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They won't let me leave.....

(14 Posts)
JustWhenIThoughtIWasFree Sat 14-Feb-15 15:53:02

I've tried to be brief!
I've got a new dream job (yay) in a different area of education at a school I have longed to work at that is closer to home and generally all good. I have been on maternity leave. The new job was too good to not to apply for but meant that I went for interview within a week of returning to work and handed my notice in after 5 days. (Not a great employee).
I handed in my notice in (over half a terms notice as per) but was told I can't leave until 30th April (9 days into summer term). Consulted my union (who said it was legal but very unreasonable as it had an adverse affect on my carer/new school etc) and went back to the head who agreed to let me go at the end of term BUT I will have pay back all of my (additional) maternity pay. Because Easter is early this year I will have only done 11weeks with my school not 12. They cannot tell me the exact cost but it will be well over a months full pay. They know I can't afford to pay this on top of the nursery fees I will have to pay whilst I come in to work.
Whilst they are within their rights to do this - is it reasonable? The pay back clause is there to stop me not returning to work. It's not like I'm leaving the profession. Do I not get some credit for returning for 11 weeks? Could I pay back 1/12 of my maternity pay? The job I applied for and got was all after I returned to work - not a secret plan all along and am working my notice period. If this was last year it would have been 12 weeks but as Easter is early this year it is not....
I feel like it is a punitive fine from the head and tbh I don't really see why. Surely it is better to let me go happy and hard working at Easter rather than threaten me and receive 9 days extra of my dragging myself into school? My school is in special measures, it is tough and we all work hard everyday to make it difference. It requires a lot of above and beyond effort that I will struggle to find knowing that I am letting down my new class in my new school. I don't want to threaten work obviously (and I have no idea how to say that without it sounding like a threat!) but how much of a difference does 9 days make? Are they just trying to punish me?

PeruvianFoodLover Sat 14-Feb-15 16:05:50

I think your current school are being very shortsighted - it might be legal to do this, and might go a little way to help a stretched budget, but the reputational damage and loss of goodwill should also be a factor - they need to attract and retain good and outstanding teachers and won't do that if they get a reputation for being an unsupportive employer.

Can you chat to your new school Head/manager about it to see if they may be willing to negotiate with your current school on your behalf?

hijk Sat 14-Feb-15 16:09:05

surely this won't hinder you at all, won't your new school wait the extra 9 days for you?

Can you help out with Easter revision or something? Would that help, or does the 11 weeks already count the easter holidays?

lunar1 Sat 14-Feb-15 16:09:17

I'm in the nhs and it's made very clear that if you don't do the full 12 weeks when you come back you would have to pay the maternity pay back. But the HR department make sure you know this in advance. Did they make it clear to you before ML?

Hannahabbott Sat 14-Feb-15 16:09:18

When do you officially start employment with your new job? Is it the first day if the Easter holidays or the first day of the summer term? Also, if it's the same LEA it shouldn't affect your mat leave.

readysteady Sat 14-Feb-15 16:11:38

Isn't it the same LEA?

readysteady Sat 14-Feb-15 16:12:29

Lunar is that still true if you change jobs within the NHS?

lunar1 Sat 14-Feb-15 16:17:12

I think it was ok if the same trust and your manager agreed but if you swapped trust I think the rule applied. I don't know that for sure though. I had to swap trust after I went back due to a move so did my 12 weeks, no way we're they getting my mat pay back!

JustWhenIThoughtIWasFree Sat 14-Feb-15 16:20:29

Hijk - the 11 weeks includes the hols so that wouldn't help. You are right this isn't the end of the world my new school should be able to wait the 2 weeks but it will be a huge arse for them. They are a special school and I am replacing the class teacher who leaves at Easter. Cover is a nightmare for this sort of class - it doesn't feel fair.
Lunar1 - you are right. They can do this and I was aware. I fully intended to go back and have - it's just that early Easter makes the term shorter. In the nhs if you moved hospitals etc before 12 weeks would that count.

Both schools are academies in the same county so doubt LEAs mean much but thanks.

lunar1 Sat 14-Feb-15 16:26:01

I was hoping for you that they'd not mentioned it and you could leave on those grounds, that they'd not made it clear. I'd have tolhought they would have someone replacing you from the end of the hols. If they are just planning to use agency till sept I bet that's why they are holding you to it.

JustWhenIThoughtIWasFree Sat 14-Feb-15 16:27:08

The kicker is that all the info I can find says the amount you payback/if you payback is at the Head's discretion but my head very much implied this was what "payroll" would do and she was helping me by offering me the 9 days....

JustWhenIThoughtIWasFree Sat 14-Feb-15 16:32:09

lunar - I suspect they are anticipating struggling to find someone to replace me (no my problem and a bigger problem than having me for 9 days will solve!). They know I want to leave. They know this other job is what I want to do. The best they will achieve from this is 9 day of me coming into school where they could try using me as a cover teacher but I'm sure my unions would have something to say....

SnowWhiteAteTheApple Sat 14-Feb-15 18:12:48

Your new job will just have to wait two weeks of you can't afford to pay back the maternity pay.

They are not being unreasonable expecting you to return for a minimum of 12 weeks after giving you enhanced pay that they don't have to. The idea of enhanced maternity is to retain loyal employees.

phlebasconsidered Sat 14-Feb-15 18:39:57

I had to pay back my maternity and it was a lot more than a months pay, i'm afraid. I did negotiate a monthly payback with the LEA though, to soften the blow.

They are being unreasonable. I'd contact the new HR people at your new school and ask them for suggestions. If they are both academies, their grasp on the burgundy book is tenuous anyway! I can understand your "old" head being peed off with you leaving so soon, but he is being an arse about it.

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