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Overtime used to soothe stress

Four out of five colleges pay lecturers to work overtime as they increase the total number of hours they are open, a survey by the Association of Colleges shows.

In a handful of cases - about 4 per cent of the colleges surveyed - overtime payments are also paid to management staff. The most common payment for all grades of staff is a flat rate based on salary. Rates at time-and-a-half or double-time are only paid to technicians, manual and clerical staff. But in a minority (4 per cent) of cases, where there are particular shortages of staff, lecturers are paid more than double the rate.

The survey suggests that at least half of all colleges have developed new strategies to cope with stress and other problems arising from work overload. Almost four out of ten, however, appeared not to have any policies for supporting overstretched staff.

The findings emerge from the second national survey, originally started by the Colleges' Employers' Forum before its merger with the Association of Colleges.

It shows also a significant rise in the numbers of staff who have moved onto management grades. More than a fifth of staff are on the management pay spine in one in five colleges. One college responding to the survey said almost a third (30 per cent) of staff were management.

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