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Maternity leave contracts

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by HelenSQ, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. HelenSQ

    HelenSQ New commenter

    Most advertisements for maternity leave contracts state a proposed date for the end of the contract but add the proviso 'or the post-holder's return if earlier'. There seems to be some funny law that says that a woman can return to work on the very last day of school before the summer holidays, and is then entitled to the six-week holiday at full pay, while the person who has covered their class on a temporary contract for several terms is entitled to no holiday pay at all. So, my question is, can you leave a maternity leave contract before the 'end date' if the 'end date' stipulated on the contract is open to change at any time, depending on the 'post-holder's' whim or circumstance? I mean, if you're in a temp contract, which may end in e.g. April 2010, but you want a perm contract, can you legitmately search for a job which begins before your 'end date' with the possibility of havign to leave before the post-holder's return?
    What rights do you have in such circumstances?
    The perm post-holder has lots of rights, duly protected by law, but don't temporary employees have the right to tender themselves for permanent work?
     
  2. HelenSQ

    HelenSQ New commenter

    Most advertisements for maternity leave contracts state a proposed date for the end of the contract but add the proviso 'or the post-holder's return if earlier'. There seems to be some funny law that says that a woman can return to work on the very last day of school before the summer holidays, and is then entitled to the six-week holiday at full pay, while the person who has covered their class on a temporary contract for several terms is entitled to no holiday pay at all. So, my question is, can you leave a maternity leave contract before the 'end date' if the 'end date' stipulated on the contract is open to change at any time, depending on the 'post-holder's' whim or circumstance? I mean, if you're in a temp contract, which may end in e.g. April 2010, but you want a perm contract, can you legitmately search for a job which begins before your 'end date' with the possibility of havign to leave before the post-holder's return?
    What rights do you have in such circumstances?
    The perm post-holder has lots of rights, duly protected by law, but don't temporary employees have the right to tender themselves for permanent work?
     
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Yes, you certainly can. You have every right to do so. Search away!
     
  4. frustum

    frustum Established commenter

    Some maternity cover contracts have shorter notice periods than the usual one.
    And you can always resign at the normal resignation points. So if you take a maternity cover now, you're entirely able to apply for other jobs for September, even if the maternity leave is expected to go into next year.
     
  5. Why shouldn't the original post holder get holiday pay, presumably they have worked there a lot longer than their maternity cover?
    Maternity is an expensive time so if they can have the holiday pay why not?!
     
  6. This always bugs me - the cover teacher has taught the whole period therefore earning her holiday pay entitlement. The returning original post holder hasn't taught therefore she hasn't earnt the holiday pay. I was caught out once with this and made sure it didn't happen again. The second time I got it in writing that the holiday pay would be honoured - if they wanted me they had to play fair and they did. The third time, at a different school, they weren't so willing so I insisted that I was paid supply rates so I would get the enhanced rate of pay that included the holiday entitlement.
     
  7. YOY

    YOY

    Actually, I think you'll find that a woman on maternity leave continues to accrue holiday during her maternity leave, just as if she were in work. This is a statutory entitlement in all employments, not a teaching specific thing.
    The way schools often deal with it does indeed suck big time for the person covering the post during a maternity leave - but this is in no way the responsibility or fault of the returning mother.
    It works weirdly in schools because of the fixed holidays - but not always to the benefit of the woman on maternity leave. I worked all year, right up to a week before my due date - which was a week before the end of term. Did I get 'holiday pay' over the summer - no. I had to start my maternity leave and maternity pay from a date no later than my EDD or the arrival of my baby - whichever was the sooner.
     
  8. HelenSQ

    HelenSQ New commenter

    Just to clarify, I am currently unemployed, jobseeking. There are lots of maternity leave covers going in my area (little else) but I was wondering how you are tied into the contract with the phrase 'or the post-holder's return if earlier', seeing as many schools are offering end-dates mid-acedemic year. Knowing that I could apply for one of these posts, accept it, and continue to search for a permanent position (it'd be nice, one day, before I'm forty, to imagine getting a mortgage, and perhaps that my own future maternity leave, should I be lucky enough, might be paid for) has allowed me to view these jobs as more positive opportunties, rather than dead-ends.
    And what I meant about the 'funny law' in my original post is that in all other professions, where the holidays do not occur at fixed periods, the person covering the maternity leave accrues holiday pay proportional to the amount of days they work for the organistion, i.e. it is earnt. In the case where a woman returns from maternity leave the day before the holiday period, the maternity returner gets full pay for the holidays, while the person who *worked* in their classroom all year gets precisely nowt. Which means, during a long break like the summer holidays, six weeks of extreme hardship and/or dole. This has happened to quite a lot of people I know. Not only is it financially hard to bear, but it is a real slap in the face for all your hard work (and we all work hard).
    To those of you in permanent posts, who never have to face this possibility, I'm very pleased for you. To those of you having babies and enjoying family life and looking forward to returning to work in the future, congratulations on your new arrival. To those of you, like me, still trying to secure a permanent position, where you might enjoy the same employment rights that others do, good luck.
     
  9. frustum

    frustum Established commenter

    I agree that is very frustrating, but there isn't an easy solution to reconciling the woman's right to return when she chooses (and in some cases, like the poster above, they actually started ML at the start of the previous summer holiday, so have to return at the start of the next) with the rights of the temporary teacher. There are a few schools who find the money to pay both for the summer. (Interestingly, this is effectively what happens in industry, as both employees accrue holiday, although of course that probably isn't six weeks each.)
    Anyway, it appears that some maternity contracts, at least, have shorter notice periods. You could always check this out when you apply for a job: you could accept it "subject to seeing and agreeing to the contract", and then if it doesn't have a shorter notice period, try to negotiate one.
    Some people negotiate daily supply rate for the summer term, which has the effect of building in some holiday pay to your earnings during the term. There are disadvantages to this, such as entitlement to sick pay.

    In at least one country, newly qualified teachers spend their first 2/3 years being allocated to cover maternity leaves in their region, before getting to apply for permanent posts. I guess it means everyone knows where they are, and new teachers get a range of experience. It must be a pain for mature entrants though: having no choice in where you work is one thing at 22, and another when you've got partner, children and mortgage.

     

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