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Hi,

 

Thursday was our first staff meeting for ages. I have a nightmare organising them because of staffs childcare needs.

 

We operate in shared premises and can only access the building on Thursdays after work (4pm) for meetings but this is difficult because if the staff's children stay they are just too tired and disruptive, and it's not fair on them or the staff. Also staff have other family needs at this time.

 

Anyway we managed this week with 4 staff making childcare arrangements and 1 staff who's child came along ( and behaved very well).

 

The staff have said a lot, recently "We need a staff meeting"

 

So I opened the meeting with the question when is the best time for everyone. The discussion took 20 minutes. It was first decided later evenings would be better....so I asked for a show of hands...Monday evening..no hands...Tuesday...no hands and this continued for the whole week :o

 

I then suggested during the day half term / holidays....no joy.

 

We finally agreed to meet at a local indoor play centre called "Snappy's" on the first saturday of the month at 10am, with all 4 children. We acknowledged that discussions would have to be careful with consideration to confidentiality as it is a public place.

 

I am not optimistic...the children will still need supervising, and I know at least one of them will want Mum's undivided attention...but we shall give it a go.

 

 

I also have to consider cost, a two hour meeting costs £62 in wages, with me (as owner) going along for free. This cost is worthwhile if the meetings are productive and useful.

 

PLEASE HELP...Has anyone got any other ideas, (during sessions it's impossible because of split shifts, no time etc.)

 

Peggy

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You pay your staff to attend staff meetings?

 

We get told to attend, whether or not it's convenient, with no pay, children or not!!!

 

I know we must be very much a minority in today's world, and I suppose I can understand why the girls dont want to come back at 6 if they finish at 3.

 

I have recently been told that I cannot help out the after school club pick up staff because if I finish at 3, I have done my quota of hours and cannot do anymore!!!!

 

Do you think I could use this excuse to not go to a staff meeting??

 

Jambo

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Hali,

I'm in a shared venue, everything away every night ready for scouts, brownies etc. Except Thursdays, but tea-time is too difficult for staff. Lunchtimes not possible, staff are not prepared to come in on days off ( I don't blame them) just for an hour, plus we still need to care for the children who stay all day.

 

Jambo,

My contracts state staff are expected to attend meetings and therefore quite rightly should be paid. I used to work in a committee run group and said to myself, if or when I ever own my own business I would pay staff for their worth, which includes meetings. I really do try to be a "family friendly" employer, including juggling staff rota's to enable school runs etc ( difficult because we open 8:45 and don't finish untill 3:45). I even thought about paying babysitting costs to enable evening meetings but finances won't reach to that, although I am a private business, I am nearly a non-profit making business. (ie: I earnt less than my deputy did last year :o ))

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Peggy,

 

We have staff meetings once a term, which isn't really enough. We have them after a morning session (we only open for a morning session on some days). Staff are expexted to attend and it is in our contracts but we don't get paid. Meetings usually last 2 and a half hours.

 

You sound like a great employer - I think it is really good that you pay staff to attend meetings, and that you are so considerate to your staffs family commitments. It sounds to me (and I could be wrong) that your staff are not being very cooperative about this.

 

When I was on a pre-school committe we had our meetings at someones house. There were 3 or 4 children (pre-school age) but they used to watch a video in an adjacent room and it never became a problem (perhaps it depends on the children!)

I hope you find a solution to the problem - good luck

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Peggy, I'm sure somewhere in our contracts it says about attendng meetings, or it could be in the job descriptions(must pay more attention) Anyway, everyone's aware that they happen and they have to be there. I know it's difficult with childcare and busy lives, we've all been there, but could you opt out of meetings in a huge corporation? I dont think so! They're a necessary part of the job in my eyes. I have to agree with Beryl, I dont think they sound very helpful on this.

We meet every Thursday lunch time, with no pay. I think the more often you can all get together, the easier and shorter subsequent meetings become.

If their children are off to school in September it will be easier, just make sure that they understand how the meetings will be run from then on. Good luck :D

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Gosh Peggy please dont take this as a criticism but I am amazed that your staff expect to paid wages to attend a staff meeting especially at a children' s play centre! :o

 

:D You sound like an extremely generous and considerate employer :D but isn't the employer/employee a give and take relationship, it sounds as though you do an awful lot of the giving.

 

Our setting is small and two members of staff have small children. Once they reach school age it makes things a little easier but we try our best to be flexible so they can attend assemblies, sports days, harvest festivals etc etc and we have always managed it so far. They also need time off at short notice if their children are ill and we just muck in and help each other out.

 

All our staff have husbands/partners at home and staff meetings are in the evenings and no we do not get paid. Nothing says they have to be held on the premises - they can be in the pub :D (care with confidential details of course) Nor do we get paid for being at the end of term Christmas party - all staff attend as all children on the role attend. Its only a couple of hours and all staff willingly give this time to our considerate employer and most of all to the children.

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Hi Peggy - well can see that you've got a bit of a headache there - especially with your staff having young children who need supervision.

 

So I'll just add what we do just 'cos it's something different - when I set the Term and Holiday dates for the year I add on the Monday following every 1/2 term and at the start of every new term for Staff Training days - a bit like the schools.

 

We then use these days for our planning meetings or have someone in from Early Years etc - whatever is needed. We have the meetings at my house (good incentive to clean up 'cos I wouldn't like the staff to see how we really lived!!!!!) and have sandwiches and cakes etc.etc. and it's all quite relaxed. Because it's a day they would normally have worked (had we been open) the staff are all paid (including myself - what a bonus!) This works out at 6 staff training days per year - and at each one we cover the 1/2 terms short term planning and activities - that way all the staff are involved and know what is coming up.

 

This does not affect the NEG in any way, as taken overall in the year, I am still offering more that 33 weeks per year and we do not get involved in charging top up fees at all - so that does allow a certain amount of flexibility when setting the Term and Holiday dates etc.

 

Hope you managed to follow all that and can come up with a solution that suits you all!

 

Janice :o

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Hi Peggy

We are only open morning sessions and so can have our staff meetings during the afternoon. We have them at my house, like Janice, and have a working lunch. They usually last until about 3 o'clock when one member of staff has to collect from school. We don't have them as often as I would like but try to get them in regularly.

I do pay staff for attending any meetings which take place out of working time. I know a lot of groups can't afford to do this and many people will attend out of the goodness of their hearts. But, I feel it is only fair that when we can afford to they should be rewarded for giving up their spare time.

I am, though. thinking now that I might do what Janice does and close a day early at the end of each half term. That way it wouldn't be extra wages going out.

Linda

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Hi Peggy,

What a tricky one :o

We're no help to you as we have a weekly meeting from 12.45 - 2.45 on a Thursday.

The best suggestions above I think, revolve around a day closure process. Parents may not be too impressed if you close for a day when the older siblings are at school, but asking staff to work an extra day in the holidays eg half-term won't be practical either, because of all the children that need to be looked after. Perhaps if you give parents dates of all day or morning/afternoon closures for the year ahead and explain why they are necessary they'll be more compliant!

I, like you, pay my staff to attend; it's not in my nature to expect something for nothing, and it seems like you're just the same!

Staff meetings are so essential in bringing the whole team together and valuing everyone's input, and it takes the pressure off you to do all the activity planning yourself. I made ours an opportunity for staff to take an area and make it their own, eg creative art, circle time, etc. You could ask if anyone would like to develop their expertise in planning the music or movement sessions, the weekly practical maths activity, or anything else you want to offload!

I really hope you all work something out. :)

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I also run a private pre-school. We hold a staff meeting at my home on the first Monday evening of each half term. I pay everyone two hours' wages and we all co-operate to get the business on the written agenda done in that time. After two hours they are guests in my home and can stay or go as they please. I bring out tea and home-made cake and everyone can relax and have a good gossip. The requirement to attend these meetings is written in everyone's contract and job description and they are all expected to attend unless they are ill. If someone has babysitting problems they occasionally ask if we can have the meeting at their home and they then do the refreshments. I understand that the working time directive makes it illegal to require staff to attend unpaid meetings but if they are being paid then I expect them to behave in a professional manner. This system has worked well for me for seven years. Everyone has to work out the best compromise for their situation but at the end of the day you are running a business not organising a group of volunteers.

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We break up a day earlier and go back a day later so that we can have staff meetings.We also have meetings after preschool.All are paid.

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We presently have one day a month term which is a closure day, we do pay staff for attending and as it is a whole day (we are open 2 sessions a day 5 days a week) it allows time for us to discuss everything needed.

These are decided at the same time as the term dates and are given to the parents for the following year. They all accept this as normal and part of our pre-school that there are closure days.

Should we need more it can be arranged for an additional meeting at someones house, usually the person who would need to pay for childcare.

it is arranged as a day for discussion, all planning is done as a team, and they help write it too now, paperwork and a lunch together, always a group thing with everyone contributing. (for the last 3 we have even had parents giving something for us.. chocolates, cake or biscuits)

I have held them in lots of places in the past... local garden centre cafe... they gave us an area to ourselves as we were regulars!!!... the local pub they gave us a 'snug' and his was always popular.... we were always aware of our location and what we should or should not discuss...

we are a committee run pre-school and they are aware of the need for this and fully support us.

 

Inge

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We have 2 meeting each 1/2 term. Yes I know that sounds a lot. One is purely a planning meeting for the following 1/2 term and the other is to discuss anything else we wish to. Children, staffing arrangements, discipline etc. None are paid and are usually on a Monday pm for 2 1/2 hours at a member of staffs house. This works quite well for us, we have a drink, cake and a good natter. It has taken quite a long time to get it to this stage and now we have a member of the committee attending the staff meeting, which has put the dampers on our spontaneity and forthcomingness (think its a work but had a bit to drink!! :o ). Luckily all our staff have children at school so the meetings has to be finished in time for them to collect their child.

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Thank you so much for all your responses, they have given me a lot of ideas to consider.

I understand where your coming from Geraldine because I too used to work in a committee run group and "volunteered" a lot of my time. However, as the employer I feel it is my responsibility to pay staff for their working hours, which includes meetings and training.

 

I may close for a day each 1/2 term but I am aware that this may be a problem for many of my working parents and the staff will still have childcare to plan.

I shall definately use the idea of giving staff the meeting dates a year in advance and then if a member can't attend maybe they will take on the responsibility of doing whatever is needed for them to attend the next one. It is in all my staff contracts that they have to attend meetings, it's just my way that I try to accomodate everybodys individual needs. In hindsight this has to balance well with the needs of the whole team to have regular meetings.

 

Thanks again.

 

Peggy

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