South West NASUWT

Work/Life Balance

Work/Life Balance

According to ACAS the following sums up the importance of a work-life balance.

In today’s society it is common for employees to have many competing responsibilities in their life. Examples of responsibilities away from work might include:

  • care commitments involving children or elderly relatives
  • education commitments that limit availability at times of the week/month/year 
  • duties and/or interests outside of work
  • needing to be available for religious observances
  • people wanting a greater sense of well being and reduced stress levels.

A poor balance between an employee’s work commitments and their other responsibilities can lead to stress, high absence and low productivity.

Employees who have a better work-life balance often have a greater sense of responsibility, ownership and control of their working life. If an employer helps an employee to balance their work and home life this can be rewarded by increased loyalty and commitment. They may also feel more able to focus on their work and to develop their career. 

School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD 2016)

All teachers and headteachers are entitled to enjoy a satisfactory balance between the demands of their professional duties and their personal interests outside work. This is a contractual entitlement contained within the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document for those in England and Wales. A Headteacher must

47.13. Lead and manage the staff with a proper regard for their well-being and legitimate expectations, including the expectation of a healthy balance between work and other commitments.

Work/life balance is specifically provided for in the conditions of service for all teachers and headteachers in maintained schools set out in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.

The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document requires that:

  • additional hours over and above the annual 1,265 must be reasonable;
  • for those teachers not covered by the 1,265 limit on directed time, overall hours must be reasonable;
  • headteachers must have regard to the desirability of all teachers being able to achieve a satisfactory work/life balance;

These provisions are not simply recommendations: they are contractual.

53.4. Governing bodies and headteachers, in carrying out their duties, must have regard to the need for the headteacher and teachers at the school to be able to achieve a satisfactory balance between the time required to discharge their professional duties including, in particular, in the case of teachers to whom paragraphs 52.2- 52.12 apply, their duties under paragraph 52.7, and the time required to pursue their personal interests outside work. In having regard to this, governing bodies and headteachers should ensure that they adhere to the working limits set out in the Working Time Regulations 1998(20).

The Working Time Regulations 1998

The Working Time Regulations 1998 set limits on working time.

Health & Safety Regulations

All employers have legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to ensure the health safety and welfare at work of their employees. This includes minimising the risk of stress-related illness or injury to employees. (Health and Safety Executive)

The following links may provide further useful information:

National Action Short of Strike Action Phase 5 – May 2015 – Instructions

Work Related Stress – Health & Safety Executive

NASUWT Model Well Being Policy

  • Attendance and Absence Management Policy;
  • Stress Management Policy;
  • Health and Safety Policy;
  • Equality of Opportunity Policy;
  • Anti-Bullying Policy/Procedure;
  • Harassment Procedure;
  • Grievance Procedure;
  • Whistleblowing Procedure.

Mental Health           

All teachers should have an entitlement to mental health training, professional counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy when suffering work-related mental ill health. Please see links below for details of NASUWT courses.

Well Being survey     Members of the NASUWT are able to self-assess their wellbeing at work using the Union’s online Wellbeing at Work facility. Log-in required.

The PDF report will:

(i) identify areas of common concern;

(ii) provide an anonymous evidence base of members views to present to school leaders.

Fit for Work  Guidance

Sickness absence  ACAS Guidance


Dignity at Work Under the Dignity at Work Act 2013 :

An employer commits a breach of the right to dignity at work of an employee if that employee suffers during his employment with the employer harassment or bullying or any act, omission or conduct which causes him to be alarmed or distressed including but not limited to any of the following-

(a) behaviour on more than one occasion which is offensive, abusive, malicious, Insulting or intimidating;

(b) unjustified criticism on more than one occasion;

(c) punishment imposed without reasonable justification, or

(d) changes in the duties or responsibilities of the employee to the employee’s detriment without reasonable justification

Bullying in the Work Place Bullying or Harassment may be in breach of a number of pieces of legislation, including:
Equality Act 2010
Employment Rights Act 1996
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Protection for whistleblowers under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1986
Protection from Harassment Act 1997
Malicious Communications Act 1988
The Defamation Acts 1952 and 1996

See Bullying and Harassment at Work – ACAS

Advice for Individuals – HSE