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Eid - unpaid leave

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Shabina_Sabina, May 19, 2019.

  1. Shabina_Sabina

    Shabina_Sabina New commenter


    I'd like to know why is it when staff request 1 day off to celebrate Eid it has to be requested as 'unpaid leave'?

    I understand that if the academies will struggle economically without appropriate number of staff to teach or supervise children, however if over 90% of the pupils are Muslim and will have the 1 day authorised as religious observance then why does it feel like Muslim staff are being penalised? Additionally, staff who do go into schools have not completed a full days work, because approximately 10 children will attend then their parents are called home to collect them early. This is still paid.

    The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against or treat someone unfairly because of religion or belief, or their lack of religion or belief.

    According to the academy Trusts policies it is within the discretion of the Head/Principal to grant the day for religious observance as paid or unpaid. However I feel it is unfair that we've been asked to request 'unpaid leave' without a good business reason and therefore feel this could amount to discrimination.

    Please shed some light.

  2. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    It’s something to direct at your union really.

    I get your point, particularly in the context you speak of.

    I think most HTs would give it as paid leave to be honest.
    mothergoose2013 and agathamorse like this.
  3. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    On your point though....

    1) the teachers left in school are still at work... so course it is paid. I’m not sure of your assertion that they are sent home early. A parent would be in their right to have the child remain on site until normal end of day

    2) my initial view is whilst not great practice, it isn’t discriminatory. This is proved by your document??

    If anything, giving you paid time each year actually makes you treated favourably.....
    Laphroig, Pomza, GirlGremlin and 3 others like this.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I remember working in a (state) school with a fair number of Jewish teachers (& some Jewish pupils). One colleague joked that he was only a 'cultural' Jew but he would be taking a day off along with his practising colleagues for (I think) Passover, paid of course. After all, he said, you get Christmas off paid... 'Fine', I said, 'no reason why you shouldn't come to work on one day over that holiday' (or words to that effect). He wasn't totally amused.

    IMHO if some teachers get paid time off for religion, then all staff should be offered an equivalent paid time off.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I assume that your employer DOES have a good business reason. Indeed the legislation insists that they do so. It is desirable to have a discussion with the employee when the request is declined and give those reasons at that stage. It isn't a legal requirement to do so.

    So your employer must have a good reason or they certainly do risk having to field a complaint. Was the correct notice given?

    But there is certainly a failure when the employer believes that no explanation was given. That's poor management.

    You need to know the business reason before making a complaint and they jolly well ought to declare it. Did you give the right notice though? For three days you'd have to give six days' notice and for one day then you must give two.
    nomad likes this.
  6. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    In the town where I taught there was a "walking day". Its origins would have been rooted in the old ways of "walking for faith" ie Christian. By the 1970s I would guess that the majority of the school population just saw the day as a day where parents would be in the town drinking and it would culminate in the kids anyway going to the travelling fair which came every year. School attendance on the day would fluctuate but it went ahead, staff were in and we carried on as normally as practicable. Catholic schools sometimes had a 'religious' day off but I presume what they gained on swings they lost on roundabouts as in the 195 days open a year bit. I didn't see any clamour for schools to remain open at Christmas and Easter for non- Christian children to attend who took other religious holidays off - they seemed quite happy to take both occasions off.
    It always peeved me that the majority of bank holidays fell in what were designated school holidays anyway so we teachers didn't gain any "benefit" from them. Sometimes you just have to suck it up!
  7. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    In London some schools with large numbers of Muslim pupils will organise the holidays so that Eid is a holiday for all. Can you ask your governors if this is possible? Presumably your parent govs will possibly be Muslim if your school is 90% and maybe even your staff govs too.
    Lalad likes this.
  8. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    It's not just Eid. There are many different religious days pertaining to many different religions. There must be some guidance somewhere about this.
    The teachers who are in school teaching small classes due to Eid... of course they should get paid. It's not their fault the classes are smaller that day. That would be like saying a shop assistant shouldn't be paid as much if less customers come in.
    Laphroig and Pomza like this.
  9. princesslegend

    princesslegend Occasional commenter

    I don't really have anything to contribute that hasn't already said but wanted to wish you and your family Eid Mubarak!!!!
    Curae and Lalad like this.
  10. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    As far as I know, there is nothing in law to say that time has to be given off at all, if there is a sound business reason for refusing it, and certainly nothing to say that it must be paid. Not sure about discrimination - it could be said that it is the same as anybody else applying for an extra day off. I think I would allow time off paid, but I can understand that others might see this as discriminatory if they don't get an extra day off.

    Actually, it doesn't make any difference when the bank holidays fall to a teacher under STPCD, as you only have to work 195 days per year. Teachers can look forward to next year, as in a leap year, they get an extra day off whereas most people get an extra day at work!
  11. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Not for members of the Armenian Christian faith.
  12. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    I have a friend who is Orthodox. Christmas and Easter always in term time.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    They have a contract which says they have to be at work on those days, so should still get the usual pay. My school had a very large catchment area, so when it snowed, a lot of students couldn't get to school even when it was open. I was in walking distance, and could end up with tiny groups to teach. It never occurred to me that I should be paid less than usual.

    By the way, is there anything to stop a school with predominantly Muslim students making such days holidays for everybody?
  14. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    ... but not yet.

    Eid al Fitr 2019 will be celebrated on Wednesday, 5th June. (This is the tentative date as the actual date is contingent on the sighting of the moon of Shawwal. When I worked in the Middle East it was common practice for an imam to be put into the back seat of an F16 and taken up above the cloud layer to observe the moon. It was equally common for, say, Saudi Arabia and Oman to hold Eid al Fitr/Adha on adjoining days, depending on when each country's religious representative spotted the moon.)
  15. princesslegend

    princesslegend Occasional commenter

    I am aware of this but wasn't planning on returnng to the thread tbh. Just trying to be nice.
    Curae, nomad and studentcrisis like this.
  16. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    I'd assume the shop assistant would be at fault in that situation for not opening the door properly to allow all of the customer(s) in... oh, you mean fewer customer :p
    Laphroig, asnac, HelenREMfan and 2 others like this.
  17. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Yeah, it weren't good English were it?
    nomad likes this.
  18. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    That's because your holiday entitlement is covered within the school holidays.

    Sick leave, parental leave and time off for family and dependants are legally covered - so there will be a pay entitlement. Other things are not.

    I'm not a Muslim. I've never had a day off for Eid either.
    Muslim teachers are not being penalised, people in jobs don't get additional leave for religious observances. They may take annual leave from their holiday entitlement, but as said previously - ours is taken up with the holidays.

    As it should be, unless you're suggesting docking the pay of non-Muslim teachers by 90% for the day because the Muslim children and staff were not there? I hope you're not.

    Teachers are all - irrespective of religion, belief or anything else - given the same amount of time off. This is equality, no?

    You are requesting a paid day off that people of other religions would not be entitled to, and not receiving it could be discrimination?
    And, realistically, not paying someone for not working (unless for a reason of legal entitlement) = good business reason.
    It will be in the policy that it is the headteachers decision to grant any leave for religious observations at all - paid or otherwise.
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I agree with much of what you have said, but this is not correct. Parental leave and time off for family and dependents is covered by law, but there is no legal entitlement to be paid. See https://www.gov.uk/time-off-for-dependants
    agathamorse, livingstone83 and nomad like this.
  20. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    Quite right.

    I must’ve meant to write ‘may’ instead of ‘will’....
    Piranha and agathamorse like this.

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