it was all fairly clear cut.

bigkidsdidit Fri 19-May-17 11:03:36

Worst that was me who works until 2pm three days a week. It works brilliantly for me BUT I am research only, and I see my PhD student in the morning etc. Plus I have external funding.

Having said that, at my recent appraisal they were trying to make me go full time and just leave when I wanted (after I tracked my hours and showed I work more than full time usually). I haven't so far because I feel bad and I like having a reason to decline meetings. But men decline with no reason (or fucks) given so I am thinking about it

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 23-May-17 09:59:16

God I've just gone down to 0.8 from next term as I can't cope with ft. I'm now wondering whether it was a good idea. I'm on reduced teaching anyway for various reasons and intend to work from home surreptitiously as much as possible. I was discouraged from dropping down but my mental health was really suffering, I was working until 3.30 collecting the kids, seeing to them until 8.30pm and then working until midnight. I'm planning to be very ruthless and stick to my hours as much as I can. Luckily I have good colleagues.

LuchiMangsho Tue 23-May-17 10:07:41

I did 0.8. Didn't work. Now I cram teaching into two days. My Department administrator who does the timetabling sorts it out so I don't have to go through this flexible working thing which even she admits is a pain. One of those days is when we have meetings so I am never commuting for more than 2 days. I have childcare over 4 days and so the fifth day I take off (but older kid is in school anyway) so with the baby I get admin stuff done and then use the evening for teaching prep. So 1 research day, 2 teaching days, 1 more research day (although I stop at 2ish) and 1 admin/everything else day. I have 3 PHD students as well so have to schedule meetings etc within this. It's not perfect but it works. One of the days I teach is LONG- 10-6 but I have done it for years now so I am used to it.

OldLagNewName Tue 23-May-17 21:32:31

Just to add a contrary experience - I work 0.8, have done for 4 years (was 0.6 for 4 years before that) and it works really well. I don't work on my day off and I've got promoted in that time and taken on a leadership role. I think the things that have made it work for me have been a) supportive line managers and quite a supportive work culture b) relatively transparent workloads c) my own skills in limiting the job to my paid hours (which I had before being PT - I never worked evenings or w/e when I was FT). Obviously my career hasn't gone stellar, and probably never will - I scrape into the REF by the skin of my teeth each time - but that's as much about my attitude to the job as about being PT.

I don't think it's acceptable for your line manager to say that your research time would go - I get that they were probably trying to be realistic, but surely their job is to help you argue for a proportionate reduction in your teaching and admin as well as your research time? That sounds really discouraging (but then, if they're not behind you, it's probably not going to work anyway sad

iveburntthetoast Thu 25-May-17 16:35:44

@luchi how do you manage almost 2 research day's a week? Is that during semesters? Technically, is we get 1 research day during teaching weeks, but it always gets swallowed up after week 3 or 4. I know my colleagues find this, too. I do my best to be strict, but teaching and admin just swallow up my time.

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