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Odd Days Off


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Has anyone got any advice? We are a 60 place nursery school with playgroup attached. This week has been fairly typical in that on Monday, only 1 member of staff turned up for playgroup, other 3 phoned in sick and same again on Tuesday. Wednesday, that staff member went off sick but one of the others came back and same again today- so basically 1 outof 4 staff in playgroup.

 

Out of 9 staff in Nursery, 1 came in on Monday and has been off since, another 1 left at 2:00 p.m. yesterday and has phoned in sick today.

 

This is driving me mad and the headteacher seems not be dealing with it- she just says, she knows why they are off, it's always "confidential" and she can't discuss it, even though myself and DHT are the others on SLT. There are never any return to work interviews/ meetings and I have never known a place like it were staff (not all obviously) seem to take time off at the drop of a hat.

 

Anyone had any good incentive schemes they could share? We can't function when gaps are filled with agency staff, who whilst they may be more than competent, don't give the same continuity for the children.

Sorry to rant but this is getting beyond a joke and we've still got half a year to go!

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Has anyone got any advice? We are a 60 place nursery school with playgroup attached. This week has been fairly typical in that on Monday, only 1 member of staff turned up for playgroup, other 3 phoned in sick and same again on Tuesday. Wednesday, that staff member went off sick but one of the others came back and same again today- so basically 1 outof 4 staff in playgroup.

 

Out of 9 staff in Nursery, 1 came in on Monday and has been off since, another 1 left at 2:00 p.m. yesterday and has phoned in sick today.

 

This is driving me mad and the headteacher seems not be dealing with it- she just says, she knows why they are off, it's always "confidential" and she can't discuss it, even though myself and DHT are the others on SLT. There are never any return to work interviews/ meetings and I have never known a place like it were staff (not all obviously) seem to take time off at the drop of a hat.

 

Anyone had any good incentive schemes they could share? We can't function when gaps are filled with agency staff, who whilst they may be more than competent, don't give the same continuity for the children.

Sorry to rant but this is getting beyond a joke and we've still got half a year to go!

 

I do empathise, have you looked at the ACAS website for any guidance which you may be able to pass on the management?

 

Spiral

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I do feel for you, there should be return to work after sickness,

how can a business be run this way?

I too could not operate like this, luckily i have a very dedicated team

is it possible for some good old team bonding sessions

I do not agree with incentives to encourage staff to come to work, they are lucky that they have jobs of course sickness could be genuine

not much help but i certainly would not run my setting like this

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I too was very shocked to hear the level of ebsenteeism that that you have. It would appear to me that teamwork has gone out the window. I think in most small settings, staff understand very clearly the impact that their absence has both on the children and the workloads of their colleagues. That, combined with the lack of sick pay in most smaller seetings I am sure helps to reduce sickness absence.

 

It strikes me as odd that the HT is doing so little here.

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It must be very aggravating for the ones who turn up regularly! As others have said, the settings I have worked in have been the opposite where staff would generally drag themselves in regardless as they knew the impact an absence would have for every one else. Trying to get someone to stay at home when they were genuinely ill was the problem I had!

 

The world we live in is changing, and more recent employment laws have made it much easier for people to stay off work for longer and longer periods of time. For some there are genuine reasons but unfortunately others take advantage of it. Employers hands are tied on the matter. If a doctor signs someone off with stress for instance, there is little you can do, and employers who put pressure on staff to return to work may find themselves in a difficult position later on.

 

Sorry, not very helpful I know! I suspect that the headteachers hands are tied though, and there is little she can do about it.

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Could you come at this from the keyworker angle, i.e. it is almost impossible for children to develop a bond with keyworkers if staff are off so frequently. And mention Ofsted wouldn't be happy?

 

Good luck, not easy as Beau says employment law is great for protecting employees but can make it very difficult for small employers.

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Does your HT not have a Staff Absence policy and monitor attendance, including return to work interviews when staff are off? Implementing this can reduce absence to some extent as staff realise the implications of being off. It also protects the employer. This is also useful where staff are persistently absent if it becomes necessary to begin a capability procedure.

http://www.acas.org.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=241&p=0

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Thanks all for your replies. Am reassured to hear that most of you are as outraged as I am! Trouble is this has been going on for a long time apparantly- I've only been at the Nursery since Christmas, so staff would be shocked if what they've been getting away with was suddenly challenged!

Just to update you on today- we had 4 staff off today, including 1 who was off mon, tues, weds, came in yesterday for her ppa time and then suddenly relapsed overnight.

 

They are just making a mockery of everyone else who works hard and with dedication.

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Time for someone to get a grip on this then as, at the end of the day, children need consistency and staff need to understand their responsibilities. Is there some reason they feel able to do this? Do they feel a valued part of the team?

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I infer from your initial post this is a maintained nursery school? As such there should be LA sickness procedures that apply to all employees, including no of acceptable days off in any rolling 12 months (in mine = 6) and the procedures for dealing with staff.

Some things are outside of this e.g. pregnancy related issues, but frequent periods of absence would be an immediate trigger.

However the HT is the one responsible for ensuring the management of staff absence(unless delegated to line managers).

 

Is the playgroup managed and run separately from the nursery school?

 

CX

Edited by catma
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to answer above questions, yes , they do get paid for time off sick and yes, we are a maintained nursery school.

 

Playgroup is within the same building, but a seperate setting, but staff have same pay and conditions as nursery staff.

 

Thanks for your replies, I will find out what our LA limit is- even though i've worked for same LA for 20 years, I've not as clue what it is as I've never seen absence like this in any of the schools I've worked in during that time.

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