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Making up time off if you're part time

(55 Posts)
mindthegap79 Fri 16-Jan-15 10:28:53

This is a hypothetical AIBU as I've never actually been off sick in years. I was a full time teacher and am going back to work after maternity leave in a few weeks. I'll be going back part time. I just wondered, what are the rules/what's the etiquette for making up days if you're off sick when you're part time? I've always been a workaholic but my priorities have changed since having a dc. If I were off sick or dc was poorly, would you expect me to make up the time if I worked for you? I sort of feel that morally I should, if I could get childcare, although legally I suppose I wouldn't have to. Also, what if something important happens at work on my day off? I'd probably try to get childcare and come in if I could, but do I have to? And what about bank holidays falling on my working day? Should I make the time up? Seems unfair on part time colleagues working different days if I don't!

Argh, sorry for the long post and all the questions. Thanks for any advice.

LIZS Fri 16-Jan-15 10:44:17

Technically pt workers cannot be treated differently to ft. So do check if there is any personal responsibility allowance which would enable you to take an emergency day to cover dc illness and arrange childcare. If ft workers have an entitlement then so should you although that may be prorata according to the contracted hours. A ft worker wouldn't have to make up sick leave so nor should you , although if it is an ongoing issue involving say regular appointments that may be covered specifically under a policy.

Crinkle77 Fri 16-Jan-15 10:47:21

Surely if you are off sick you won't need to make the time back up? Are you going back in to teaching or another profession where you don't get sick pay?

mindthegap79 Fri 16-Jan-15 10:52:27

Back into teaching - I know though that schools can only claim supply costs on their insurance if a teacher is off for a week. I'd still get paid if I was off sick, I'm just wondering if I should offer to work a different day in lieu. Another complication of course is I'd have to pay for nursery regardless. I just don't want to cause problems for my colleagues. Hmmm.

MaybeDoctor Fri 16-Jan-15 10:56:22

No. Definitely don't.

If you are sick on a work day, that should be treated as sick leave. Your HT will have to arrange cover anyway.

However, if by being sick you miss something like parent consultations, then you would have to do those another time.

If you are not working on any particular day, then by definition another teacher will be paid to be teaching your classes. Therefore they can deal with whatever comes up.

You should attend INSET days on a pro-rata basis (so 3 out of 5 if you work 0.6), but are not obliged to attend INSET on days that you do not normally work.

There may be occasional, very important school events on a non-working day that you might want to attend, but ideally your school should allow you to swap working days in order to fall in with those events.

ICantDecideOnAUsername Fri 16-Jan-15 11:04:39

You should check with your HR people but usually if you are off sick on your work day you claim it as sick and that's the end of that. Likewise if you had parenting commitments same thing (although that may be unpaid, depending on your work and generally you should look at all options before not coming into work (e.g. GPs, DP/H etc), especially if you get paid leave.

Re: working days, I do 4 days a week and so do some people in my team (not a teacher so probably more flexible) and we've sometimes swapped non-working days rather than use a days leave if possible or if we want/need to be in on a certain day.

Re: bank holidays, it might be different where you are but at my work if you're pt your public holidays are broken down to hours and then, if the bh falls on a working day (usually Mondays) you deduct the hours you work (e.g. I work longer than normal hours for 4 days so I would deduct my normal hours for that day) but if it falls on a day you don't work then you are in 'credit' on hours as you don't need to use any. HR then take the balance (credit of debit) off our annual leave at the end of the year (which is also done in hours if you are pt). Hope you can follow that...

Thymeout Fri 16-Jan-15 11:16:43

Please don't be soft-hearted on this issue. Others have fought long and hard for decent conditions for part-time workers.

We are the half bricks in the wall, just as valuable in our own way as full-timers. As it is, almost all of us end up doing more than a part-time job because there are the days/evenings at home to mop up the marking/admin overload, even if we are not getting paid for them.

If you take this stance, in an attempt to be considerate to your colleagues, you will be taken advantage of and disadvantage part-time colleagues who are not in a position to follow your example.

At one time, the only afternoon I was in school was a Friday. This school had a policy of no after-school meetings on Fridays. They tried to make me come back to school for meetings on days when I finished at lunch-time. Departmentals, section meetings, full staff meetings, any meeting that involved full-timers. I offered to be available for dept meetings before school and during the lunch hour on days I was working, but no joy. They still kept on talking about 'directed time'. I had to get the NUT in, who quoted an EEC directive, and the matter was swiftly dropped.

cinnamongirl1976 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:22:45

Definitely do not make up the time if you are off sick - you are not obliged to.

I don't know much about teaching specifically but I am a former trade union rep so know a little bit about employment rights etc.

Re: kids being sick - if you are classed as a worker rather than an employee (I'd imagine you are?), you are legally entitled to emergency time off to look after family/dependants. Your employer doesn't have to pay you, although they might do. More info here:

And obviously you can also take annual leave to look after a sick child, which is what I usually do.

If something important happens on one of your days off, don't feel like you have to make up the hours somehow to catch up. I think that is one of the biggest pitfalls of being part-time, and I must admit, I do find myself sometimes checking emails on my days off just to keep in the loop, but technically you shouldn't. That said, I think most part-time people probably do a little bit more than their 'contracted' hours. Your rights will be the same as full-time equivalents, though (pro rata, obviously).

BackforGood Fri 16-Jan-15 11:24:44

No, of course not. If you are sick, then you are sick.

I have done the odd swapped day over the years if they wanted me to come in for a training day, or go on a course which was on one of my non working days, and then swapped and had a 'working day' off instead. (Although 1 HT did offer me the choice of paying me a day's supply instead).

I think the only moral obligation you have is to try to ensure any appointments you have are - where possible - on a non-working day.

MaybeDoctor Fri 16-Jan-15 11:26:07

To echo Thymeout, this is a very important employment right that you are giving up.

What if you were not a parent and had another pt job on the other days? Would you be willing/able to make up time then?

CLJ52 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:26:47

*Re: kids being sick - if you are classed as a worker rather than an employee (I'd imagine you are?), you are legally entitled to emergency time off to look after family/dependants. Your employer doesn't have to pay you, although they might do. More info here:*

This isn't true - you are not allowed emergency time off to look after family. Emergency dependents' leave allows you time off to organise care, not to do the caring yourself - as explained in the link.

cinnamongirl1976 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:32:08

Oops. I meant classed as an employee rather than a worker, sorry. Workers have fewer rights and I am not sure what they are entitled to.

As an employee, you are allowed emergency time off. If you read that info it's all about taking time off.

For more long-term things (eg a planned operation in hospital) you can also get parental leave if you have children under 5. It is unpaid, though.

minipie Fri 16-Jan-15 11:35:00

I work part time with fridays off. I view my fridays as being equivalent to a full time worker's Saturdays and Sundays.

So that means I do not work on a Friday unless there is something very very urgent or there is an unusually high amount of work on. (in my job we are occasionally required to work weekends in these circs).

I certainly do not work on a Friday just because I've been off sick any day mon-thurs.

However I don't take time off just because DD is ill as we have a nanny. if we didn't and I had to take time off then in theory I would use annual leave rather than making up the time another day.

I do try to ensure medical appointments are on my day off but I don't think there is any moral or legal obligation to do so. And I do check emails on my day off but only to check if someone really needs me and to make my days in a bit easier by reducing the catch up needed.

Good luck!

by the way - you may well find you get ill more once your dc is in childcare and bringing home lots of bugs!

cinnamongirl1976 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:35:01

CLJ52 - you might have just been reading and misunderstanding the example in the callout box.

See here:

"As an employee you’re allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.

A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on you for care.

You’re allowed a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, but there’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.


If your child falls ill you could take time off to go to the doctor and make care arrangements. Your employer may then ask you to take annual leave or parental leave if you want to look after your child for longer.

There are no limits on how many times you can take time off for dependants. Your employer may want to talk to you if they think time off is affecting your work."

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 16-Jan-15 11:39:57

Ask yourself "what would a full timer do?" in your place of work and as a general rule, do that. Being part time on a 20 hour contract doesn't necessarily mean you just work 20 hours and if your 35 hour a week colleagues actually work 42 hours (20% more) then you would do well to work a similar proportion of hours (ie 24 hours). So long as you're not all being exploited and worked to death of course!

So what do your full time colleagues do:

If they are sick on Friday do they come in to work on Saturday instead?

If they take time off for the dentist do they make up the time in the evening or at the weekend? And in what manner (eg teaching time, marking, prep etc)?

Do they respond to emails and texts at the weekends or in the evenings?

Having clear boundaries about when you are and are not available is really important. Remember you are a part time employee, not a second class one.

cinnamongirl1976 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:44:01

Remember you are a part time employee, not a second class one.

Well said!

CLJ52 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:51:00

CLJ52 - you might have just been reading and misunderstanding the example in the callout box

Don't think so. You said emergency leave was for "looking after" family. It isn't -it's to organise the looking after not doing it yourself. It's a misconception I see quoted often on these threads.

Most employers might allow a day as emergency, but subsequent days might have to be taken as leave, or part timers could make them up (if they choose to, rather than lose leave entitlement).

Some organisations are more family friendly than others and will allow more than the law. As the OP is a teacher, I'd expect there to be a pretty clear policy on this from her employer.

Flomple Fri 16-Jan-15 11:51:49

no you don't need to make the time up, any more than a FT colleague would be obliged to work at the weekend if ill M-F.

That said, when there was something that needed to be done I have come in at the weekend - but no more hours than I'd have done working FT. My FT colleagues can stay late to meet deadlines sometimes, and I can't stay late so I sometimes do the extra time at weekends instead, as DH can have DC for free. But that is about getting the job done when there's a big deadline, not day to day "making up hours".

I try to arrange dentists and drs on my days off where possible. MyDC have medical appts on my work days and I obviously make up time for these. The bank hols are a funny one in your circs, but surely there is only 1 bank hol a year that is in term time (Mayday) so it's literally just one day a year.

Primaryteach87 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:56:09

Definitely not to the sickness question - that way madness lies.
On the other issue I would expect your contract to state a couple (not 10s, not at a whim) days or events that you are also required to attend. For example parents evening. You then should be given this date in advance. When I worked part time I agreed a daily rate (more than normal) if I was ASKED to come in for any other days. Whether I did them or not was entirely at my discretion. Negotiate this stuff well now. Get it in writing. Good luck!

muminhants Fri 16-Jan-15 11:59:43

I think it depends. If I was working on something that absolutely needed to be done, I'd probably work in lieu but I work from home so it's a bit different for me, no big deal to put the computer on a day off and do a couple of hours' work. And because I work from home, I don't tend to take sick leave unless I am actually in bed as it's easy enough to hide behind my computer with a Lemsip and do a bit of work and I don't have a journey into the office.

Also rather than working fewer full days a week I work short hours every day so I can't really work in lieu anyway.

I wouldn't schedule an appointment in my working hours if I could schedule it outside them. But again, because I work from home, I can pop out to the dentist and be back in 45 minutes so sometimes I go for an early appointment and then just work a little longer to make up the time. It's not like having to take a whole morning/day off because you live in one place and work 30 miles away.

I'd also swap my days round for meetings - eg if I did work full days Monday to Wednesday and there was going to be an important meeting on the Thursday and I knew about it in good time (ie not sprung on me), I'd swap my days round. Yes part-time hours and rights have been hard-won but there has to be give and take. And if I were a teacher I would attend all the INSET days because I think it would be in my professional interests to do so. I have attended conferences etc in my line of work on non-working days and not taken time in lieu, I just see it as an advantage to attend as part of my professional development.

The bank holiday issue is something else. I find it really annoying that part-timers lose bank holidays - it didn't use to happen. I had a job in a library and because I worked all day on Mondays I was hammered for bank holidays and lost a lot of annual leave. Years ago when I worked part-time I got 4/5 annual leave and ALL bank holidays, but that doesn't happen anymore. In another previous job a lady who worked Mondays and Fridays basically did have to make up bank holidays and come in on other days.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 16-Jan-15 12:11:33

Nobody should be losing bank holidays because they are part time. In fact that would be unlawful to deprive part time workers of a benefit full time employees get.

All annual leave should be pro rata'd for part time employees. Where contracts stipulate X days plus bank holidays for full timers a part timer would expect to get a proportion of X days and a proportion of bank holidays. If we were to assume ft is 28 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays = 36 days. A 0.5 FTE employee (ie works half full time hours) would expect to get 14 days plus 4 bank holidays = 18 days.

If a part time employee usually works on a day that falls on a bank holiday then they either take that day as holiday, work another day in lieu or take it unpaid. Some employers will stipulate in the contract that bank holidays must be taken as annual leave [like every other employee].

Many people seem to think part timers who work Mondays or other bank holidays get extra holiday but that isn't the case.

Flomple Fri 16-Jan-15 12:25:59

But MovingOn OP is a teacher so leave must work differently.

Also OP my flexibility has varied a lot over the years. When you have preschoolers at home it's very difficult to flex days, and my boss always understood that. Now my DC are in school, I flex my work days around work meetings and DC's school commitments quite a lot. The important things are that it works both ways and it's my decision to do it. But again, with teaching I imagine you'd be asked to come in for extra work rather than swapping days.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 16-Jan-15 12:32:37

Not really. Working time regulations and part timer workers rules still apply.

For a teacher if there are too many bank holidays to be included in the annual leave entitlement then the choice is either unpaid or working another day in lieu. Realistically even if a teacher's usual working days were Mondays and Fridays that's only a maximum of 3 or 4 bank holidays during term time. Most occur during normal school holidays.

However, an employer could decide to give the extra day or two paid because they can give extra to a part time worker. The law prevents a detriment, not an extra benefit. There might be issues later with implied terms so clear and consistent application of a clear and consistent policy is always best.

mindthegap79 Fri 16-Jan-15 12:52:23

Thank you for all the responses so far, very helpful. I'm out at the moment but will read them all properly and reply later. smile

hels71 Fri 16-Jan-15 13:02:08

I teach part time and I do not do other days if I have been ill. The only exception was when I job shared and had to take som e medication monthly which made me too tired to work so my job share and I swapped those days because she was happy to do so. I have also twice swapped a day due yo hospitals appointments that I could not change but the head did say if my job share could not swap I would be able to just be off like a full-time person.

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