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Teachers - got a pay cut and head is getting stuffy about when I can go back after mat leave

(31 Posts)
fisil Mon 21-Mar-05 18:25:43

I went into work today. I've been signed off sick for the past 10 weeks with depression. Ante Natal Depression does not officially exist, so it is called depression and treated as non-maternity related. On Sunday my sick leave turns into maternity leave.

I found two documents in my pigeon hole. A memo dated 18th Jan (I started sick leave on 17th) stating that maternity laws have changed and that I can't return to work before 15 weeks and will therefore have to return in September rather than July when I want to.

The second was my annual pay statement. When I was given an R&R point 3 years ago I was told it was permanent. It now says that it will expire on 31st March. I know there have been national changes in pay and conditions, so has everyone lost this money? This effectively means a pay cut of £1000 p.a.

The final thing that bugs me is that half an hour later I discovered that legally I should not have been on school premises because I've been signed off sick. If I had known this 1/2 hour earlier I would never have received these documents until I returned to work in July (or September if the head gets her way).

So my questions: I can return to work anytime after the baby is 2 weeks old, can't I? And has everyone lost the R&R points, or is there something going on here?

Twiglett Mon 21-Mar-05 18:29:50

don't know what R&R is cos I'm not a teacher

but yes it is up to YOU when you return to work and the only legal requirement is not before baby is 2 weeks old .. you just need to give work a month's notice of when you plan on going back

PuffTheMagicDragon Mon 21-Mar-05 18:31:04

Surely if you are on sick leave and not supposed to go in to school, important letters like this should be mailed to you at home! How mean minded can a Head get.

Which union are you with fisil?

cazzybabs Mon 21-Mar-05 18:31:14

Phone your union!

moondog Mon 21-Mar-05 18:32:03

Fisil, not a teacher so can't really help, but have you checked out the Maternity Alliance (website and phone helpline)? I had a complicated scenario and they were great.
You sound like you're having a raw deal. Hope you get it sorted.

fisil Mon 21-Mar-05 18:32:51

Thanks Twiglett. I stated the date of 18th July in my letter at 24 weeks. But since then I have had this long period of sickness, and the head is now saying that I am not allowed back in July. She says I have to be signed back on, which means another trip to Occupational Health, and only she can refer me to OH, so I'm sure she will "forget" to do it, and I won't be able to go back when I want. Do you know what I should make of that?

cazzybabs Mon 21-Mar-05 18:35:14

Can you speak to someone in the LEA or your chair of govenors? She has to refer you to occuptiona health.

PuffTheMagicDragon Mon 21-Mar-05 18:35:22

There's some stuff on the TES website about R&R points being abolished. I'm not teaching at the mo, so not up on all this.

fisil Mon 21-Mar-05 19:05:13

Thanks for all your replies.

I'm looking at the TES website but can't find anything. Any ideas, Puff?

Twiglett Mon 21-Mar-05 19:18:55

sounds like discrimination to me

I would call your union and ask their advice

Rowlers Mon 21-Mar-05 19:19:13

Did you get a contract update when they gave you the R+R point? If so, look at that - does it not say if it was permanent or not?
Never heard of the 15 week thing - are they maybe trying it on?

mummytosteven Mon 21-Mar-05 19:20:19

something on the TES website to do with R & R points

fisil Mon 21-Mar-05 19:26:17

Rowlers, from a letter dated 30 Nov 2001:

"The Headteacher has confirmed that you have been awarded a Recruitment and Retention point from the Recruitment and Retention Standards Fund. This point will be maintained subject to the fund being continued or until you leave this school."

Does that count?

alux Mon 21-Mar-05 20:07:27

I never heard anything about must take at least 15 wks mat leave and don't know anything about R&R points

Regarding not being able to return to work in
July sounds completely false. I am planning to return to work on July 18th as well. I need to see my GP to provide a 'fit to return to work' letter. Sounds more like your head is trying to scam you out of paying you 100% over the summer break.

I would try to see if she is willing to put this in writing and if she does, take the memo to your union - and if she doesn't contact your union anyway.

alux Mon 21-Mar-05 20:10:29

or write a memo to her stating 'with regard to our conversation on xx/xx please confirm that ....' Build your paper trail otherwise it becomes he said she said.

PuffTheMagicDragon Mon 21-Mar-05 20:26:52

Can't do the link re R&R points on the TES website. It's in the staffroom section under the pay & employment bit.

uwila Mon 21-Mar-05 20:49:06

I'm not a teacher, but you are surely being jacked around, Fisil. I would send another lette confirming my return to work date at 18 July. And, let her respond otherwise in writing. That way you have it in writing that SHE (not you) is disputing the return to work date.

ANd, yes, the only law I know of is that you can not go back for 3 weeks following the birth. I don't know much about a union (as I have never belonged to one), but you might wat to check out the Tiger website (if you haven't already).

uwila Mon 21-Mar-05 20:50:04

Sorry sorry sorry... 2 weeks, not 3 weeks.

uwila Mon 21-Mar-05 20:50:06

Sorry sorry sorry... 2 weeks, not 3 weeks.

Hulababy Mon 21-Mar-05 20:55:04

fisil - you really ought to contact your unuion on this one. Unless you have a really good rep at school I would by pass them, and write/e-mai/phone the regional union rep. My experience (with the NASUWT anyway) was very good, and they got back to me very quickly.

This does sound like it is discrimination to me, and I am sure they are wrong about the end of mat leave thing.

pixiefish Mon 21-Mar-05 21:02:23

I'm also sure that they're wrong on the mat leave thing- you can go back when you want. Phone your union. Regarding the R+R- check that out with the union as well. I know this year that the unions have agreed to management points being reviewed annually but that was for points awarded after the agreement (which was sometime this year) Don't know with recruitment points though- depends what it was in the contract- I know our head gives them on an annual basis and reviews them depending on shortages etc

Rowlers Mon 21-Mar-05 22:34:31

Sorry - baby's bath time and then general lounging got the better of me.
Sounds fisil from the letter as if they are within their rights to withdraw the R+R money if the central "pot" is no longer funding it. But that's just my gut feeling.
Def contact union if only for accurate info / advice and make an appointment to see / speak to the head.
Being honest (please don't shoot me down in flames!), staff at my school do see it as a little bit cheeky to have one's return to work date as the last day before summer hols but hey, that's life and you are within you're rights to do that. Your head may feel peeved about it but I doubt she is actually acting legally if she insists on September return.
Good luck - I hate confrontations!

alux Tue 22-Mar-05 08:33:02

Anyone who sees it cheeky is a hypocrite because they would do the same thing Plus, school budget is a business thing and so is my household budget. So I make heartless business decisions within the law. Just as the LEA and my HT will make heartless business decisions based on the law.

I spoke to someone in personnel at my LEA who confirmed that I could return to work on the 18th of July to return to full pay for the summer hols. Fisil, phone yours and see what they tell you.

fisil Tue 22-Mar-05 09:10:31

Thanks for all your help. I have contacted my old teacher who is a deputy head for some impartial advice, and I will also speak to my social worker (couldn't really work out why I had one, so maybe this is my opportunity!). I will try my regional rep (NASUWT) - in my old borough he was very good, but when I contacted NASUWT last maternity leave they were useless. I want to get my facts straight before I talk to the head as she is a slippery customer - but I fully agree with putting everything in writing. I've had one meeting with her while on sick leave that I haven't put in writing, so I will do so now.

I am, of course, keen to get the 100% pay for the holiday - nursery fees will be £3000 per month in September, so I can't afford to lose the £4000 over the summer. But strangely 18th July is not the last day of term. There are 9 working days after that, and I need those days. I am Head of Maths, and if I turn up on 1st September having done no development planning, no organisation etc., then my return to work will be highly stressful - not what you need if you've been off with depression. Whereas if I go back for two weeks at the end of term I can get all of that organised - and if they're paying me in August I will also go in then (I usually work a solid 2 or 3 weeks in the summer hols, but I won't if they're not paying me). Therefore I stand a much better chance of performing to my full potential in September. I have told her this argument, to which she said she could start me two weeks before the end of the hols - but then how would I know what my development priorities are if I haven't interacted with my colleagues for 8 months?

One last question - I have been off with depression for 10 weeks. The past week I have felt myself again, 100% better. I could easily have gone back to work, but as I'm heavily pg, and the head wanted me out all half term, I didn't. I think the depression is pg related, and that following the birth I will be fine. However, my doctor has been keen to stress that it may not turn out like that - the birth and caring for a new baby may knock me back, in which case I won't be ready for 2 weeks of work in July (the baby will only be 2 1/2 months old). So I really am trying to keep the 18th July option open, rather than setting it as a definite date. It would be the best date for me - so long as my health remains as it is now. So does that change my approach to the head?

Mud Tue 22-Mar-05 09:32:58

No that doesn't change your approach at all

Your intention is to return to work on that date, that is all she needs to know

I sympathise, ante-natal depression is very real and very very hormonal, although I know it doesn't feel so - if it helps I too suffered from it in one of pregnancies, though not as severely as you, and it did ease towards the end of pregnancy (around week 36 for me) and did not re-manifest as post-natal depression

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