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Term time holidays for staff

(36 Posts)
Bestseller Mon 08-Oct-18 21:43:10

In my previous schools a rare odd day off might be agreed for a wedding or say a special birthday weekend.

At this school we seem to be having a rash of requests for hen dos, overseas that require 2/3 days off.

In the past they seem to have agreed them as the staff member has no control over the date.

What happens at your school?

OP’s posts: |
anatol Mon 08-Oct-18 21:49:20

I've never known anyone in any of the schools I've worked in to get time off for anything other than funerals, medical appointments or other special circumstances (ill children/family etc). In my current school no one would be given time off for birthdays or weddings (unless very immediate family) and definitely not for hen dos.

MaisyPops Mon 08-Oct-18 21:54:34

Nope nope and nope.

I've known schools take a good will approach for family weddings (and afforded the same to students). Funerals are almost always granted everywhere I've been.

The only other time I'm aware of staff getting leave is if their DP/DH is military and there's an inconvenient overlap of a day or so with the start/end of the school holidays etc (again, that's usually where I've seen heads use discretion and approve leave for students too but with students I've known schools approve the whole family holiday).

Hen dos? Birthdays? I'm astounded.

Dermymc Mon 08-Oct-18 22:20:38

Hen dos and birthdays... What school is this?!

Cynderella Mon 08-Oct-18 23:06:26

We used to be flexible - you could have the day if someone covered. Since Rarely Cover, anything not in the absence policy is unpaid but its less and less likely you'll get it.

Weddings, birthdays ... noooooo.

BackforGood Mon 08-Oct-18 23:14:13

Never come across time off for things other than what used to be stated in 'the Burgundy Book' (so wedding, yes, if it were immediate family, no if anyone else)... then funeral (same rules) moving house and graduation (yours, dh/dw/ or dc).
I've know wise heads informally let staff out to go to their little ones' first nativity' or special 'leavers assembly' or something when they can.
Am astounded at the birthdays and hen dos. No way!

DumbledoresApprentice Tue 09-Oct-18 07:20:13

Weddings- for very close family members they are likely to say yes to up to a week depending on location. I even know a couple of members of staff who were given time off tagged onto a holiday for their own wedding abroad. These would all be unpaid though.
For a hen-do I don’t think they would say yes. I think it would be incredibly cheeky to even ask. People do go on hen or stag weekends abroad but they leave at 3:30 on a Friday, often going straight to the airport, and then fly back on the Sunday. I’ve never heard of anyone asking for time off for one.
Funerals are always approved and for family members they are paid. The Head has used discretion and approved paid time for funerals of close friends for some staff too.

MaisyPops Tue 09-Oct-18 07:26:47

BackforGood
Same on nativity and special assemblies. We've been known to let the head know we'll do a PPA swap if it means someone can go to theirs. It has to be recorded officially as a swap but for one offs that's been allowed.

Aragog Tue 09-Oct-18 07:33:48

I've had unpaid leave for the day for weddings of friends and for funerals of non immediate family or family friends.
I've always had the odd early finish/Late start allowed for my own child's assemblies, etc.

We've had part time staff allowed to change days with colleagues to allow them to do stuff.

We've had a couple of staff have unpaid leave allowed for a day or two Holliday where's it's been arranged by family without the teacher knowing in advance as a special one off event and dates were more rigid.

But even with a lovely accommodating and family friendly headteacher I wouldn't ask fit time off for standard holidays or hen dos. It would be taking her good Will too far.

Bestseller Tue 09-Oct-18 07:41:08

We're not a mainstream school so have high staff to pupil ratio which means there is some leeway to allow leave (although becoming less so as budgets squeezed etc etc). They recognise that the work can be high stress and try to accomodate a good work life balance. Nothing wrong with that, but to be applauded if it's possible.

I'm newish on slt having come from mainstream and am gaining a reputation for being as a heartless cow (with the rest of slt) as I recommend saying no to things like:

Hen dos
Wedding anniversary trips (own or parents)
Midweek weddings
Weddings where long travel is needed
Special birthday trips (own or family)
Holidays that overrun by a day or two (eg cruises that only have certain departure dates)
Honeymoon where the wedding is planned for the end of a holiday
Trip to do overseas marathon which requires travel on Friday and Monday
Asking if they really need a whole day for a distant relatives funeral locally

I'd always say yes for funerals (regardless of the relationship) and for DC's school events/graduations

This all seems reasonable to me but I wondered if it's just me. The trouble is, while you try to be decent, if you say yes too much, it becomes catching and people push more and more.

OP’s posts: |
BareBum Tue 09-Oct-18 07:52:16

I think you’re totally reasonable apart from questioning the funeral but at the end of your list. That is really quite off.

Bestseller Tue 09-Oct-18 07:55:13

It's only the kind of funerals where other schools would say no. The kind where you'd like to go to pay your respects rather than because you're grief stricken. Many employers have rules about funerals only for imeadiate family and we'd give those without question.

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Tue 09-Oct-18 07:57:35

So these things have been refused and people are pissed off? Were they approved in the past?

It sounds like a clear policy is needed, then people wouldn’t put in ridiculous requests and be upset when they’re not granted.

Bestseller Tue 09-Oct-18 08:03:37

We use the LA policy Noble which has almost every absence request listed as discretionary.

HR advice is not to have a specific policy for each kind of absence as people tend to see that as an entitlement. E. G if you "allow" three days per term for child illness (some) people will always take their three days.

No they haven't been refused. They are recent or current requests where I've said "WTF? " and the rest of SLT think I have no heart/management skills. I. E. Good management is happy staff

OP’s posts: |
echt Tue 09-Oct-18 08:56:14

Another country, but in Victoria, teachers have 5 annual days of sick we can claim without certifications and my impression is that people make sure they use it.

One of the glories of public service here is that after 10 years, you accrue 495 hours of long service leave ( paid) and 247 hours each subsequent five years, You can access it at 7 years, and take it at half-pay. It's accrued by hours so covers the working day, not the weekend.

What it amounts to is a shitload of paid time off in term-time. It's bloody fab and means you can take longer holidays by tacking week before or after a holiday. Naturally there's an orderly queue and you have to put in a bid in good time.

Aragog Tue 09-Oct-18 12:40:01

I think if there's leeway I'd let them have days off a wedding, regardless of relationship. Unpaid. It's not like they have any say over the date and it's sad to miss out on a good friends wedding.

But I've always, bar one, had headteachers who really value family and friends and a good home/work life balance. My current one is fabulous over things like this. As a result she has an excellent working relationship with staff, people don't take the meds and everyone gives their best and goes out of their way to help one another out. Because she's really fair and flexible with staff, staff are more willing to do things at late notice or change if plan for the school with no fuss. Best staff team I've ever worked with and it comes from the top.

Starlight21 Tue 09-Oct-18 17:58:30

As SLT it always amazes me when requests go in that are important and a must, but as soon as I grant them but I accordance with policy without pay I get told they no longer need it off? Interesting

MaisyPops Tue 09-Oct-18 18:15:00

Starlight21
I've wondered that. I'm not involved with those decisions but have had to request compassionate leave once. It didn't bother me one not that part was paid and part wasn't.
Does the lack of pay suddenly mean the day off wasn't actually required? Some people I think are out for what they can get.

Teacherlikemisstrunchball Tue 09-Oct-18 18:25:45

When I worked in a boarding school that had Saturday school you were always allowed time off for weddings without question (paid) as they understood that most weddings are on Saturdays! I was also allowed to leave at lunchtime on the Friday when I was bridesmaid for my sister on the Saturday and things like that. Often we would just cover in dept and just let line manager know. When I was part time in my next job I was allowed to swap one of my days to attend a wedding, and also swapped a day to attend a funeral of a family friend. In my current job I’ve attended two funerals which have both been paid and neither were family. Luckily these were relatively local and I didn’t require a full day off for either. I was also able to swap lessons around so needed next to no cover and did lots of organising to minimise disruption. It’s give and take. I would never ask for time off for a hen do! Takes the piss when we get soooo much holiday.

husbandbloodyhusband Tue 09-Oct-18 20:34:12

I think it depends on the part of the country you're in- the harder it is to recruit quality staff, the more likely you are to allow flexibility.
I say this as a HT who has worked in places at both ends of the recruitment spectrum smile

BackforGood Tue 09-Oct-18 22:39:04

We're not a mainstream school so have high staff to pupil ratio which means there is some leeway to allow leave

Er, when I worked in Special school, the ratio of adults: pupils was higher because the needs of the dc dictated that the higher ratio was needed, not so staff could go off on their jollies.

The one thing I think the 'rules' sometimes get wrong is defining what relationship you are to the deceased person as to if you can go to the funeral or not. To my mind, if you feel you need to be there, then you need to be there - you can be closer to a friend than one of the people you are allowed time off for. So I'd welcome the fact that you are being more generous than you need be over that, but your staff hav presumably been allowed to take the mick for so long, they see that as 'normal'.

JulietteGrimm Tue 09-Oct-18 22:57:59

I agree with most of your list. Don't agree about funerals tho - while many employers have "immediate family only" rules, the vast majority of employers would also allow an employee to use annual leave at short notice for any other funerals.

Also, wrt compassionate leave - surely it's paid because the person in need of it isn't mentally well enough to be in a classroom (usually due to grief) so would otherwise just be off sick.

PinguDance Wed 10-Oct-18 17:19:39

In my school ppl have been refused time off for siblings weekday weddings - you can imagine how great that is for morale. The unofficial policy is now that you tell your line manager and phone in sick - at least in a couple of departments. Your list seems reasonable to me - it is a PITA not to be able to take the odd day off in term time but I wouldn’t expect any time that off for a marathon or a cruise to be paid.

PinguDance Wed 10-Oct-18 17:25:01

I can’t imagine asking for a day off in a school for a hen do - no one would even try in my school, even unpaid it would be rejected. Although as above, there’s nothing to stop ppl calling in sick so I’m not sure how good this v.strict policy is. The other ruse is pretending you have an interview. It must be difficult get the balance of flexibility vs sensible approach though tbf.

noblegiraffe Wed 10-Oct-18 20:57:35

Calling in sick and going to a wedding would be gross misconduct though, so risky!

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