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Recruitment Bonus Allowance

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by AIMacaulay, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. AIMacaulay

    AIMacaulay New commenter

    Just after some advice from fellow professionals in education sector.

    I recently relocated and with that, changed schools which also resulted in a promotion. This meant that I had left my previous school after 18 months. I was given a ‘golden hello’ upon joining this previous school and despite this being called a “one off recruitment bonus allowance” on documentation, the school are now trying to claim the bonus back as I left within 2 years. I have now been presented with a ‘Principle Statement of Employment’ which I have never seen before and this states that “if you leave within 2 years, the bonus will have to be recouped”. This document was not signed or agreed to by myself, with no terms or conditions outlined for the “one off recruitment bonus allowance.” The HT moved on and the school stopped offering triple science - significant factors in contributing to me deciding to relocate back to my hometown. The council and school are now saying that in contract law, nothing has to be signed and you agree to a contract by default when you start working for an employer.

    Any advice or previous circumstances encountered regarding recruitment allowances would be much appreciated.
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    A contract doesn't have to be written. If you verbally agree to work somewhere you are agreeing to their terms and conditions, inclusive of pay and allowance. Contact your Union. However, the comeback may be you should have asked about the conditions of the bonus. But when taking a new job, it's only fair to have all conditions laid out clearly.
  3. Summerhols6

    Summerhols6 Occasional commenter

    Check your contract, give all the details you have to your Union. Explain the circumstances. Bear in mind that schools are strapped for cash at present and will try almost anything from getting rid of experienced teachers and replacing them with NQT'S, to employing Teach First, none qualified teachers etc to save money at the expense of quality, so bearing this in mind, anything is possible. Union will tell you if they have a case or just trying it on.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  4. jamtart20

    jamtart20 New commenter

    You could attempt to argue that you had not even seen a copy of a contract and therefore could not know about this, but I fear you'll be unlikely to succeed.

    When I was an NQT, the family-run school hadn't given me a contract. This was normal apparently but one would come soon enough. 3 months later, still no contract. Asked the deputy head, he said it would come.
    Finished my NQT there, never saw the contract.

    Still got paid but never found out if there were any quirks in the contract.

    The contracts I have seen have all said: Please return and sign. If you do not sign, this is acceptance of the terms and conditions of the contract.

    If you haven't seen it and asked, it may be a different story.

    EDIT: Added last sentences
  5. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    You were aware there was a Golden Hello. I’m afraid the onus is on you to understand the terms that accompanied this. I think the school will enforce it. Maybe your union can help you to try to negotiate a reduced payback as you were three quarters through the agreed time. It doesn’t sound as though they have to, though.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    From a contract law point of view this one is simple. Were you told in writing or orally before you accepted the job offer that if you left within 2 years you'd have to pay back the 'golden hello' bonus?

    If you were then you have to pay it back, and the LA are correct that it's irrelevant whether you ever signed anything agreeing to that. If you knew that was the condition and you took up the job you have agreed the contract term.

    If you were not told about the requirement to pay it pay it back then they can't require you to do that. They can't introduce the condition retrospectively. If they say it was in some sort of standard document somewhere it would only be binding if they had drawn to your attention the standard document before you accepted the job.

    Consult your union asap.
  7. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Just something to consider / reflect on...
    In my organisation, Golden Hellos were issued at the start of the contract but were dependent on completing two years minimum with them. However, if colleagues did leave, they paid back a percentage which was dependent on how long they'd done: so, given that the OP has done three-quarters of the time, for my organisation they would have to pay back only a quarter of the initial sum.
    As other posters have said, you need lgeal advice (perhaps the Union?) but as you were taken on to teach triple science and this was then disbanded by the school, I would argue that the school itself was limiting your career development (I've known of colleagues make similar arguments if they don't get any GCSE teaching or their subject is made BTEC-only).
    Just a couple of ideas if it comes up for discussion / debate....
    grumpydogwoman and Rott Weiler like this.
  8. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    Exactly this.
  9. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    I would wonder why this was not mentioned when you handed in your notice. They had at least half a term to tell you. Why wait til you had gone?

    Surely they have to prove you knew? Or that it was written somewhere on something they gave you?
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    What @englishtt06 says on the matter sounds very fair and very likely to be a procedure in place in any school that offers a recruitment bonus.

    I'd be amazed if it were not so!

    Nearly all of these (of which I've ever heard) have such a condition. You're always tied to the employer for a minimum period or risk forfeiting the entirety of the payment.
  11. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Just a thought - if you were taken on specifically to teach triple science, and the school subsequently withdrew that, then you could have an argument against.

    But the lesson is simple - always read every contract before you sign it!
  12. pleasemiss__

    pleasemiss__ Occasional commenter

    When I joined a grad scheme for a corporate company, I received a £2k joining / retention bonus too. When I left early, I was obligated to return it too. I’m sorry you’ve been put in this position.

    Hopefully you can argue a.. what’s the word, pro-rata.. return of the ‘golden hello’.
  13. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I have a feeling that 2 years is normal. Or everyone would get a "golden hello" and then b*gger off at once. But equally, I'd expect a pro-rata payment.
    Some years ago, I asked for, and was given, a relocation package of about £2000 as I had to move several hundred miles for the job. I stayed six years and no question of repayment ever arose. But I wonder if such a thing is different to a recruitment bonus, as it was not offered to all candidates, and I only got it because I asked.
    Good luck.
  14. IanG

    IanG Occasional commenter

    North Yorkshire uses these for shortage subjects in the coastal schools. The school I relocated to only paid me the retention payment at the END of the first & second years. At my next school (2017) I was paid a recruitment allowance of £2000 (I'm a physics specialist) which was paid after 6 months, I left at the end of the year without any call to repay the money. Never received a contract and did have to hassle bursar who disputed that I was getting payment by showing them the advert from when I applied...

    I suppose the key thing is did you ever see/sign this document previously. Hopefully you are in a union.

    Good luck.

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