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Staff taking days off to look after sick children

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by katycustard, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    Another question for you experienced Headteachers. Do you pay staff who take time off to look after sick children? I don't have many staff with young children but someone was off today to look after her son and I don't know what the position is on paying her. She has had 3 days off with her children this year, not many I know, but I don't know what the protocol is.
    I am both new to Headship and new to the authority and just not sure what the correct thing to do is.
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    You missed the unnecessary apostrophe, however!
  3. Actually, I didn't miss it but just didn't want to point out another error!
  4. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    An apostrophe is necessary - but not there!
    It's "three days' paid leave if you want to get it right.
  5. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Oh Bollux!
    Old Nomad trudges off into the Rhub al Khali to die of shame.
  6. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    Surely you meant:
    'However did you miss the unnecessary apostrophe.'
    I was taught to avoid ending a sentence witha preposition. Particularly short senences, however I did go to a school with slateboards and chalk!
  7. mickeyforpresident

    mickeyforpresident New commenter

    My policy allows for 10 days in a rolling 12 month period for staff to be off for family emergencies (with pay) and we class caring for sick chn as part of this.
  8. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    I completely agree. I've a member of staff who has had two emergencies in past two weeks, one concerning her grown up daughter and one concerning her elderly mother. Both had been "blue lighted" to hospital when she got a call. On both occasions I've stepped in to cover her. On both occasions she's apologised profusely after the event, even though I told her not to and she's been very keen to return the school's commitment to her.

    Another member of staff was going through a particularly stressful time with a young adult offspring which meant her having time off and myself keeping it very confidential as to why she was off. After it was all over her exact words to me were "I can never repay you and the the school for the support". I don't want "repaying" but there's one thing for certain, you can't buy loyalty like that.

    Sometimes, it does initially cause me a bit of irritation when staff are off, but I know, because of the culture that's been developed in our school, that them taking time of to look after dependants is the very last option they've choosen and they are probaly feeling terrible. The last thing they need is me making them feel worse.
  9. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your advice. She had two days off this week with sick child, and we covered internally. However, on Friday I would have had to get a supply teacher in and the teacher got grandparents to look after sick child so she could come in.
    I fully understand about family emergencies etc. and have let staff have time off for Christmas concerts etc. I just don't have a policy yet and wondered what others did. When I was a class teacher in a different authority you had one day off on pay and the rest unpaid. I did wonder why this teacher's husband wasn't able to be off for one of the days.
    I agreed to this teacher having two days off before half term to go on a family holiday. She is part time so worked a different day for me and owes me a day which will be paid back when she attends Inset at the end of term. Give and take is not a problem for me, but I need to have a policy!
    I met with my Chair and Vice-Chair and we had a discussion about leave, pay etc. A policy will be written soon!
  10. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    That's not an unreasonable question. Is it all about give and take, so I would expect partners to be taking their share too.
    Our written policy is the LA one which says 1 day paid up to 3 times per year, the rest is unpaid. However, our school unwritten policy is that if the school can cover it without expense then we will and the leave can be paid. The problem with that is I'm opening myself up to claims of unfair treatment if it comes to a time when we can't cover without expense and a staff member has to have unpaid leave when previously other staff have had paid leave. I've discussed this with all staff and at present they are happy to carry on with our arrangements, knowing that if there was ever a complaint then we would apply the correct policy to every instance of leave.

    By the way, I'd never agree to holiday leave. Staff do have the opportunity to accrue lieu days (for Easter School/providing cover for Extended School activities) which could be used for that. But most choose not to be involved in those activities.
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Which is worse - to begin a sentence with a preposition or to end it with one?

  12. knevez@hotmail.co.uk
    I'm much stricter than other posts have suggested on absence & leave though so maybe others can send you their policies too? Whatever your policy my advice would be to stick to it and don't budge! Endless trouble otherwise.
  13. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    In my experience, staff are grateful for the leave and so take the minimum amount of time of. Last year, apart from a member with cancer, we had only 8 days sick leave between 57 staff.
  14. Good for you. Send the original post person your policy. This is a matter of judgement, no right answer. I've had requests for all sorts of things from Wimbledon days, mild toothache, Mondays for a hangover, cousins birthdays to extra days to get to Portugal before the crowds etc. Was told the previous head was keen to support staff. I have improved attendance markedly, which was apalling when I arrived. Staff understand and there isn't any bad feeling. Rewards come elsewhere.
  15. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Your right, it is a matter for individual schools and the ethos in them. One thing that comes through in research into leadership is just because something works in one setting doesn't mean it will work in another, and success isn't transferrable. But this is a forum for us all to share our experiences, and the OP needs to decide what's right for their school
    When I became Head 6 years ago staff absence was a real issue and we worked on it. I know the staff used to say "She's really nice, but I wouldn't want to cross her!" about me to other schools' staff. Anyone asking for leave to pursue personal intrests e.g. holidays/sports wouls certainly get short shrift, as would any one unable to work due to hangover! But, having been consistent,fair and supportive whilst maintaining high expectations of staff means I don't get those type of request now.

    Mind you, I did make massive rearrangements to PPA timetable this week so that those staff with Take That tickets could leave at lunch times!!!:)
  16. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Aaargh, you're not your!
  17. You don't want to encourage the Take That fan club do you? Soppy old nonsense!
  18. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    I lead by example in my school. Hence, I was in the queue at 10:30am on Saturday!!

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