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Given 4 weeks notice, should be given 2 months?

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by Georgia99, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    I am covering maternity and have just been given 4 weeks notice of the return of the postholder.
    My contract states I would be given 2 months before the end of term or 3 months before summer. I also signed a letter of appointment, the letter stated that my contract was temporary and the end date would depend on the decision to return of the postholder, but that I would be informed with notice of her decision to return.
    I have queried with the school about 4 weeks notice not matching my contract. They state that my appointment letter clearly states that I would be given notice of the postholder's decision to return and that is what they have done. I signed the appointment letter but no notice period is stipulated, the only notice period specified is on the contract.
    Should I go quietly in 4 weeks?
    Should I talk to the unions and fight this to leave at Easter when I should be served notice until this date?
    Do I have a leg to stand on or are they correct when they make reference to the signed appointment letter?
    Many thanks.
  2. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    It is typical for maternity cover contracts to be terminated with the return of the post holder, usually with as little as a weeks notice. The post holder need only give 21 days notice of their intent to return to work at any point. The contract you have probably is a standard teaching one as issued by the LEA, with the letter outlining your specific tenure in your role as maternity cover.
  3. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    That is the standard notice period that a teacher has to give and is not the notice periods usually offered to a temporary teacher.
    Could you quote the relevant paragraph/s on your contract so we can judge if your interpretation is correct?
  4. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    I would seek advice from your Trade Union rather than on this forum...And certainly hold out for the best result (if your school gave you the wromng contract, then that's their fault...!)
  5. frustum

    frustum Lead commenter

    If the appointment letter didn't state the length of the notice you would be given, then there's no reason to think it's not what is in the contract. If the two conflicted, it might be different. Sounds like their problem for not amending the contract for it being a maternity cover.
  6. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    The exact wording on the contract is as follows
    Your contract is to cover maternity leave and the end date will depend on the decision to return by the postholder.
    This contract can be ended by either party giving to the other not less than 2 months notice before the end of term or 3 months before the end of summer term.
    The letter of appointment that I signed talks about the position being to cover materity leave and explains that if the postholder decides not to return then the permanent job will be advertised and I am welcome to apply. It then states that in either case of whether the postholder returns from maternity leave or chooses not to and I am not successful in gaining the permanent post, then my contract will be terminated, with notice.
    No mention of notice periods are given on the letter.
    It all seems so complicated and I have left a message with my union rep to discuss it.
  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    That is all they need to state in order to cover themselves.
  8. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I would take this to mean ending your contract for a reason other than the new mum coming back. Eg. If you wanted to leave or if they had another reason for you leaving
  9. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    I know that most people on maternity contracts have a specific notice period in their contract.
    I have no quibbles with the postholder returning to the role when she chooses, it is afterall her post and I am more than happy to stand aside.
    But I do feel that my contract has been misleading as it states that I would be given 2 months notice. I would consider that any difference in notice period for the maternity cover should be given for example, 7 days or 21 days etc..otherwise if them stating my 'contract will be terminated with notice' could technically mean they could give me 2 days to leave if they wanted to.
    I will see what the union rep says and let you know. The school always have a need for cover staff so it wouldn't harm them too much if they had to keep me until Easter as I'd be allocated to cover.

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