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Legal position of part-time working parents

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by katelet78, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Hello all,
    I have a question and was hoping there would be someone out there who could help. I am returning to work for two days a week after my second maternity leave in September, but my school refuse to tell me what days these will be until they finalise the tt in mid-July. This leaves me with a month and a half to organise childcare for two, which in my part of London is pretty-near impossible, and I'm very worried about it.
    Essentially they leave me and the others who work part time in this position every year as they say they will not give out details of the tt in advance. In every other school I know of, the part timers get to request specific days or else hear much earlier, and I just wondered what the legal requirements were for the school. It feels like an arrangement that is pretty discriminatory against working parents.
    Thank you in advance.
  2. AdmiralNelson

    AdmiralNelson New commenter

    It istrtue that many schools cannot finalise their timetable until July as staff can still resign until the end of May, and new staff have to be appointed. However they should be able to confirm which days you will work...at least I always could when doing the timetable!

    I suggest speaking to your Union, in the first instance...
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    There's no 'law' about it and I'm afraid that many schools are unable to finalise their timetable until their full staffing position is known - if there have been late resignations, for example, and new staff have not been appointed.
    It might be incredibly difficult and inconvenient for you but it isn't any form of 'discrimination' since any part-time member of staff - with child-care arrangements to make or not - would be in the same position.
  4. AdmiralNelson

    AdmiralNelson New commenter

    But, as has been explained above, the resignation date of 31st May means that timetablers simply can't finalise deciions until staffing for September is known.There are some ways round this, but all have costs; e.g.
    • Impose a 2 term notice periuod on all staff (as in some independent schools) - but would staff like/agree to that?
    • Only give part-timers the more felxible periods to teach (probably no GCSE/A level then - career limiting)
    • Don't employ women/men with childcare duties...(illegal, but try proving it).
    I'm not sure that these 'cures' are better than the problem!
  5. I feel for you, I've just started my maternity leave, so won't be working on September 1st. For that reason my Head is refusing to give me a timetable as the "timetable written for September 2011 will be the most appropriate model for staff who will be teaching in September" [​IMG]. They even mention the possibility of staff leaving between September & my return so don't want to commit my hours. My hours will be covered internally until my return.
    Basically they won't tell me anything until very near my return, which is a nightmare for childcare. I have contacted my union but have not heard back yet.
  6. AdmiralNelson

    AdmiralNelson New commenter

    Well of course it is, Doh!

    How could a HT issue a timetable based on the presumption that you will come back, when he/she knows that some teachers choose not to, or request part-time! If your maternity starts now (June) you may not be back unitl the end of May or early June next year...and who knows what will have changed by then re: staffing?
    Until they know your intentions, they don't have to plan for you - but when you do tell them what you intend, they will have to. Until then, why would you be sorting childcare 12 months in advance?
  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    But in theory you could decide not to return for the entire academic year and have the full period off on maternity leave - so any adjustments and projected timetables the head *did* offer you could end up a pointless exhibition of time consuming paperwork.
  8. There is no need for such agressivity in your reply! Why reply as if I was completely ***? Seriously what is going on on this forum today??? [​IMG]
    - First of all, my Head roughly knows when I'm intending to come back, and they know it will be a window between January and end of March. It has always been clear I wouldn't take 12 months off as I simply cannot afford it. And the school knows this. I have put this in writing on numerous occasions.
    - I am therefore not arranging childcare 12 months in advance but 6. Our local nursery has a very long waiting list, we have been on it since the 3rd month of my pregnancy. If my school is not flexible on the days I will be working from 2012 then I will need to find an alternative childcare arrangement, and this can't be done the day before I return to work!
  9. AdmiralNelson

    AdmiralNelson New commenter


    Why - because this point has been made on at least one other thread - and your assunmption that the school should organise itself arround you shows a breathtaking self-centredness, IMHO..
    You may not change your mind...but lots of new & not so new parents do, every year...Would you be happy if the school made other arrangements, then you changed your mind and they sent the bill to you? I suspect not...

  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Amongst the many teachers who've gone off on maternity leave swearing they would return by a specific date (and they were under no pressure to do so) and did not was my favourite: she said she was taking the minimum amount of leave possible, to which I responded, 'Now, you'll probably change your mind once the baby's here, you know.'
    Not only was I right, but she packed in teaching altogether, telling me a week before the end of the summer term and thereby leaving me with a member of the maths dept short for September.
  11. Well good for them, they obviously didn't have the same financial situation than I do. I WILL return to work (unfortunately) and the reason I gave a window rather than a definite date is because I'm trying to apply for a mortgage payment holiday but my mortgage lender won't discuss it until my pay goes down significantly (October), so I am 100% sure I will go back, the question is just: January or a tiny bit later (and we're talking 2 or 3 more months at most).
  12. Let me guess... you're a man???
    I have NEVER said the school should organise itself around me, I am simply discussing the LEGALITY of the process, I am still an employee of the school, therefore I retain the same rights. The only right I lose is my normal pay. All my colleagues will receive a timetable in the next few weeks, I don't see why I can't have the same right!
  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Because you're not going to be teaching in September. What if another colleague (or more than one) resigns for January and timetable re-shuffles need to take place? It makes complete sense not to give you a timetable now - particularly as you'd clearly hold them to ransom over it in the event they did need to make further changes.
    You don't have the 'right' to be given a timetable - only to return under the same conditions as you left.
  14. AdmiralNelson

    AdmiralNelson New commenter

    Is it the hormones, luv?
  15. Thank you to the people who replied with useful information here.
    I still feel this policy from my school does discriminate against part-time parents. I understand that timetabling cannot be absolutely finalised until mid-July, but if they started from the position of sorting out the part-timers' requests for specific days, as many schools I know do, this is what we are asking for: I'm certainly not requesting to know specific classes or even key stages I'm teaching. Knowing the days you are going to work just puts us on a par with everyone else.
    One of my friends, who is a deputy head, believes that the school is compromising on the legal requirement to try and make part-time work for people returning from maternity leave, but I don't know what the exact rules on this are.
    I am going to be in this position every year, as are the others who are part-time parents, and we are just wondering if there is any way to press for a change in school policy on this one. However, there doesn't seem to be standard practise nationally.
  16. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I'm afraid your deputy head friend is wrong. The school is required to consider your request for part-time work and can only refuse if they can offer very good reasons. They have kept their side of this law by offering you part-time work. You want them to meet your timescale on telling you exactly when your hours will be - they cannot do this and the law does not say they have to do this by your timescale.
    As for school policy - you could ask the governing body, but my feeling is that as it's an operational issue and not one of 'policy', they will keep out of it.
  17. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    That is not a right.
    Words like "rights" and "discrimination" are being used quite wrongly in this thread. In any correspondence with the school on this issue I would avoid using those words.

  18. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    There are far too many variables for the school to be able to commit to a timetable for you at this point.
    You may think you will be going back to work when your maternity pay runs out but you cannot KNOW that things will go according to your current plans.
    It's far too soon for the school to have tobe catering for your return to work.
    As you have already had agreement for returning as a part-timer, it might have been judicious to have specified in your request that you would need to have your work spread over the minimum number of days to make part-time working, childcare and transport costs affordable.

  19. Skelly2

    Skelly2 New commenter

    I understand where you are coming from, although my school have been quite accomodating for the most part. I returned from my 2nd mat leave 4 weeks ago.
    As a solution to your problem, why not book your little one in full time childcare until you know what days you'll need? You should be able to give them a months notice to change or reduce the hours, and judging by what you've said you should know this in time?
    I know how hard it can be finding good childcare, we're down in the south and we had to wait 5 months just to change one day for my two little ones!

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