This news article from news.com.au quotes Kathy Margolis :

Despite all the time they put in, teachers are paid for just 25 hours a week, she added, as if they were part time.

  • Is this true?
  • Is it true in all states? (Or just in Queensland where Kathy Margolis worked)
  • I'm going to just consider public schools, since the thousands of private schools no doubt maintain there own employment contracts.
  • "since the thousands of private schools no doubt maintain there own employment contracts." Actually it might not be that bad, for example a lot of private schools are catholic and as such have a single employment contract.
    – NPSF3000
    Feb 7, 2016 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


In Australia, teachers (like many workers in unionised occupations) are paid in accordance to an "industrial award". The awards are determined by state.

To support that with an example, the Queensland government says:

Teaching salaries in the [Department of Education and Training] are based on the current awards and agreements.


It is over-simplifying a little, but yes, for Queensland where Kathy Margolis was based, the claim is true.

The Teacher's Award for the state of Queensland explains:

6.1 Hours of duty - classroom teachers

6.1.1 What is the rostered duty time of a teacher?

(a) The rostered duty time of a teacher will be 25 hours per week.

(b) Rostered duty time will be continuous except for the meal break.

Rostered duty time includes "face to face teaching and associated professional duties" and "preparation and correction time" (See Section 6.2), and some short breaks (See Section 6.1.3)

However, there are other sorts of teachers included in the award, such as "instrumental music instructors", "education officer special duties", and "teachers in centres for continuing secondary education/secondary colleges" that have different rostered duty times.

Western Australia

The Western Australia Department of Education has the Teachers (Public Sector Primary and Secondary Education) Award 1993

Section 13 (4) says

Effective from the commencement of the 2011 school year, the maximum number of hours of face to face teaching is as follows:

(a) Secondary – 21 hours and 20 minutes per week

(b) Primary – 21 hours and 50 minutes per week

(c) Pre-Primary – 21 hours and 20 minutes per week

In Section 14 (2) (b) it adds non-face-to-face time:

Effective from the commencement of the 2011 school year and in addition to face to face teaching hours, the following periods of time (exclusive of recess and lunchtime) are provided to teachers:

(i) Secondary – 320 minutes per week

(ii) Primary – 240 minutes per week

(iii) Pre-Primary – 320 minutes per week

New South Wales

The NSW Department of Education has the Crown Employees (Teachers in Schools and Related Employeers) Salaries and Conditions Award 2014

However, there isn't a simple count of the number of hours in this document - it is based on 28 x 40 minute teaching periods per week in high schools, plus additional alternate periods, and non-teaching time. I am loathe to do original research to compute the hours; there is a lot of complexity here.

  • For western australia the equiv doc is forms.wairc.wa.gov.au/awards/TEA007/p21/TEA007.pdf Which seems to me to be for primary teachers at least 21:50 hours plus 3:30hours DOTT. Which is 25:30 hours. Its a few more hours for secondary. Feb 5, 2016 at 10:20
  • @NPSF3000: JanDoggen has since deleted that comment, presumably because I had edited it to address Jan's concern. I do not understand your point; what other definition of what they are paid for could there be?
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 7, 2016 at 14:47
  • 2
    @Oddthinking to claim that teachers are only paid for 25 hours a week one must show that they are not paid for anything else. For example, the very fact that teachers are paid during holidays would indicate this is false. Looking at the award the terminology is 'Per Fortnight' e.g. on page 34/35, not per hour as claimed.
    – NPSF3000
    Feb 7, 2016 at 15:20
  • @Oddthinking or to put it another way, if the claim was true and teachers were only paid for 25 hours... then what should their real salary be? Should we suppose a freshly graduated teacher should be paid for a full 40 hours worked? Roughly $150,000/annum!
    – NPSF3000
    Feb 7, 2016 at 15:26

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