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Hi All


First post, here it goes.....


we are a pack away setting, pre-school, we employ 6 members of staff all part time. One staff member has a big issue about doing anything outside of working hours if unpaid, attending staff meetings, keeping up to date her learning journeys, craft activities for future sessions, even making playdough! So much so she went to the unions & they told her she doesn't have to do anything outside of normal working hours, so she does not attend weekly planning etc. has half an hour per week to do her learning journeys & is not asked to do anything else for fear of being shouted at!

The big issue is appraisals are due this week, staff had to take home the first part & score themselves against their job description & job satisfaction etc... But this member of staff has written all over her job description example


to assist with planning of the curriculum - IF AT ALL POSSIBLE


to attend courses - AS ABOVE


to name a few!! I have phoned law call & they will not speak to me as i am not a committee member, I will ring ACAS for advise & get a committee member to ring Law Call for me, but anyone any advise??

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Gosh this is a difficult situation. Any changes to job descriptions need to be agreed - she can't just change them to suit herself. Otherwise we could all accept a job and sign a contract with one set of responsibilities and then just decide not to do them if we didn't like them! There are set procedures that employers need to go through in order to change the terms and conditions of employment contracts, so I imagine there must be some mechanism for agreeing such changes at the request of an employee. ACAS would be your best bet here.


I'd go back to the notes made at the time by the person doing the interviews - often a question is asked about whether the candidate is willing to undertake extra duties in their own time. If she said at interview that this wasn't a problem and the position was offered and accepted on that basis then I would imagine that you'd have a case to say that she is in breach of contract. Putting it like that sounds very harsh, but at the very least the contract you both signed no longer accurately reflects her employment status with your setting.


That said, I don't believe anyone's contract of employment should state that extra work should be undertaken without pay, even though I know that most early years settings can only run with a certain amount of goodwill from practitioners. I say that as an employer, although in the past I have always done whatever is needed in order to get the job done, without seeking to be paid for every hour I worked.


What has she said on the rest of her appraisal form? Is she generally happy working in your setting, or has this refusal to work anything above her contracted hours stemmed from another issue or problem? It must be a very difficult environment for you all to work in, and to be honest she is going to feel quite isolated if she excludes herself from staff meetings and so on. It can only lead to problems in the long run, and I imagine her colleagues are pretty fed up if she is seen not to be carrying her weight, but you need to be careful about how you proceed from here.


Get good advice about how to proceed, because you don't really want a claim against you for constructive dismissal, and if she already has the unions involved then it seems likely she will consult them again to get support to respond to whatever measures you use to try to remedy the situation.


One other thought though - do you know exactly how many extra hours everyone is working above their contract? Is it absolutely impossible to pay staff to attend meetings, etc? Maybe if the setting can afford to make a gesture towards paying for some of the hours worked, this staff member might feel a bit more generous with her time.


The Committee really need to get this sorted - after all they are her employers and they can't be seen to be treating one employee more favourably than the others.


Good luck - hope it gets sorted without too much pain!

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I wonder how many other managers like me are reading this and thinking - yes I have a couple of employees just like that!

Unfortunately not everyone is passionate and committed - so frustrating - sorry no great advice - good old Maz has it sewn up as always - good luck, keep in touch and ask for advice - peeps on here are a lifeline xx

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not sure I can add much to what has already been said but wanted to wish you luck and hope all goes well. I would start with interview notes and job description and get advice from ACAS. Obviously you have in your job descriptions that she has to keep learning journals up-to-date etc. so maybe you could try friendly inquires in the appraisal into how she thinks she is managing these parts of her job and what could be done to help her, take lots of notes and work up an action plan that can be signed. It might be that she will just say she can't make it, or doesn't feel she wants to do these things in her own time, but it might also open up a conversation where you can get to the bottom of what is really going on for her. If set actions to be taken by you and her and she doesn't stick to them then you have at least something to fall back on in the future if you need it.


I got one of my staff members to come to planning by getting the committee to pay half an hour towards it, we all know it takes longer than that but it was a start and she then took the gesture the way it was meant and started to come. Is anything like this possible for you? As HappyMaz has already said though I would also talk to your committee in the hope they can be supportive so you don't have to carry this alone.


hope all goes well

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I wonder how many other managers like me are reading this and thinking - yes I have a couple of employees just like that!
Well I'm one for certain!


I'd just like to say that if you can take the advice offered here and deal with this as soon as possible it will hopefully benefit you. When I first read your post I had to check I hadn't read it a few years ago. We had something very similar, caused by a member of staff who was disgruntled over not being promoted, and then proved she wouldn't have taken on extra responsibility as required by the promotion role by refusing to do anything not specifically detailed on her job description, even though it said "other duties as required". The staff member then went onto cause discontent amongst the other staff until we had half of the staff behaving in this way, so if you can bring this situation to an end as soon as possible it will only be of benefit to you. The setting learnt lessons form the whole situation and now we have a wonderful team that really works as a team. However at times it felt we would never get that again. Good luck.

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Hi all


thank you for your advise. Unfortunately this employee has been with the pre-school 6+ years, she was a friend of the then manager, was never interviewed as i can see, no notes nothing!

I took over the pre-school 12 months ago as manager, there was then not much in place, so contracts of employment were drawn up, job descriptions given, these were all read & signed by staff.


I did her appraisal today, skirting over the issues we had already addressed extra time to complete profiles etc. in the setting. But i did point out that 'if she was unable to attend staff meetings, courses, planning meetings' how could she possibly fulfil her job description/contract by'teaching children offering the appropriate level of support and stimulation'. Answer- I have other commitments, I didn't have to do all this extra work this before!


But as far as ACAS & the unions are concerned she has to do no more than her contracted hours, if work is undertaken outside these she has to be paid, so my hands are tied.


We have just had Mrs 'O', can not say judgement as not out yet, but I am smiling. The setting has come along way from where it was 12 months ago & I know where I want it to be in the future, I just hope she doesn't stop us getting there.

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I think maybe this will force your group into considering how you can pay each staff member for every hour they work. Why would even the most conscientious practitioner continue to put in extra unpaid hours when they can see that one staff member is not contributing the same? Of course I could be wrong - I hope so!


I would hand this over to the committee and ask them how they want to proceed. Or don't they feel there's a problem?


Congratulations on your successful Ofsted. I hope you have a party planned! And will this lady want to attend in her own time? :o

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I hope not HappyMaz


I have already involved committee, a member sat in on the appraisal with me, they are going to feed back to the chair. Then we will discuss how they wish to proceed, i would love to pay all staff for all the hours they do, but funds are v low at the moment so we can not. I am determined that we get this sorted as I do not want it to drag down staff morale, so i will be asking committee to look at all aspects to try & resolve any issues.


Thanks for the advice, it has been v useful

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