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Time Off Requests

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ppchjslade, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. First time I've done this so not sure on reaction but here goes.
    We have a new head teacher who is determined to do everything 'by the book.' Therefore, in the week before Christmas, when myself and a colleague requested 2 hours leave - unpaid - to see our children in a Christmas production, we were refused permission. Eventually, we were allowed as a 'one-off' as long as we found other colleagues to cover our classes. This wasn't a problem as more senior colleagues who have been through the 'child's Christmas production' stage were only too willing to help mindful of the joy it bought them.
    A few days ago, my wife miscarried. She was only 7 weeks pregnant but as it was her third in 9 months, it was quite upsetting. I had two hours off in order to pick her up from the hospital but then came straight ion as my wife was fine and wanted me to go in. There I requested an afternoon off in order to accompany her to undergo some investigations. This clashed with a twilight session and so as the head had asked two other colleagues to change appointments for various things so they could attend, he said he couldn't allow me time off either. I did point out that we had no control over the appointment timing but it did not make a difference.
    Am I being unreasonable in asking for time off on such occasions? I have an excellent attendance record having only missed 5 days in 10 years until this school year but I am starting to feel that if something like this happens again, I will be forced to play the sickie card. I am aware that I am contracted over a number of hours, most of which are hard to do if students are not there. However, it's not like I go home at 3.30 and do nothing until 9.00 the following morning.
    Any comments/suggestions will be gratefully received. Thanks.
     
  2. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    I agree with all of this. I am also sorry to hear about your wife's miscarriage.
    I am not sure I agree with this. Heads should be consistent in their approach, whether you have a good record or not. I think, in this case, they are lacking in compassion.
     
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Like badger_girl, I offer you and your wife my sympathy.
    I'm at a loss, however, to know what to suggest. I assum your school has a policy to cover leave of absence and if so, I suggest you get a copy and see what it currently says. If there isn't one (and it sounds like this could well be the case, because if a head is 'clamping down' it's usually because there's been a bit too much licence given in the past), perhaps the union reps could request that one be drawn up.
    Even if there is one in place (and the head might have recently put one in place or revised it), the union reps might request consultation over its revision.
    As an experienced secondary head, I've had my share of requests for absence. Most staff are reasonable and sensible about these, but a few do push it somewhat (e.g. a request for a day off to drive 20 year old son back for his third year at university - I don't think so!), which is what usually leads to some heads getting fed up and implementing a draconian crack-down.
     

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