German school portal: To what extent can teachers be forced to be present at school after class time??
Thomas Boehm: If teachers are not involved in lessons during general class time, they may be given other school tasks by the school management as far as is reasonable. The personal situation of the teacher and the official task are decisive for reasonableness. It therefore depends on what task the teacher has to perform, with what effort and at what time.
If the teachers are not present in the school, they can be summoned to the school by the school management if the school’s homework requires their presence. A typical situation is unexpected and required surrogate teaching. The basis for the decision is whether the task is necessary and, as in the first case, reasonable for the teacher.
Which commission decides on a possible extension of attendance times for teachers?
The obligation of attendance depends above all on the indications of the school management, taking into account the reference regulations and any congressional decisions. Which body is responsible for this depends on the respective national regulations. A decision by the school congress is unlikely, as the school congress is the highest decision-making body in the school, but it does not regulate matters that primarily concern teachers. The lecturer’s conference is more likely to be an option, as in some countries it makes fundamental decisions about regulating substitutions and would therefore regulate attendance times, even if only partially.
There is no maximum limit for the time of presence of teachers
Should attendance be linked to specific dates, tasks, e.g. conferences, further training, regular team meetings?
Attendance times are also possible without participation in conferences or continuing education, mandatory for all or more teachers. The attendance requirement can also be determined on a case-by-case basis. The principle of equal treatment must be respected.
Is there a time limit for compulsory attendance?
There are no maximum regulatory limits in countries, but individual reasonableness and total working time must be considered. In a case brought before the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia, a school management had obliged all full-time teachers to devote two to three hours of teaching in addition to the mandatory weekly number of hours as on-call duty for replacement cases. in the school building. The Higher Administrative Court held that normal working hours were not exceeded and that therefore there was no overtime due to the times of availability. Incidentally, it was imperative for the court that teachers could also prepare lessons or perform other official duties in the school building during this waiting period.
Participation times must be reasonable in individual cases
Is there a time window within which the hours of presence must fall, for example between 8:00 and 18:00??
If it is not a question of attending conferences, specialization courses or similar compulsory events, the additional attendance times must at least fall within the school’s teaching hours, which can start and end differently depending on the school. The time of attendance can be before 8:00, for example, if the lesson starts at 7:30, or it can also be after 18:00 in the case of an evening school. Outside the general teaching time, that is the teaching time of the vast majority of students, the necessity and reasonableness of the attendance times must be checked with particular attention.
If school attendance is compulsory, teachers have the right to their own workplace or adequate equipment?
Attendance times that go beyond teaching hours and other mandatory official duties at the school are always decisions on a case-by-case basis. A right to a separate workplace and equipment that corresponds to the workplace ordinance would exist only if all teachers in a school were subject to the obligation to attend during their working hours.
There may be mandatory attendance times even during school holidays
And the school holidays?? To what extent and to what extent can school management oblige teachers to be in school at set times during this period??
Teachers may also be required to be present at the school at set times during holiday periods. However, they must be able to take advantage of the full amount of leave provided during the holiday periods, there must be a need for work and the principle of equal treatment must be respected. For example, in many countries there is a regulation requiring conferences and reviews to take place in the last week of the summer holidays.
Could there be legitimate reasons why teachers do not meet an attendance requirement?? During the corona pandemic, for example, teachers with an increased health risk were exempted from face-to-face teaching.
While there may be legitimate reasons, these do not allow teachers to simply fail to comply with the attendance requirement. Teachers must submit an application for exemption from the obligation to attend. If this application is rejected, the affected persons can take legal action against this refusal by convening the staff council.