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Staff Taking Holidays In Term Time


hopeytg
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Advice please - our contracts clearly state that staff cannot book holiday in term time unless they have prior permission from

the committee - I have a member of staff who has just emailed me to say that she has booked a holiday for 2 weeks in June - (our busiest term with staff working their maximum days). This is the 2nd year she has done this - she was told last year that

it should have gone through committee first but she was given the benefit of the doubt as she claimed it was a surprise present from family. How should I deal with this - I feel mean as she does work hard but the reason she has given is that they can't afford to go abroad in the holidays - nor can I!!!

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Disciplinary I'm afraid. She is in breach of contract, has clearly been told before and has flouted the rules again. The fact that she can't afford to go any other time, is not I'm afraid your concern. I am sure all of your staff work hard and are probably in the same boat with affording holdiays. But rules are rules and how would the others feel if you allow her to get away with it for a 2ND year running. You know her best but I feel she is pulling a fast one and she should be dealt with accordingly.

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This is something we are also looking at present. Two members of staff have booked holidays in term time, however they are hard working members and our pay isnt great. At our last staff meeting we have said that before booking any holiday in term time I must be informed, where I will then try to secure cover for the absence, if I cant then they cant have it, so far we have managed to cover all of the sessions.

 

I do feel to ask staff not to take holiday during term time, is a bit mean, as they couldnt possibly afford to go during the holidays and everyone deserves a break.

 

Claire x

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What does their contract state? When I worked term time we were paid holiday pay in our wages and our contract stated holidays were to be taken in the school holidays, if holiday was taken in term time it was it was unpaid. We had somone who did exactly the same thing and expected to get paid, the first time she had a talking too but the second time it caused so much upset with other staff members who covered her work. She was disciplined and never did it again.

 

 

Tink69

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In an ever changing world I think this is a difficult one. I personally do not see a problem if it is planned well in advance (4-6 months) and not a last minute thing.

I think we need to consider our own flexiblity. I am assuming the person wanting to take hols doesn't have children that she is taking out of school? (if she was I would view it differently)

So, if she has no 'dependants' then perhaps not only would she like a cheaper holiday.......but maybe (shock horror) she'd like to go away when there are not many children around!! As long as she understands it's unpaid and you can arrange cover I don't really see it as an issue.

I would far rather have a good member of staff that works at the preschool because she loves the work, rather than someone 'who does the job because it fits in with term-time' .....if employing the right person means I need to be be flexible to, then so be it.

We do have certain ground rules though, for example we do say no holidays the last week of term when we are doing all the leaving stuff etc - mind you none of my lot what to miss the children's last day anyway!!

Not many staff do take holidays, but we do have the occasional long week-ends, and we never allow more than one off at a time- that one's set in stone.

 

With regards to the undpaid bit - the cheaper holiday rates usually outweigh the 'no pay' anyway!!

 

xx

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Mmm.. a tricky one this

 

We also state no holidays in term time and if people are considering it they must speak to the committee.

Do the staff take it on board? NO as far as they are concerned they don't get paid anyway if they aren't in.

As someone has already said 'disciplinary' could sort it out, however being in a small playgroup I don't think I could stand the bad feeling that would create!

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I have similar feelings to you thumperrabbit. We don't get paid if we don't work so if a member of staff asks for the time during term time and it is turned down the only recourse is disciplinary action. As a small group this could be very difficult to manage, but on the other hand we have had a number of sessions last year and the year before where we had to guilt our parents into staying as we really couldn't afford for a staff member to have been away. The crisis came because another member of staff then went off sick, but if staff had all stuck to the no holidays in term time rule we wouldn't have had the problem. We now have a new manager and a committee who are seen less day to day so staff cannot become as friendly with them (which sounds awful but previously they have used their friendship to plead a special case) and I'm hoping that this with a very exactly worded staff handbook will stop staff even asking but disciplinary might be where we have to go if they disregard a refusal :o

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difficult but needs addressing in some way.

 

I was always one of those who took holiday in term time... as said it is cheaper, but with no dependents and wanting a break at a time when there were less children around was a bonus after having to holiday for years at the more costly and child friendly time.

 

In our case it was understood we found our own cover staff for the period away,and we did not get paid for the time as our holiday pay was set weeks during the year.

 

As manager I understood both sides, and being a small staff found that while inconvenient we could allow it.. and had a happier atmosphere than had we said no way and then they resent being there... or take it anyway.

 

Inge

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I have no sympathy for your member of staff. A contract is a contract, end of, for me. You could easily say that people want to have their weekend on Mon and Tue when it is quieter in the shops!

 

I would reply to say that the holiday is not authorised, as per contract and discussion last year. You suggest that she rebooks, or risks disciplinary.

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Thanks for the replies - the person in question has a child in school so will be taking him out of school. Staff are paid statutory holiday which is given during the 6 week summer break so we get 12 pay packets a year. This is the first 'serious' issue I have had to deal with as Manager and I know it is going to cause bad feeling with the person in question but I do feel

that I have to show my authority - I can't cover the days as it is god forbid another member of staff goes off sick!!

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I think I might consider re-writing the policy to say that staff cannot expect holiday to be authorised unless alternative cover has been arranged and approved by the committee or maybe manager and that obviously this will not be paid holiday.

 

If someone has arranged alternative cover by a suitable person I can't see that there is a problem. I understand that this staff member is blatantly flouting the rules and this must be dealt with. She hasn't gone about raising her grievance in an appropriate manner and you don't want to allow any of the staff to believe that they can get away with simply ignoring those policies they find inconvenient.

 

However it might promote a little more peace and harmony in your setting if you can find a way to allow future term time holidays in a way which does not adversely affect the running of the setting. Clearly it's a big issue for this lady and you must decide if it's worth sticking to your guns over this issue considering what a valuable member of staff she is during the rest of the year.

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Even though pay is by 12 monthly amounts she should be deducted the wage for the time she is off... or it becomes additional paid holiday! and all will do it if they realise...

 

seesm your only alternative is to use a disciplinary procedure... we always had occasional staff for these contingencies... also for sickness... you never know when you may need someone as an extra.. not qualified, and often a parent or committee member willing to cover.

 

Inge

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Hi

 

I think you should email her back and say this will be on the agenda for the next committee meeting to see if permission is given by the committee.

 

If one of my staff asked me I would check the calendar for other appointments / training courses, and ask others for cover. What would happen if someone already had permission for a holiday in this period or you already had staff off on training courses? Without even thinking about sickness.

 

I think that taking advantage of cheaper prices / less crowded if fair enough. But the point is she should have asked first before booking it. It may not be convenient.

 

Children like to see the same adults / know who to expect in at each session.

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Where I am, I don't think it was stated that holidays had to be taken outside of term time but I just assumed this would be the case, after all there are enough weeks when the pre-school is closed for holidays to be taken.

 

I understand the point of cheaper holidays in term time; we have certainly felt it as a family this year as we wanted to go on holiday but I was adamant our daughter was not taken out of school for it. My other half couldn't understand my POV, as all she did in reception was play :o . I won in the end but we did feel the pinch. I suppose that's one of the things you have to accept though.

 

All that aside, I don't think I would feel comfortable taking holiday time in term time purely because I would feel as though I was letting everyone else down. There are only enough of us to cover the sessions we offer (plus our manager who is very hands on) but I don't think it would be received very well.

 

You have had some sound advice here. I hope you can find a way to resolve the situation. My personal thoughts on it are if the staff member has blatantly disregarded the "rule" of no holidays in term time, and has done so for the second time, then it is obviously not a misunderstanding and she should be subject to disciplinary procedures. I also agree with those who have suggested tweaking the policies a bit if your situation allows so that this doesn't happen again.

 

Good luck.

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if that member of staff is hard working and wages are not great what impact might a disaplinary have on her motivation to work hard in future? I personally would avoid a disaplinary if there is another way to work the situation such as let the member of staff know that she is making things very difficult by taking time off at the busiest time and make her get actively involved with finding the staff cover ie tell her she cannt go if she cannt organise cover.

 

Id look at ways that you can be flexible because what happens if one day you get the offer of a trip of a life time and want time off?

 

if staff think they are going to get a disaplinary they might start "chucking sickys" and not tell you at all and it will be alot harder to find staff cover

Edited by Alison
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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest jenpercy

Someone said something about the staff member organising cover - you need to be careful over this as I had staff who would ask others to cover for them without telling me until it was all a done deal - and sometimes I had already been planning to ask that person to work for some other reason.

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Thank you so much for your responses - I have spoken to the member of staff and made it clear that I can not authorise the

holiday and that if she continues to go ahead with the holiday she will face disciplinary action on her return, (I can't do anything until after she has taken the holiday - which doesn't help me cover it) Now just need to decide the correct level of

disciplin. - I hate being a Manager!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

A quick update - the person in question has now resigned. Problem solved only she has only give 2 weeks notice and

once again our contracts clearly state 4 weeks term time notice. Now looking for another member of staff!!

Thanks for all you replies it is comforting to know that other people have to deal with the same issues.

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I thought the problems were sorted - ie its her last day tomorrow - she has now gone and put in a complaint against me!! - Not a nice feeling at all - I feel I have dealt with everything correctly but now I am doubting myself. Role on the Easter Holidays

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Oh dear.

 

Being a manager can be very hard sometimes.

 

I'm sure that you have behaved fairly and professionally. You've clearly reflected carefully before making decisions so I would try not to worry about the complaint. She's cross that she didn't get her own way and I'm sure that this will be clear to all concerned.

 

Hope it's all done and dusted soon.

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Don't be concerned about the complaint - as others have said you handled the situation fairly and by the book , she has 'broken the rules' in two ways - one by booking the holiday when he contract states she cannot and also by only giving two weeks notice instead of the four as required. Any committee who upholds a complaint on that basis would have to be brought into question. Teachers and other 'term time only' workers have to abide by the rules - why should she feel she was any different ? I have had to handle similar things in my role as Manager but have always found our Early Years Team to be a useful source of advice and support. Why don't you give your Advisory Teacher or Development Worker a call and run it by them ? :o

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