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Bad reference ?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lizzywilmot, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

    I work in a private school. They are currently trying to make me work excessive hours which the union say is against the law. The school says everyone does it so I should too. I have had a very stressful meeting about it with my head where I left in tears.

    I am planning on leaving this academic year and I would get the union in but I'm frightened of a negative reference if I do that. I know it's against the law to give me a bad reference but I'm sure there are ways of communicating these things to prospective employers which will then cause them to not employ you.

    Do I just roll over and take it to ensure my escape?
    agathamorse likes this.
  2. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Unfortunately, independent schools do tend to cover themselves with "...and any other duties that may be reasonably expected by the headmaster" in a typical contract. STCPD/1265 hours does not apply to independents.

    How long have you been at this school? Are your hours excessive compared to those demanded of other colleagues?
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Even with a private school, there should be some protection re: the Working Time Directive. Of course, if the holidays are long then I guess the OP's working hours could average out as less than 48 hours a week even if they are crazy hours in term time.
    agathamorse and Curae like this.
  4. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    17 week average, I think.

    Even so, when I was a pub manager for a pub company I always worked over. When finalising weekly sales and staff wages report, an extra bit of paper came out that asked you to sign it so say you have opted out of WTD.
    You don't really have a choice but to sign it in that kind of job.
    I imagine that op feels this would be the same.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    "I know it's against the law to give me a bad reference"

    I hear this a lot.

    It's against the law to give a false reference, not a bad one. I've given lots of bad ones.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I imagine the school does not feel the hours are excessive.
  7. Sanz1981

    Sanz1981 Occasional commenter

    You must get a lot of gratification hurting others lives....
    Bedlam3, steely1, 8sycamore and 2 others like this.
  8. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    My understanding is that references need to state reason for leaving and that a written reference should NOT prevent the employee from being at least considered ad a potential employee . Many ex employers ask for a tick sheet to be completed bur yes there is nothing to prevent hearsay fron rearing it's ugly head As always I stand to be corrected by others on here that are far more knowledgeable in such matters than myself .
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    References just have to be accurate and truthful so if you were disciplined at your last job then they could include that on your reference.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Blimey! Why is that?
  11. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    No it isn’t. A reference needs to be fair and accurate, and that’s about it.
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

    How does this work? The bit about 48 hrs a week. We work Saturday mornings and have extra clubs and duties every week. Does that all need to average out at 48 hrs a week? I spoke to the union today and they did not seem to think this was a problem. My concern is that we are not getting a 24 hr break in 7 days on some weeks of the year. Will the 48 hrs a week overide this?
  13. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

    I have been there 12 years. My hours are the same as demanded of everybody else but I've not had to do this before because I've chosen to do my share of the hours in different ways. this year I'm being forced to do the hrs in the way the school demands and it means I don't get a day off in 13 days.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Add up how many hours you work each week, use an average if you need to.
    Multiply that by how many school weeks you have.
    Then divide by fifty two.
    Then you know how many hours a week you work on average over the year.

    Not getting a full 24 hour break for some weeks of the year, could be a problem if it is frequent. But for the odd week here and there, it is just par for the course. We have maybe two or three weeks a year where this happens for some staff.
  15. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    JohnJCazorla and Stiltskin like this.
  16. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

    Thanks, this is really useful. Who works out the hours I work per week? Me or the head? How do you account for marking and planning in that 48 hr total?
  17. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

  18. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    I can see how this would happen. Basically, this means you have a Sunday duty or commitment - so you're working from Monday of week 1 to Saturday of week 2. Is that correct? How often does this happen?

    I do sympathise, I really do. I hate working Saturdays, let alone a full weekend. However, the only ways in my experience to counter this are:

    1. Find a colleague to arrange an informal swap - you do Saturday afternoon, say, and they do Sunday. Every time the exeat weekend timetable is published we have a flurry of emails saying "help, can someone swap?".
    2. Appeal to the deputy head, or whoever organises duties and timetabling, presenting a compelling reason - eg childcare, personal commitments, etc...or even health reasons.

    To be honest, I wouldn't take this as far as the head, and I'm worried that getting the union involved and using phrases like "excessive working hours" and "against the law" is going to alienate them (especially if they've got an ego). Once you do that, they're far more likely to say "well this is covered in your contract which you signed up to", and that will be it.

    Sorry. I want to be more helpful...!
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You need to work out the hours as how much time you spend actually working.

    If you are me, then 'working' for three hours at home is really one hour of work interspersed with two hours of television and internet. So be careful what you actually count.
    jarndyce likes this.
  20. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

    It's really useful to hear all these points of view, this is why I posed this question. We are a small school and we are not allowed to swop the Sunday working. It's gone to the head because there is no one else really. I understand i have signed my life away, but have I also signed away my right to a Sunday off every week? I'm trying to establish wether signing away the working time directive ( which is probably what I've done, I've not had time to unearth my contract) also means they can force me to work 13 days in a row twice in one term.

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