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Contract supposed to be fixed-term 1 year, says it's a Mat Cover instead- any problems here?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by little_owl_66, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. little_owl_66

    little_owl_66 New commenter

    Hello all,

    As the title states - I am currently working at a school on a 1 year fixed-term basis (the post advertised). However, I did some digging in my documents as it's half term and wanted to get a few things in order and realised my contract says Maternity Cover! The end date is 31st August, so this doesn't directly seem to be an issue, but I'd appreciate any advice. There is nobody, to my knowledge, that is actually off on ML. I was told when I got the job that I was filling in for someone with long term sickness, but rather tragically, that person passed away. It has been difficult taking over their classes sometimes, but I am gradually gaining confidence in this role and establishing myself within school.

    My knowledge of employment law is lacking in places. What are the differences, if any, between:
    - Fixed term contracts
    - Temporary contracts
    - Maternity Cover ?

    Do these affect any of my rights?

    Further to this:

    I have also recently been 'advised' of a permanent role being advertised in the new year. I would have to apply and go through the process again if I want this, the thought of which exhausts me a little considering how hard I've found moving schools during current Covid times. I already had a remote interview process for this current role as it was during lockdown, but I understand the school have protocol they probably need to abide by. I have also been observed twice by my HoD already and there is a probationary 2 term procedure in place for all new staff at the school (it's very rigorous here).

    I am assuming the re-interview is common practice, although in my very first school I was temporary as an NQT and they made me permanent without a formal interview. I now see that I was very fortunate back then!
    Can anybody reassure me of this situation, too?

    I ideally do not want to leave as it's an excellent school, and I am really ready for some career stability, being in my 4th/5th year of teaching now. I have moved cities a lot due to pursuing a master's in between and relocating. Is it advisable to apply for some other roles as a backup?

    Thanks so much in advance. :)
     
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sounds like 'maternity cover' is just a typo unless anything else in the contract makes it sound like a maternity cover. Email HR and check with them.

    Yes, reapplying and advertising is largely normal these days. However, you could have a chat with the HOD and see what they say about you applying. If they think you are fab, chances are they'll hassle the head to give you the job. If they think you are rubbish, it's best to know and save yourself the hassle of applying.
     
  3. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Established commenter

    FT Contracts and Temporary are generally the same- used to fill a role on a short term basis.
    Maternity contracts are usually 9 months - 12 months, depending on how long the permanent colleague is off, or if there was a temp colleague appointed and they leave during the ML.

    It is the norm to be required to apply for a permanent role, if you’re only employed on a temp contract- the school can choose to just advertise it internally, or externally, if they feel that they would like to gauge a ‘larger’ talent pool.
     
  4. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    It matters a lot if it really is a maternity cover, because the person coming back can give notice that they want to return and then you are gone. Many do this the day / week before the summer holidays so they get the summer holiday pay, meaning that you don’t.
    Check with HR that it is a typo. Everything else you have said seems fair though.
     
  5. little_owl_66

    little_owl_66 New commenter

    Ah really?! Thanks so much for the heads-up for this in particular, and to all replies above.
    This is exactly what I mean about my limited knowledge regarding contracts. Very helpful to know.

    I have decided to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and have arranged to meet with the Senior Deputy in charge of vacancies to discuss my future at the school, and what I could do in advance of the application process to improve my chances.

    Thank you all so much :)
     
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Whether it is maternity cover or not is not, by itself, so important. The key thing is what it says about notice periods. Maternity contracts often do have a clause allowing the school to terminate at shorter notice if the person gives notice to return. So look carefully at the notice details in the contract. If necessary, get them clarified, in writing.
     
  7. install

    install Star commenter

    Check it with your Union if your school rep is no good.
     
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Perfect!
    Best of luck and hope it all works out.
     
    Piranha likes this.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    A good plan. Good luck
     
    Piranha likes this.

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