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Time off for appointments

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mrsnjwilliams, Mar 13, 2016.


Is having half a days wage docked fair?

Poll closed Mar 20, 2016.
  1. No

  2. Yes

  1. mrsnjwilliams

    mrsnjwilliams New commenter

    I was just wondering if you have advice. My headteacher said that if we take a medical appointment during school hours, we would have half a days wages docked off. i.e if we got back from our appointment at 9:45, she would take the whole mornings wages off us. Is this right? Is this allowed?

    I don't have an issue with having the time I am away docked off my wage & will of course try and arrange appointments out of school hours, but half a days wages seems really unfair. Is a similar thing happening at other schools?
  2. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    Dock your pay because you need to see the doctor?

    Welcome to the eighteenth century.

    Or tory Britain in the twenty-first.
  3. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Pretty 18th century....how ridiculous, tbh.
    jlishman2158 and Geoff Thomas like this.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Well, if you're going to be docked a half day's pay, perhaps you should go and do your shopping after the appointment. There's clearly no obligation for you to rush back, if you're not being paid.
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    "Is it right?" and "is it allowed?" are not the same. It's not "right", but employers are free to impose such conditions to your conditions of service if they wish.

    As a head I understood from the beginning that staff need time off sometimes to attend medical appointments and that retaining their goodwill means you shouldn't dock their pay (not that it occurred to me - in any case, if I'd needed time off for such appointments, I'd then have had to dock my own pay). Unfortunately, more and more heads are being appointed shortly after they complete their NQT year and so have experience of nothing; they certainly tend to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  6. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    A bit silly really - hour off, see doctor, sorts out problem and back at work. Cost = 1hr.
    Don't see doctor, become ill, take a week off to recover. Cost = 1 week
  7. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    Middlemarch: Is it really so?

    God help us all.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I'm afraid so. I could tell you some stories of appointments to SLT this past three years (in schools up and down the country) that would take your breath away.
    Dragonlady30, jlishman2158 and wanet like this.
  9. mrsnjwilliams

    mrsnjwilliams New commenter

  10. mrsnjwilliams

    mrsnjwilliams New commenter

    I wish my head was as understanding. She started at Christmas... Our old head allowed us paid time off for appointments, but she said the school cannot afford it any longer
  11. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Extremely sensible words spoken by Middlemarch. Looking after the health and wellbeing of my staff is uppermost in my mind. If staff need time off for medical appointments then that's what they get.

    It creates goodwill and a good working atmosphere. There is another thread about having the day off for moving house. My staff get a days paid leave for this and other family events such as a child's graduation.
    phlogiston and jlishman2158 like this.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Absolutely daft!

    And agree with Middlemarch that this is unfair but legal . . . :(. What does the school policy say?

    jlishman2158 likes this.
  13. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    I'm appalled at a school even suggesting docking your pay for you to attend a medical appointment.

    Unpaid time off is for special circumstances (eg: if you've persuaded your Head to let you have an afternoon off to attend a wedding or family event such as a graduation).

    A medical appointment is presumably because of a genuine medical reason, just the same as if you were off sick (in which case your pay wouldn't be docked, so why is this any different?).

    I know that my school would not dock my pay if I needed to miss work for a valid reason due to a medical appointment, due to the goodwill aspect described by Middlemarch.

    Out of the same goodwill, I would only make an appointment during the school day if absolutely essential. Dentists and opticians wait for school holidays and non-urgent doctors appointments after 4pm. This week I've got a doctor's appointment slightly earlier in the afternoon, but it falls during my PPA, so although I need to leave school before the official end of my working day, I'm not putting the school to the inconvenience and cost of cover.

    If management teams retain good relationships with their staff (by treating them fairly and not docking their pay when they need to miss work for a valid reason) then staff will return the favour and everyone's lives will be easier.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If people were taking the proverbial and making routine dentist/optician/doctor appointments in term time, then I can see why a head would make a stand.

    But for appointments that one has no control over, hospital, clinic, etc then just not paying seems a bit mean.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    So, if you know you'll lose half a day's pay for being (say) an hour late, then take the whole morning off, even if you could have been back at school earlier. And don't, of course, choose a time when you are on free periods (if in secondary) - let the school fork out for supply to cover you.

    NB If you're not going to be paid, should you set/mark the work...?
    wanet, cazzmusic1 and jlishman2158 like this.
  16. fineliner

    fineliner Occasional commenter

    Absolutely. Make the most of your 1/2 day off. Don't be tempted to set or mark work and ensure that you charge the school your 1/2 day rate for any activity (even if it only lasts for 1/2 hour) that you do outside of your 1265 (or whatever contract you're on).
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  17. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    A medical appointment - that means you are ill - take the day off as you are ill - then you wil be paid. It is often impossible to arrange appointments outside the school day - how ever hard you try. The same applies to the dentist for emergencies - if you are in pain - you can't teach - so will need time off to recover - again ill.
    It is so sad that people are not treated as human beings. Routine dentist and doctor appointments should be made during the holidays or outside school hours but for emergencies or hospital appointments - you don't have any choice.
  18. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    This can't be true, surely?
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  19. sunshineonarainyday

    sunshineonarainyday Occasional commenter

    Do you know of any colleagues who are pregnant? I only ask as I'm fairly sure that they are entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments (although there are others here who know far more about this than I do). If I am right, and they are losing pay for such appointments, I think the school is on very dodgy territory. Even if there is nobody in that position at the moment it may be a question worth raising, if only to test the knowledge and awareness of your Head!
  20. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    When I worked in jobs outside of teaching you made appointments outside of working hours. The habit has stuck and I'm surprised that other people find the OP so shocking.
    The exception is hospital referrals because you don't get to choose those at all.

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