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Working from home

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by goldenglow, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. goldenglow

    goldenglow New commenter

    My head has agreed to let me continue to work from home due to being vulnerable. I was asked if I could go in to collect a few things to take home for work and when I said I wouldn’t be able to come in until the following day as I had to wait in for a delivery, I was told that I would need to fill in a leave of absence request and that this would be unpaid. I believe this to be unfair as I’m not unavailable to do work, I did work from home all day while awaiting my delivery. They’ve said that from now on, I should be filling out a leave of absence any time I have an appointment, etc but I don’t think this is right as I’m not behind on my work as I work around my appointment, work later in the day or on weekends, etc. To me, that would be like dictating when I do my directed time.

    Anyone got any advice? My union don’t really know as the whole working from home is new but I can’t afford to lose a day’s pay.
    Catgirl1964 likes this.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Ouch. It sounds inflexible and a bit mean, but I can also see where they're coming from. Trouble is, if you're vulnerable you have to have more stuff delivered than if you're going out.
    Are you teaching online or preparing resources?
    If you're teaching, you remind them that you taught every learner, if you're doing admin remind them that you did every task they required.
    Maybe you need to schedule deliveries the same way you would if you were working in school.
    Maybe you do need to talk to the union.
    Piranha likes this.
  3. goldenglow

    goldenglow New commenter

    Thank you. I’ll go back to the union but they’re unsure too. They think it’s unfair but don’t have any solid argument.

    Thing is, if they had given me a day‘a notice, I could have rearranged the delivery but they emailed me at 3:30 and by that point it was too late. And while I understand that if I was at work, I wouldn’t be able to do this, if it was safe enough for me to go to work, it would be safe enough for me to go out and shop for those things instead of needing deliveries.

    It also frustrates me as I’m doing everything I’m asked to do and going above and beyond offering to do various things to help and I just feel that it’s not good enough because I’m at school teaching.
  4. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    I don't see how you can argue it's unfair - you've agreed to be available and you're not during directed time. That IS a leave of absence.

    Is it harsh? Possibly.
    sooooexcited likes this.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think arranging your appointments and deliveries as if you were physically at work isn't an unreasonable request.

    Losing pay is a bit harsh as a response, but I can understand their point.

    Saying that if you'd had more notice to rearrange a non-work task you had booked in work time, you'd have been able to do work is a bit of a shaky argument.
    littlejackhorner likes this.
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    If the delivery was essential, and related to your health/the fact you're wfh, common sense would say it should be allowed. Every single person I know who is wfh is allowed to drop their kids off/nip out with the dog as long as they complete the required tasks-as one person put it, what does it matter if she works 9-5, or 8-6 with breaks, as long as she gets done what is needed?
    Obviously if they needed you at that particular time to pick up the stuff because an area had just been cleaned/was left empty specially for you to come in, that might be different.
    It's all very well saying that you wouldn't NORMALLY be allowed to leave school for this, and that your colleagues can't, but then it's not a normal situation. Teaching is one of the few jobs where you can't take breaks when you like (even colleagues who used to do nursing/shop work said teaching is peculiarly inflexible!), but we understand why-IF you're in school.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Established commenter

    Seems like the school is following procedure. They’re allowing you to ‘work from home’ as a substitute for not being in school, if you need to attend appointments, then yes, it would be expected to fill out a form, as you will be ‘away’ from work whilst you attend the meeting. Although you are not required to attend school site, there would still be conditions you would have to follow.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Are they going to refuse to pay you for the whole day, or just the half hour they wanted you to go in? If the former, then there's no reason why you should do any other work on that day.

    They can probably do it, but it's about as rational as docking someone pay for making a personal phone call during their PPA time. As you point out, having the delivery was in no way impeding your work until their unexpected and last minute request, and if you'd had more warning you could have had it another day. I'm sure that they'd rather that those working from home left the weekend delivery slots for those at a place of work all week.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  9. Newidentity

    Newidentity Occasional commenter

    During lockdown, we were still required to inform school if we were sick. I think that in your situation, I would have sworn to myself and either rescheduled or cancelled the delivery.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Both the HT initial request and your response could have been different.
    It strikes me as wrong for the HT to acknowledge your medical need to work from home, and then to ask you in to the building to collect things. Really they ought to have arranged for those things to be taken to you,perhaps by courier/post,perhaps on a good will basis by staff delivery. By asking you back onto school premises, even for a few minutes, they surely contradict the sentiment that you ought not to go in at all.
    Whatever. Who knows. They are very busy,that's for sure.

    But it also strikes me as a bit gauche of you to tell about the delivery and put that before your HT's request. The delivery is nothing to do with work,and nothing to do with school matters,and yet you have openly told your HT that it is. In her shoes, it would have annoyed me for that reason alone.
    You could have steered this more diplomatically by stating, ok,lying, perhaps, that since you knew you were working from home,you had had your car collected for service until the next day. The difference is interesting. The delivery story undermines the HT,and the car story respects the HT because you have sourced a domestic solution which prioritises work rather than interrupts it,even if only to just answer the door.

    I think the overriding sentiment ought to be one of gratitude to your HT, simply because I know quite a few other people technically classed as in the vulnerable category who have been refused the home working option. In this, yours is a "nice" HT (plus lucky in that they have seen a way to cover your presence in school somehow), and that perspective ought to supplant feeling wronged here.

    Regarding the absence request-fill one in for the period of one hour. If the form asks how many days,strike it out and put "one hour",and you could also specifiy the time,which would be the time the HT would have expected you to drop in on site. By doing this,you are seeing both sides of the story, and the loss is small enough to suffer for the knowledge gained.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  11. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    Totally agree with both your points.
  12. blushingberry

    blushingberry New commenter

    If the email didn't come until 330pm, then you allow even a few minutes travelling time, this would be after directed time ended, surely, so no leave is needed?

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