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DH: supply agency problems on eve of starting work

(26 Posts)
Tirion1649 Fri 24-Feb-17 20:27:30

DH recently registered with an agency. Had a trial day in a school a few weeks ago for a long term assignment. Was observed all day, teaching own subject, and school decided he'd be fine. Because recent teaching experience has been with adults, they later said he should observe classes for a week, pair teach after that for a week, then take on full teaching schedule.

Due to start after half-term. DH contacted school who said they looked forward to him coming - mentioned the observed week etc but said nothing about not being paid.

Agency looks set not to pay DH for trial day (not said so but this day was a few weeks ago). Have not told him pay rate - stalled and stalled, saying they were trying to contact school. Not answering DH's emails or phone messages. And set to not pay for at least a week while he's there, not of course able to take on any other rumerated work.

Today, DH finally spoke to someone at the agency who said that as he was observing on Monday, he wouldn't be paid (didn't seem to realise it was for the whole week). After this bombshell had sunk in, he emailed agency & left phone messages - no response.

Observing classes all week for no pay? Who, if anyone, would DH be working for? Start the job and not know the rate? What would happen during the paired teaching week - half-pay? If you attend induction sessions in a new job, you're paid.

DH doesn't know what to do on Monday morning! Any thoughts? Many thanks!

Astro55 Fri 24-Feb-17 20:30:25

I think he should go and observe - foot in the door

Then speak to department head about pay/week etc - it's much easier face to face

0hCrepe Fri 24-Feb-17 20:35:01

Yes I agree. Go and get in there.
I voluntarily observed for 3 days for a teaching job that was slightly different to what I'd been doing and it was very helpful. Not saying he should be unpaid but discuss it once he's there.
The agency take a cut of what he is paid.

Astro55 Fri 24-Feb-17 20:40:40

I would also add - most schools only employ people they know - which they find via volunteers or supply - he needs to show his face at the chance of any job coming up -

roastpotatoesandsprouts Fri 24-Feb-17 20:49:27

DH should consider signing up for another agency - they sound appalling. Prior to September, I did 2 years of supply work ( contract and daily work) I was never asked to observe without pay.

DitheringDiva Sat 25-Feb-17 15:39:25

I disagree with previous posters - he's being asked to work for no pay, which, at worst, is bordering on slavery. At best, it's just mean - the school has benefited because he taught a whole day of classes - they would have had to pay someone else, if they didn't pay him. Even in these times of austerity, a school can afford £100 or whatever to pay someone who has actually done some work for them!

Tell him to not go in, and find a better agency. there are much better agencies and schools out there, who will treat him fairly. he needs to get his name on the books of loads of agencies, and then he can pick and choose, depending on who treats him best.

The "no pay while we observe you for the day" is a classic agency scam

GraceGrape Sat 25-Feb-17 15:45:37

What's the subject? Most schools are so desperate for staff - especially long-term supply that this sounds ridiculous.

Astro55 Sat 25-Feb-17 16:10:48

School supply is different though - they don't just take anybody!! They have to see you at work and I don't see how observing picking up tips - watching what works or doesn't - how to handle situations, what the sanctions and rewards are etc it may not be work but it's good experience - he can see if he wants to take the role

If he hasn't or anything else lined up - he's not 'missing out' on a dayd pay - he'll be sat at home none the wiser -

Schools are very different environments

topcat2014 Sat 25-Feb-17 16:15:17

Will the school be paying the agency? If so, the agency are being cheeky fuckers.

catcalledmarvin Sat 25-Feb-17 16:33:44

I'm with Dithering he's done a day which is more than I would have done if he went for interview they would employ based on just his performance on the interview day. Working a week for no pay? I don't think so.

As another supply person here agencies vary enormously. To echo other posters I would strongly suggests he signs up to about 6 of them.

If any agency suggests working another day for free he should refuse and ditch that agency. There are so many agencies that he can and should pick and choose.

GraceGrape Sat 25-Feb-17 17:03:45

Well, I would say that from my experience (as a teacher) that they often will take anyone! I did long-term supply for a couple of terms and was offered a job (paid) the day I joined the agency. I would have thought they would bite the hand off someone qualified in their subject, but I suppose it does depend on what the subject is and how much demand there is for it.

Dreamanddream Sat 25-Feb-17 17:31:58

I wouldn't be going there. He's probably being underpaid anyway (compared to what he would get being employed by them).

Schools and agencies take the mickey anyway. Supply shouldn't mean jumping through hoops (by all means observe, but he ought to be paid at the same time. After all, he is working).

Dreamanddream Sat 25-Feb-17 17:36:28

It is a ploy to get supply teachers to work for free. Despicable.

TulipsInAJug Sat 25-Feb-17 17:40:33

Sounds appalling, OP. It's the gig economy in schools now. Except not even getting paid for a day's work.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sat 25-Feb-17 17:43:49

It depends where you are and the subject. If he's going to find it really hard to secure work he should just go with it.

If you are in an area where the shortage has bitten in would he not be better of skipping the agency and finding a permanent job?

Tirion1649 Sun 26-Feb-17 18:27:27

Many thanks, all, for your thoughts and suggestions. I'm very grateful.

To re-cap - DH has done a day's teaching on a trial basis - nothing was said at the time about this being unpaid. (I've since learnt that this agency sends lots of teachers out on trial days and doesn't pay.) He's now being told that the week of observed classes (when he would be planning lessons etc as well) will be unpaid. And utter silence on the rate of pay - even a suggestion, late on Friday, that that will be told him when he turns up to the school tomorrow. I've worked for supply agencies in the past (as has DH) - never has anything like this happened.

DH has also been told that time sheets won't be needed - ever. Yet the agency's guide to teachers says that they are used.

He's in a quandary about tomorrow. This is clealry an agency that cannot be trusted and whose methods are at best very odd and perhaps even very irregular. To go into a long term supply post, not having the faintist idea what you'll be paid - once it's decided that you could be paid.

OhWhatFuckeryIsThisNow Sun 26-Feb-17 18:36:01

Cover manager here. Agencies often offer a free trial day (but somehow seem to wangle out of that) I've never heard of a unpaid week of observation or team teaching. Additionally it's not usually up to the school to set the supply teachers rate, the agency does that. Some agencies do time sheets, some don't. Those that do are usually computerised.

Astro55 Sun 26-Feb-17 18:53:28

Maybe he should speak to the school about how crap the agency are treating him and he was reluctant to go in?

bizarrelyjubilant Sun 26-Feb-17 18:54:47

I wouldn't do this and I wouldn't recommend anybody else does either.

There are ways of getting a foot in the door that don't involve working for free!

DitheringDiva Sun 26-Feb-17 19:09:42

Maybe do what Astro55 says. Ring the school as soon as he can get through to someone and tell the school that the agency are refusing to pay him so it's not possible for him to come in. If it's the agency being shits, then the school will be horrified, and will go to another agency (which means he won't get the work, but at least the agency doesn't either) and if it's the school trying to pull one, then he'll know not to ever have anything to do with that school.

I really don't think he should go in though. It must be illegal to try to force someone to work for NO PAY? If your husband were single what would he live on?

wannabestressfree Sun 26-Feb-17 19:44:07

Can't be ring the hr at the school direct?

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sun 26-Feb-17 20:13:12

D*H should consider signing up for another agency - they sound appalling. Prior to September, I did 2 years of supply work ( contract and daily work) I was never asked to observe without pay.*
Never mind about considering - just did it.
I did supply for two years and was paid for very day - was with decent agencies.
He is a mug to go along with this rigmarole nonsense. And as to 'schools hire whom they know' no - they go to agencies and get supply teachers in, they pay the agency and the agency pays the teacher. If he is no good, they get another one. Certainly no need to do all this team teaching and observation.
And no point in 'going to school HR' no - he is employed by the agency not the school, so should grow a pair, and find another agency - his are just cowboys.

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sun 26-Feb-17 20:18:59

Someone has just posted all this on TES - using a name that looks like a real one. Hope he is smart enough not to do that...hmm

user1471467016 Sun 26-Feb-17 20:20:11

Does he like the place? Does he want it rather than only need it? Consider this (though it is very shabby treatment), however thinking about the long game might help you decide. How likely is other work in the meantime? Talk to the school, we never use agencies, could be an oversight/inexperience? How much do the school actually know about his terms and conditions with the agency? No-one would expect this as a gesture of goodwill, surely?

ChampagneTastes Sun 26-Feb-17 20:23:57

Fuck no this is not ok. Stop dealing with this agency.

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