Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Faculty of Arts Casual Marking Pay (Take 2)

Today the issue of pay for marking in the Faculty of Arts came to the attention of the PSA again. Since the agreement to pay casual staff for marking was reached, there has been a great deal of confusion across faculties, admin, and casual staff about how exactly marking is paid. I hope to clarify this somewhat in this post, but will also continue working with the School and Faculty Managers in Arts so that an explanation is put on the Arts website, the process made clearer, and that terminology becomes standardised.
There are essentially three different kinds of marking in which we could be involved:
Marking as part of casual tutoring: These are the assignments you mark for your tutorial students, by virtue of being their tutor. Note that ‘reasonably contemporaneous marking’ is not entitled to additional pay – this would be any marking you do within the context of a tutorial eg: a pop quiz, tutorial presentation etc. For marking which takes up a significant amount of time outside of your tutorials, such as research essays, you’re entitled to be paid for ‘standard marking’. The rate at which you are paid is calculated by the Faculty through this equation:
1 Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (EFTSL) = 8 students.
For every 1 EFTSL you mark, you are paid for 3 hours at the standard marking rate.
This pay is calculated at the end of the semester – the reason for this being the significant fluctuation we experience in student enrolments during the semester. By calculating the marking entitlement at the end of the semester, the Faculty is able to accurately calculate how much we are owed. You should be aware that this takes time to come through – perhaps a month, since the end of semester will also necessarily include marking, submitting final results, waiting for extensions, ect.
External Marking: This is the tricky one, as everyone seems to call it something different. Other popular terms include ‘buy-out marking’ and ‘routine marking’. This is marking that you do outside of duties as a casual tutor. For example, you might not be doing any teaching, but your supervisor might ask you to mark 20 first-year essays if they’re overloaded. This marking should also be paid using the same equation and at the standard rate – but it is paid within the same pay period, not at the end of semester. This is because there is no contract, and no fluctuation in student numbers. It is important that you keep a track of any external marking you do, as opposed to marking as a tutor because of this difference. Make sure that your line manager promptly lodges the casual timesheet with the admin staff, and includes the project grant the money is to come out of, in order to be paid on time.
Exam marking: Is again worked out the same way, using the formula, but is paid at the ‘simple marking rate’.
These three different types of marking could all be conducted by the one person, within one semester. A lack of clarity in communication has proven a serious hurdle for some postgrads in being properly paid. However, all marking pay should go through by the 27th of July.
There are two things I’ve flagged with the Managers:
1.       The equation used to work out the marking amount does not always accurately reflect how much time we have to put in to marking the work of eight students.
2.       The biggest frustration for us as casual staff is the lack of clarity in communication and knowing what we can expect as staff.
They acknowledge that these are ongoing issues, and we will work with them to try and remedy them. The important thing for us to do as postgrads is to continue to communicate with the staff, and let them know if we are experiencing problems – the earlier the better!
Here are some relevant and important documents for you to be aware of – the NTEU Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, the UWA Human Resources Casual Award, and the UniCasual FAQs about marking pay.
My final advice to you is to always make sure you have a clear record of what you’ve agreed to do, and what you actually end up completing. There is some flexibility in the marking equation if it is not equitable for your marking load, so make sure you discuss it with your line manager or unit coordinator before your start teaching or marking.
If I get any new info, I'll update this page!!

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