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Denied bookable leave....can they do this?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by hoonermum, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. hoonermum

    hoonermum New commenter

    I've been in the same FE-HE institution since 1999. It used to be like schools in that at Christmas you went on Leave, same for Easter and Summer. Then some years ago you were given a quota just like most people in any other job, except unlike anyother job you can of course only take your bookable quota of leave (number of days depending on your contracted hours) only during the 2-week Easter, Christmas periods of between 3rd week of July and end of July with a new 'year' starting at the start of August.

    I haven’t had time off since Christmas (we’re ‘allowed’ to take leave during half-term / reading weeks….but they don’t like it, there are so many meetings and inset stuff booked, you don’t get time off. So I want to book leave over Easter, I’m only 2 days per week now, so that’s just 4 days. There always used to be an ‘admin week’ before a leave period like Easter, but that drifted into non-existence and only a few of us old timers have noticed. Now they’re calling the first of the bookable weeks of Easter “admin week”. Our team leader wants us to come in over both the weeks for 3 days in all. I want 2 weeks leave, I’ve earned it, plus I’m owed two days of TOIL. If I don’t take my days off then what I have remaining won’t even ‘fit’ into the time remaining in July, I will in effect lose a few of my days of leave which are mine by right as part of my contract. The team leader is being quite blunt, saying we can take our time in summer…but it doesn’t work, as I’ve explained and we aren’t allowed to carry over days. I’m going to talk to my union rep but what do you all think? She has not yet agreed my leave and one of my colleagues has already been spoken to by her in a way which indicates that she wont agree the leave if he books two weeks off. We work hard, long days, we don’t get any other time off. I'm not a pathway leader, head of anything etc, I'm just a tutor.

    Is she allowed to stop me taking my owed contractual leave during the bookable leave period of Easter?
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    All I will say is that in my other half's line of work you do have to have your leave agreed and it's up to you to do so well in advance because, if you don't, you can risk losing days if you go too close to the end of year. This is emphatically nothing to do with teaching. But she has stipulated to her staff that nobody takes time off in the last 4 weeks before the year end because that's traditionally when there are a lot of accounting issues.

    Let's see what others have to say.
  3. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    'Fair' doesn't come into it. It's a contractual issue. If you think they have broken your contract, point this out. If you still think they are wrong, you need to contact your Union. If they are right but you want the leave anyway because you feel you've earned it, you don't have a leg to stand on.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I feel for you.
    Firstly, talk to the union, make sure you have someone with you when you enter into negotiations.
    It might be useful to have a summary of the days you have worked and the reasons why you didn't take leave (because you were working for the benefit of the students).
    If they are hoping to steal your Easter holiday (I probably wouldn't use language quite that emotive in any discussions), they need to be suggesting when you can take the leave. They also need to be justifying the use of most of your expected Easter holiday for "meetings". Are the meetings really so important they need to take your holiday?
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Is there a slightly higher up line manager you can ask?
    Mind you, as @grumpydogwoman implied, you have left it very late to ask.
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Hmm-being stuck to taking school holidays (most expensive should you wish to travel), but not actually given all the school holidays?
    Wish I could introduce you to an old cynic I knew who said the only 3 reasons to be a teacher were summer, Easter and Xmas!
  7. hoonermum

    hoonermum New commenter

    Hello all,

    Firstly I haven't left it late. I booked formally through our system FOUR WEEKS in advanced (we are asked to book at least three weeks in advance). Secondly, the next senior manager up is a renowned bully and all 'round nasty piece of work with whom many staff (experienced and new to the institution alike) are having serious problems with.....(involving the Union, but that's another story) Finally, there has been no other opportunity in which to take leave, the traditional option of half term now being a full working week of meetings etc despite the institutions own policy of allowing leave at any time as long as we can organise cover. Organising cover is actually impossible because staff are fractional, tiny teams and there is no-one to cover anything. The summer holiday leave window shrinks each year. We are also expected to undertake a set number of unpaid 'research days', though there is no 'space' in the timetable to undertake even a single day. I have been teaching since 1994, I have taught in Primary Schools, Secondary, Independant, FE, HE. This is the first time I have ever experienced pressure to 'give up' my quota of leave days which forms part of my contractual terms and is part of the package of pay+leave. I am following all the institutions rules to the letter and no.....the meeting is not critical. It is important, a planning meeting, one which would normally have taken place during inset type days where we are in for our contracted ours but the pupils / students are not. My Union is involved but they are not strong in the way the school union is and my rep seems to lack the knowledge and legal expertise.

    I still don't know if they can take my paid, contractual holidy away from me, because that is what would happen, considering there is no space in the timetable left to take it. A new leave period starts at the start of August. They also have a habit of making mistakes in wage packets, something else I am having to deal with.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Have you discussed this with your union? They will be able to act on your behalf.
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Sounds to me like you are pretty stressed by this...Maybe by Easter you'll need time off to recover...2 weeks say? ;)

    I'd be seeing my GP about this a couple of times over the next few days to prepare the ground!:)
    sabrinakat likes this.
  10. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    You have done the right thing with the union. I agree with @binaryhex thiugh, fairness is an irrelevance, it depends what is in the contract
  11. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I bet with academisation teachers in mainstream schools may also start to see the 13 weeks shorten.

    Tell them you assumed Easter was 2 weeks and you booked a holiday to outer Patagonia to see your great aunt Grethel two years ago?

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