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Time off to attend a wedding

(15 Posts)
ClareMarriott Mon 10-Dec-12 09:04:12


Ok, you talking here of a teacher and a TA who presumably have known for sometime that they have been asked to be bridesmaids at two different weddings. On the basis that they have both accepted and they cannot take off the Fridays as part of normal holiday time, surely they have come to some arrangement with the HT so that alternative cover can be found for those days and to take the time off as unpaid leave ? It's not rocket science !

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 09-Dec-12 23:15:03

I no longer work in education (I was a TA) but when I did if I had requested a day off in those circumstances it would've been unpaid time as the school woul've needed to cover my hours. Our school's policy was clear for unpaid leave in those circumstances regardless of position or previous sickness record.

ravenAK Sun 09-Dec-12 23:11:29

I requested unpaid leave to attend a mate's wedding last year with my family. I'm a teacher with an exemplary attendance record.

The HT agreed to it on a discretionary basis; he's previously turned down a request I made for unpaid leave a few years ago (I wanted to tack on an extra day to hols as a large family group of us were travelling together).

There would be no question of paid leave!

Having said that, it's not unknown for sickies to be thrown in these circumstances. When I was knocked back for the 'extra day holiday', a couple of colleagues pointed out that I was daft to have asked, rather than acquiring a touch of diplomatic d&v...hmm.

CarlingBlackMabel Sun 09-Dec-12 23:01:20

I wouldn't be giving people days off to be bridesmaids in the first place! Not teachers, anyway.

I think employment matters ned dealing with at face value. You can't be 'rewarding' one person because they never get flu while 'punishing' another. If the other has a bad record, deal with that on it's own terms.

flowerytaleofNewYork Sun 09-Dec-12 22:54:10

"If we pay both, then next time it will be a support who needs time off for a friend's hospital apt or a child's school play or a niece's birthday party..."

Or a teacher presumably, if there is currently no precedent and they realise they can get paid leave for a 'good enough' reason the same would apply.

I'd advise the head to pay neither tbh. This is a very specific unusual set of circumstances, in that they both have the same issue and really need to be treated the same IMO. If the head sensibly wishes to avoid setting a precedent for paid time off for family weddings etc, he/she needs to not pay either, and if feeling really bad, explain to the teacher why. Surely the teacher isn't expecting to be paid anyway?

Rwep Sun 09-Dec-12 19:56:43

Should have said the main reason for the doubt in my mind is that originally we were going to do both unpaid, but the HT wants to pay the teacher, which probably means we need to pay the support. That would definitely be against the norm.

Support are sometimes granted time off for school plays, family events etc, but it is always unpaid, teachers rarely ask, as the school will need to pay for cover and therefore, it is much harder to agree. So, there is a precedent that the support should be unpaid. There is none for the teacher and the head wants to pay her.

If we pay both, then next time it will be a support who needs time off for a friend's hospital apt or a child's school play or a niece's birthday party...

tethersjinglebellend Sun 09-Dec-12 19:46:27

Remember that the TA is likely to be paid much less than the teacher; not that this should make a difference to the paid/unpaid leave, but when mentioning overtime hours etc. It's worth bearing in mind.

noblegiraffe Sun 09-Dec-12 19:43:24

At my school as a teacher days off are rarely authorised so I'd be delighted to get it unpaid. No idea what the deal is for support staff.

Personally, I think that unpaid leave for a wedding is fine. You'll have to pay out for supply (where you probably won't for support staff).

Rwep Sun 09-Dec-12 19:36:32

Thanks flowery.

I think my first reaction (which let's be honest is usually right) was that things need to be fair, but then I thought about my own experiences.

e.g. When DH was hourly paid, he would lose money for a dentist apt or to see the DCs school play, but was paid extra for overtime. At the time I was in a salaried professional job where I would be expected to work the hours needed to get the job done, but would also be able to go to that school play without getting money stopped.

But I agree, this is different, as they are both working in the same organisation.

However, all the support at the school are routinely stopped wages if they have time off for DCs sickness, the teachers would be outraged, so there is something of a precedent set for treating the differently.

flowerytaleofNewYork Fri 07-Dec-12 19:52:32

"Isn't it normal for someone hourly paid to be stopped money if they don't work, while there's more flexibility allowed for salaried professionals who don't have fixed working hours?"

I don't think it is tbh, but especially where the two types of employee work together in the same organization. They may be paid differently, and different amounts, but having different treatment with regards to time off for the exact same thing purely because of their salaried/hourly paid status is a sure-fire way to a divided workforce and low morale.

I also think it would be disingenuous to use her lower paid, hourly paid status as justification for doing this when that is not at all the reason.

If her absence record generally is of concern, then there are proper, professional ways of addressing it. Penalizing her in such an obvious way is divisive, and not an effective or professional way of addressing a separate problem.

You say you initially thought they should be treated the same, but now do not. Why is that? What would be your motivation for doing that?

Rwep Fri 07-Dec-12 17:23:38

My initial thoughts were very much it needs to be the same for both, but now I'm not so sure. They are doing completely different jobs with completely different T&C. Isn't it normal for someone hourly paid to be stopped money if they don't work, while there's more flexibility allowed for salaried professionals who don't have fixed working hours?

FireOverBethlehem Fri 07-Dec-12 14:47:39

I would say treat them both the same - on this occasion, their circumstances are the same.

If you have a policy of no leave during term time, my gut reaction would be that it should be unpaid leave for both, if only to show colleagues that they shouldn't be thinking of this as the thin end of a "getting leave during term" wedge.

Rwep Fri 07-Dec-12 14:46:13

Pancake, I think the sickness record is perhaps a red-herring.

The main difference between the two is that if the support had to attend something like an evening performance, or do some marking in her own time, she would claim overtime, whereas the teacher would do it for her basic salary. i.e. the school "owes" the teacher hours, where are the support has been paid extra for anything she does over and above her regular hours.

The sickness thing is a (bit) relevant because you earn the right for favours imo. She doesn't have any underlying health issues, there have been numerous interviews about this. It's colds and sickness bugs, a sore knee.....

Pancakeflipper Fri 07-Dec-12 14:38:04

Perhaps the one with the awful absence record has a child that has a health issue and cannot avoid taking time off work?

I would treat them both exactly the same.
Cannot decide if to pay or not. Would have to read the staff policy/contract.

Rwep Fri 07-Dec-12 14:33:53

I know what the "official" answer is, but I wonder if I could have some opinions on a fair/practical way this should be dealt with?

2 members of staff both attending (different) weddings where they will be bridesmaids to a close family member. Both need a Friday off work.

We are a school, so ordinarily there is no leave in term-time, but these have/will be agreed by the HT as exceptional circumstances.

One member of staff is support with an appalling sickness record and takes lots of time off when DC are unwell etc. She is paid overtime for any extra hours she might do, is paid for sickness, but time off with DC is unpaid.

The other is a teacher, never had a day off sick ever and obviously does lots of extra hours without extra pay.

There are two opinions at the school

1) Everybody must be treated the same, therefore if we pay one we must pay both, or if one is unpaid leave they must both be

2) The circumstances, track records and contracts of the two members of staff are completely different and therefore it would be reasonable to pay the teacher, but the support should take unpaid leave

Ultimately HT will need to make a decision, which should remain confidential and no-one would know if the two were treated differently, but these things have a way of not staying secret. What do you think?

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