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Typical Teacher Works 54 Hours per Week

Teacher calling on student in active classroom

Editor's note: A recent Gallup survey found principals are working, on average, 62 hours a week while teachers are working, on average, 55 hours a week.

The results of a recent national teacher survey showing a typical teacher works a median of 54 hours a week may serve as a reference for determining teachers’ family and medical leave (FML) eligibility and number of hours of intermittent leave.

The first annual Merrimack College Teacher Survey, conducted in 2022, reports that the typical teacher works 54 hours per week. Estimates of teachers’ total work week were calculated by the amount of time teachers reporting spent on 11 different types of tasks: actual teaching time, planning or preparation, teamwork and planning with colleagues, grading and feedback on student work, general administrative work, non-teaching student interaction, school committee work, professional development activities, communication with parents or guardians, non-curricular activities (such as sports, clubs, after school events), and other work tasks.

Determining FML Eligibility

For exempt employees, the employer must consider all hours worked beyond the regular schedule when determining if the individual meets the 1,250 hours eligibility requirement. The burden for showing an employee didn’t work the required hours belongs to the employer. When accurate time records aren’t available, the employer can’t limit the calculations to hours scheduled but must consider all hours worked beyond the regular schedule.

For teachers, districts must consider work performed outside the classroom and at home (i.e., preparation time and time spent reviewing homework and tests). Districts may consider using the results of the 2022 teacher survey as a standard for calculating teachers’ hours worked.

Calculating Intermittent Leave Allotment

All hours normally worked must be considered when calculating the amount of leave available and used for intermittent leave. The 54-hour standard also may be used for teachers since accurate time records aren’t kept. For other exempt employees the district may work with individual employees to determine the number of hours worked in the preceding 12-month period to establish eligibility and calculate intermittent leave allotment.


Additional information and forms for leaves and administering FML can be searched for in the HR Library (member login required) and in The Administrator’s Guide to Managing Leaves and Absences, which is available for purchase in the TASB Store. Practical application of the FML rules will be addressed in the June 8–9 virtual workshop, Get a Grip on the Family and Medical Leave Act. Registration is now open and can be completed via the TASB event registration page.

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April Mabry
April Mabry
TASB HR Services Assistant Director

April Mabry oversees HR Services training services, member library products, and the HRX newsletter. She has provided HR training and guidance to Texas public schools  since 1991. Mabry was a classroom teacher for 11 years in Texas and Michigan.

Mabry has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and certification as a professional in human resources (PHR) and is a SHRM-CP.

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