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Time Keeping - How To Approach The Issue


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Hi all, I've been asked by my setting leader (I'm chair) to come into the staff meeting tomorrow and talk to staff about their time keeping. They have had a fairly relaxed attitude over the last x number of years, but it's getting silly, as one member of staff ends up setting everything up in the mornings while the others come in 15 mins late.

 

I'm very happy to do this for her, but my question is how to broach this? Am I best just to be clear cut - lateness not acceptable, your contract says 9am, we have a disciplinary procedure, etc. Or am I best to say it as 'we've decided to set a target for this term of punctuality, supporting your colleagues' and that sort of thing. I don't want to get backs up, but then again lateness is rude and unprofessional.

 

I would appreciate your input as you are mostly staff rather than committee and might have a better sense of how this will go down than me. I know that they probably do overtime to do paperwork (although most of that seems to fall on leader and deputy). I have thought of reminding them that they can claim if they want for hours worked outside of their contracts.

 

p.s. we're a put out take down setting, so the set up time is vital, also we only run mornings so a short working day anyway.

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I always take a 'softly, softly' approach - that said my staff are fantastic and there are rarely any issues. I also produce an agenda before staff meetings - this gives everyone an idea of what we will be discussing and to prepare or think about anything they might like to raise - it also keeps a meeting 'on track' and perhaps adds an air of 'seriousness'.

 

To get the discussion going I might ask gently "is anyone having problems getting here on time and how could we help with that"?

 

I'm sure some people will think that's extremely 'woolly', but I don't like unecessary confrontation that inevitably leads to bad feeling.

 

Hope this is of help and that your meeting goes well.

 

Sunnyday

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As you say, it is always difficult to have these sorts of conversations, especially when essentially you are going to be 'ticking them off' for being late. I don't think I would dress it up too much. You have a basic problem which needs to be tackled, and if you try to go round the houses you might end up several weeks down the line with no real improvements.

 

Personally I would log the hours that the various staff members are turning up at and then have individual meetings with them to discuss it. During this you can ask them if there is any particular reason they are having problems getting to work on time. If it turns out just to be bad time keeping then you can ask them what impact they think this would have on their colleagues, bearing in mind that everything has to be set up by a certain time. Hopefully they will see for themselves that it is unfair to others to behave in this manner. You can also point out that they have a contract to work specific hours, and that the committee have an expectation that this is met in the future. If it continues then you can become more heavy handed in your approach, having given them fair warning first! It may be that some staff members may have some unknown issue which prevents them from actually getting there on time, and obviously this would need to be tackled according to the individual case. :o

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Another very quick thought - I wouldn't 'confuse' the two issues - if you're talking about lateness that has nothing at all to with any other time used for paperwork.

 

Hope that makes sense - probably not!

 

Sunnyday

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I'm afraid I'd go for a bit of an object lesson here..........................tell the one member of staff who DOES turn up on time and who sets up the room, NOT to do it ( you can cite good old Health and safety, she shouldn't be there on her own and it's unsafe for her to shift stuff around on her own).Wait to set things out when ALL staff who should be there, are there. I know it'll cause a bit of a kerfuffle to begin with, but hopefully they'll soon get the message, particularly if parents are a bit miffed that things aren't ready?

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suzie

 

Don't you think that all this ought to be coming from the manager / supervisor? Surely this ought to be her responsibility as the line manager rather than you as chair.

 

I think my staff would take rather a dim view of the chair 'interfering' in a staff issue. Maybe, she has already spoken to them and not got anywhere, but it's a poor reflection on her management skills if she can't sort this out herself.

 

Jo

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suzie

 

Don't you think that all this ought to be coming from the manager / supervisor? Surely this ought to be her responsibility as the line manager rather than you as chair.

 

I think my staff would take rather a dim view of the chair 'interfering' in a staff issue. Maybe, she has already spoken to them and not got anywhere, but it's a poor reflection on her management skills if she can't sort this out herself.

 

Jo

 

are ur staff paid for setting up ? i do the setting up in my setting and am paid the averge hourly wage for this , so maybe you could appoint that once person who does arrive on time to set up to do this pay her for it.

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Before you do anything you might just make sure that they are in fact being paid to go in early and set up - your post isn't clear on this point.

 

What I do at staff meetings when I have issues to raise is start my sentence off with "I'm not singling out any one person in particular but..." and then state what I need to address, or have happen in future. Those who know they are the culprit will take the hint, and if they don't and it continues then you can follow it up with an individual conversation about their duties/terms and conditions etc.

 

One thing I spotted in the EYFS is that there is a duty (not sure whether statutory but if not will definintely be in the guidance which settings must have regard to) that the registered person must keep a log of the times that staff arrive and depart. This might be a good time to introduce some kind of signing in system and that in itself should help focus people's minds on their timekeeping.

 

I'm not sure about how staff will feel about the Chair coming in to talk about issues like these - but you are their employer after all.

 

Good luck - let us know how you get on!

 

Maz

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Take each one aside individually and gently ask if there's any chance that they can arrive in good time to help set up, or ask if they'd prefer to alter their contracted - paid! hours?

 

There may be some difficulty in staff arriving for 9 - do they have children of their own to organise?

 

Sometimes just a gentle word, or a plea works better than a sour comment.

 

My Dad always said 'you catch more flies with honey'

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I have had a similar problem I introduced a signing in book for the staff and committee as it is a requirement to log times they are in/out so maybe this is the angle you should take at the staff meeting you could just say that its a requirement so from now they have to sign in. That way you can keep your eye on it.

Salm

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I was more of a softly softly manager but all staff seemed to respect me and I only once had a problem with a student constantly late..sorted by my ensuring I correctly filled in her hours worked.. by being late she was not doing enough to complete her course!

 

other staff all happily came in often before they were paid as they worked out if they were all on time it was faster and they had time for a drink before children arrived!

 

when I left they did begin to have issues with some staff so they did have a change in policy, with a signing in sheet or book for all with times logged and wage was then adjusted for late comers... (previously I had filled in arrival and departure times on register with the children)

 

first sign that wage would be adjusted suddenly meant everyone was on time, but this is assuming they are paid for this time.

 

Inge

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Thanks to everyone who's commented so far.

 

I like the idea of a signing in book. I also like the health and safety angle. I'd agree that I don't want to cause confrontations. My leader has asked me to do it, as she's had a word with them previously and they don't seem to have listened. She's quite new to this and lacks confidence in telling people what to do. I don't mind being seen as the big bad chair if it means she maintains a positive relationship with them.

 

The setting up time is part of their contracted hours and paid at the same rate as the time spent with children, so adjusting pay might cause a rethink in their attitude.

 

Part of the problem is that the leader has to drop off her child at school, so it's a struggle for her to arrive on time, and consequently she can't be there to make sure they are (iyswim).

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Just wanted to throw another thought into the mix. Was it the leader who alerted you to the lateness or is it something that you would have seen for yourself. If it came from the leader and the staff know this it may cause resentment that she came to you about it and not them and could actually undermine her authority with them. Could you maybe encourage her to be the one to bring the matter up on the basis that you would support her in the discussion. Just a thought?

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We used to arrive and set up with minutes to spare in a morning but found it better to arrive early set up and have 10 minutes coffee and a natter we're a pack away group so there 's a lot of stuff to put out so a 10 minute break before the children arrive is almost a necessity to get our breath back,

 

if your staff can get the room set up in time for the parents then do they need to be in any earlier? can you tell the staff their if they cannt/dont want to arrive that early then their pay/contracts will be adjusted accordingly and put the money to better use in the setting?

 

small point if for example one member of staff arrives 15 minutes late everyday, thats approx 5 hours pay that the setting is wasting each month and over the year thats alot of money would the parents be happy to know that much money is being wasted? think about that when your wondering wether to put your foot down about time keeping.

 

I know its an awkward one but sometimes putting your foot down about one thing encourages the staff to be more professional in other areas too

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its a tricky one but it is not fair on that member of staff who is constantly putting out the stuff - could the lead talk to each member of staff and ask if there is a problem as to why they cant be there on time and if so perhaps they need their contract amended to show this. if there is no valid reason then they need to think about coming in on time to be fair to others

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Just an update, we broached the subject today in a 'softly softly' way and I think people felt quite embarrassed that they'd been letting down their colleague. There were a few excuses but I offered to change contracts to reflect a later start and no one took me up on it. I also did the 'health and safety' thing as suggested. Apparently we already have a signing in book, must have a look at that and see what time they've been putting!

 

Hopefully we'll get an improvement.

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Just an update, we broached the subject today in a 'softly softly' way and I think people felt quite embarrassed that they'd been letting down their colleague. There were a few excuses but I offered to change contracts to reflect a later start and no one took me up on it. I also did the 'health and safety' thing as suggested. Apparently we already have a signing in book, must have a look at that and see what time they've been putting!

 

Hopefully we'll get an improvement.

Good news!

 

Sunnyday

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sometimes it just needs a nudge to let everyone know what is expected of them it is easy to get into a habit and only see things from one side,

 

hope it works and don't slide back

 

Inge

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hi i'm new to the forum. Some of the posts say logging times of staff is a requirement, I have looked through the EYFS and can't find where it says this can anyone help as I am having a couple of staff lateness problems myself

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I always thought that signing in an out was a Health and Safety requirement anyway, as everyone should know who is on the premises in case of fire. It is someone's job to take all the lists outside for checking. This is certainly the case in maintained settings and workplaces, so that fire-fighters don't have to go in looking for people if they are all safe outside.

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Welcome to the Forum, dlb123!

 

You've asked a good question - all I can find is on page 24 of the Statutory Framework under the statutory guidance where it says:

 

"Providers should consider where relevant: arrival and departure procedures for staff, children, parents and visitors"

 

So that doesn't actually say you have to have arrival and departure times noted, although I personally was under thre impression that this was something I had to do (especially as I tend to be the one who often says that if the EYFS materials don't tell me to do something then I need a pretty persuasive argument to make me do it!).

 

I shall keep on looking though - perhaps I'm just looking in the wrong place!

 

Maz

Edited by HappyMaz
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