March 4, 2020
Hours of Work and Travel, School Closures and Redundancy
NLTA Programs and Services staff have received a number of inquiries recently regarding contractual rights and expectations for itinerant teachers. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a reminder/refresher of the details of a 2016 Memorandum of Understanding and Settlement (MOU) that was reached in resolution of a policy grievance filed by the Association on these issues with the NLESD. This MOU settles and clarifies the issues pertaining to required hours of attendance for work and travel, school closures due to inclement weather or other such reasons, and the appropriate process in the event that an itinerant teacher is declared redundant. This information was previously communicated to affected members in March 2016.
WHO DOES THE MOU APPLY TO?
The MOU is applicable to itinerant teachers who are assigned to:
- the NLESD District Headquarters or a Regional Office; or
- a NLESD satellite office, as defined in the MOU.
The MOU does NOT apply to school-based teachers who are assigned to work in more than one school – for example, a music teacher or guidance counsellor whose time is split between two or more schools and who is assigned as a member of the staff at a school(s).
WHAT IS A SATELLITE OFFICE?
A Satellite Office is an office site from which an itinerant teacher is based that is physically located in any location other than District Headquarters or a Regional Office.
An itinerant teacher whose office is physically located in a school building is deemed to be assigned to a Satellite Office if:
- The itinerant teacher reports directly to, and is supervised by, District office (Headquarters or Regional) based personnel;
- The itinerant teacher is not an assigned member of the staff of the school in which their office is physically located or any other school;
- The itinerant teacher does not avail of secretarial or other support services assigned to the school in which their office is physically located or any other school; and
- The itinerant teacher is not assigned any administrative responsibilities, supervision duties or other non-curricular duties at any school.
WHAT ARE THE HOURS OF WORK FOR ITINERANT TEACHERS COVERED BY THE MOU?
The scheduled hours of work on a particular day, or part thereof, depend on whether the itinerant teacher is scheduled to deliver programs and services in a school OR is scheduled to be working in/from their office.
On days when an itinerant teacher is scheduled to deliver programs and services at a school, their scheduled hours of work shall be equivalent to the established workday for teachers in the school(s) where the itinerant teacher is delivering programs and services on that day (or part thereof.)
On days when an itinerant teacher is scheduled to work at their office, their scheduled hours of work are the same as those in place for District offices – generally, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, or relevant part thereof.
WHAT ARE THE HOURS OF WORK FOR TRAVEL PURPOSES FOR ITINERANT TEACHERS COVERED BY THE MOU?
When an itinerant teacher is scheduled to provide programs and services in a school(s) that is located more than one hour (in terms of normal driving distance) from their office, the teacher shall not be required to travel for more than one hour before the beginning and/or after the end of their workday (in addition to the established workday for teachers at the school(s) in question). In this regard, overnight accommodations may be necessary, in some instances.
DO ITINERANT TEACHERS REPORT TO WORK IF SCHOOL IS CLOSED FOR WEATHER OR OTHER SUCH REASONS?
The answer to this question depends on where the itinerant teacher is scheduled to be working on the day of a school closure. If that location (school or office) is open, they report to work at that location as long as the normal routes of transportation have not been declared impassable by the appropriate authorities. If the location where the itinerant teacher is scheduled to work on that day is closed, the teacher is not required to report to work at any location, and is entitled to be paid pursuant to the Schools Act.
It is important to note that District offices do not always close when schools in the same community/area do. As well, the District may decide to keep a Satellite Office open even if the school in the same building is closed for weather or similar reasons. If all the following criteria are met, itinerant teachers would be required to be present for work at their office, notwithstanding that a school in the same building is closed:
- The itinerant teacher is scheduled to be working at their office on that particular day;
- The normal routes of transportation have not been declared impassable by the appropriate authorities; and,
- The District ensures all relevant health and safety standards are met, including but not limited to safe access to and egress from the building, adequate heat and lighting, access to water for drinking and washroom facilities and the like.
The District has acknowledged and agreed that a reasonable decision to close a Satellite Office or keep it open will be made after consideration of local road and weather conditions.
WHAT HAPPENS IF AN ITINERANT TEACHER COVERED BY THE MOU IS DECLARED REDUNDANT?
The collective agreements define a “school” as “any school or other place of work to which a teacher has been assigned by the School Board”. Article 9 of the Provincial Collective Agreement (Article 47 of the Labrador West Collective Agreement) applies in cases of redundancy.
If an itinerant teaching position is determined to be redundant at a District, Regional, or Satellite Office, the actual location of the itinerant teacher’s office shall be deemed to be their “school” and the teacher occupying the itinerant position shall be afforded all rights and privileges outlined in Article 9 (Article 47 for Labrador West). As such, a Satellite Office constitutes a separate school for the purposes of Article 9 (Article 47 for Labrador West), notwithstanding that the Satellite Office is located in the same building as another school.
As professionals, the reality for teachers has always been that some planning, preparation and evaluation occurs outside the confines of normal school/office hours. It is because teachers’ professional responsibilities do not really have specific start and end times that they must take extra care in balancing their professional responsibilities with their personal lives. For the purposes of the MOU summarized in this memorandum, the hours of operation of a teacher’s worksite, whether it is a school or a District/Regional/Satellite office, are used only to establish the expectations for when an itinerant teacher should be in attendance in the workplace. It is not a measure of the actual time required to complete a teacher’s assigned work.
Any questions regarding the issues addressed in this memorandum can be addressed to an NLTA Administrative Officer in Programs and Services – firstname.lastname@example.org, 726-3223/1-800-563-3599.