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Staff goodwill Christmas Party dilemma


jlbss1
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Hi

 

Am looking for your opinions on staff goodwill and it seemingly being taken for granted.

 

I work in a privately owned pre-school nursery with up to 20 children per session between 2.5 - 4 yrs with 3 or 4 staff normally. The sessions run from 9.30am - 12pm and 12.15pm - 2.45pm with some of the children staying all day.

 

I am usually there by 9am after dropping my own children to school.

 

We do not get paid for setting up in that half hour before the children arrive (even though a few are dropped early and parents pay for the benefit).

We don't get paid for the 15 mins gap at lunch time even though you are still expected to supervise and help children with their lunch (whilst trying to eat your own).

Then it's normally 3pm by the time all children have left and last few things tidied up. Therefore a whole hours unpaid work per day!

 

It has always been this way since I started their as a volunteer over 8 years ago but whenever I've mentioned how other settings pay staff for setting up etc the usual response is "well we just couldn't afford to" and it's taken no further.

 

Add to the fact that now I'm qualified and have my own key children, I still get paid the same rate per session and nothing for the extra work at home involved e.g. learning journeys and profiles.

 

My morale is not good either as when I recently showed the manager the local area breakdown of salaries for the last year and pointed out to her that I was on less than the 'minimum average' for our area all she could offer was "well at least you're not on National Minimum Wage"!

 

This is my dilemma - the christmas party arrangements seem to have pushed me to the limit of my goodwill :

 

It is being held on a day I don't usually work so when I enquired if staff were going to be paid for the mornings work the answer was no and seemed to be presumed staff would work for nothing.

 

It just seems the more you give, the more they expect or just take for granted.

 

I really feel like 'making a stand' and not going to help but obviously this would cause a little 'bad feeling' and also it's lovely to see all the children enjoying themselves (which is why you do the job in the first place) and I don't want to let the children down.

 

Sorry for the long rant......I needed some release.

 

Any thoughts please?

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Hmm, I can understand that finances may be tight, but I really feel that the Christmas party is something that should be paid - I expect you will be required to get there early to set up and stay late to clear up? Also, if you normally worked, would you still be unpaid? Christmas parties for children seem like a reasonable time to offer a goodwill gesture, not to mention the recognition of how difficult these things can be to run smoothly!

 

When I worked in a pack-away, we held the Christmas party the day after we closed for Christmas, all staff were paid and Committee came in to help.

 

Sue.

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I have the same problem with the nativity this year being planned for a day I don't work. I've decided to make a stand and will not be going in. After doing 2 a year for 33 years I think I've done my bit !!! The new film is Nativity2 try Nativity66 :huh:

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Well I own a privately owned pre-school, and I can well understand your grievance over the unpaid work you do. My staff are paid an hourly rate, dependent upon their qualifications for all the hours they work, be that setting up (tho it is usually just little old me on my own as I don't need to drop children any longer) or staying on after lunch time to have a planning meeting. They also get paid to work on their LJ's at home, and for any outings we have on the day we are normally closed etc.

 

I would not dream of asking or expect anyone to work for nothing. If they put in extra time for the LJ's other than that which they are paid for that is for them to decide.

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Interesting.......

 

I really must start this post by saying that my staff are very well paid......their opinion not just mine as owner/manager! :1b

 

However - the Christmas party is held after end of term - children/parents are not charged for this - so therefore their is no 'income' attached to it.....(the cost of the entertainer, children's presents are met by a donation from our 'village fund' and from pre-school funds).......so, :ph34r: this is the one occasion each year when I do have an expectation that staff will 'work' for free......it's only a couple of hours and I don't think (I will ask tomorrow :blink: ) that they consider this event to be 'work' anymore than I do.......

 

I am rushing off to hide now! :ph34r:xD .

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Interesting.......

 

I really must start this post by saying that my staff are very well paid......their opinion not just mine as owner/manager! :1b

 

However - the Christmas party is held after end of term - children/parents are not charged for this - so therefore their is no 'income' attached to it.....(the cost of the entertainer, children's presents are met by a donation from our 'village fund' and from pre-school funds).......so, :ph34r: this is the one occasion each year when I do have an expectation that staff will 'work' for free......it's only a couple of hours and I don't think (I will ask tomorrow :blink: ) that they consider this event to be 'work' anymore than I do.......

 

I am rushing off to hide now! :ph34r:xD .

 

I wouldn't mind a couple of hours for nothing, the party is generally fun!

 

But our old manager expected us to come in 2 or 3 hours before the party to clear the room, decorate and generally set up, then have our lunch that we'd have to provide, run the party, then spend another couple of hours clearing away and setting the room back up - all unpaid. In fact, when I had to pay my childminder to have my son while I was there, I was paying to work for nothing. The party was run as a fundraiser, and made a profit every year, and would have still made a profit even had we been paid for the actual party time.

 

We're not actually having a party as such this year - I will not ask staff to work like that for nothing, so until the committee set up and clear away the party, there will be no party.

 

We're having a show on the last day of term, and we're finishing next Wednesday. Some staff have been asked to work a full day Wednesday instead of their usual half day, but they'll be paid for a full day! The children will sing the songs they've been practising, have festive snack with their parents/carers, and go and see Father Christmas for a present.

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I wouldn't mind a couple of hours for nothing, the party is generally fun!

 

But our old manager expected us to come in 2 or 3 hours before the party to clear the room, decorate and generally set up, then have our lunch that we'd have to provide, run the party, then spend another couple of hours clearing away and setting the room back up - all unpaid. In fact, when I had to pay my childminder to have my son while I was there, I was paying to work for nothing. The party was run as a fundraiser, and made a profit every year, and would have still made a profit even had we been paid for the actual party time.

 

We're not actually having a party as such this year - I will not ask staff to work like that for nothing, so until the committee set up and clear away the party, there will be no party.

 

We're having a show on the last day of term, and we're finishing next Wednesday. Some staff have been asked to work a full day Wednesday instead of their usual half day, but they'll be paid for a full day! The children will sing the songs they've been practising, have festive snack with their parents/carers, and go and see Father Christmas for a present.

 

Lyanne - I completely understand where you are coming from :1b

 

If the party (or anything else) is 'profit-making' then of course staff should be paid........

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Hi we have just had our Christmas party this afternoon and all staff are expected to attend and will be paid accordingly. It was lovely by the way.

We normally fit in a little light staff lunch between the two sessions and this works well for us.

It is also written into our contracts that we will be expected to attend events, training etc throughout the year as advised or required by the Manager or Committee..

We charge £3.00 per child which is a contribution towards a lovely gift, food and a entertainer.

Not bad considering each child has a personal named sack, gift from Santa, reindeer dust, sweets, etc.

Nobody has ever queried the cost as we offer the opportunity for all children to attend events on days throughout the year that they may not normally come to. So over the course of the year everybody gets extra as it were.

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Parties/nativities aside (if it isn't their day to work and they come in they get paid) I don't think you should be expected to set up/pack away and cover lunch not paid....that's terrible !

 

Wish we were closing on the thurs of last week, was speaking to another manager who said they were, asked if they,d only claimed 13wks 4 days funding but said no it wasn't many children and some of them would be in extra for parties/plays anyway....could I have got away with that ? .....too late now anyway :(

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Hi

 

Am looking for your opinions on staff goodwill and it seemingly being taken for granted.

 

 

Does the owner work in the setting?

 

I work in a privately owned preschool, and I ensure staff do not work unpaid either at home (unless it's something they want to do) or setting/packing up.

We have our party on a 'term-day' so staff are paid, including those who come in extra.

 

You do need to make a stand- however you need the rest of the staff on your side.

 

xx

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Stand your ground! I pay staff for setting up, clearing away parties, staff meetings, planning and give non contact for record keeping. No-one is paid less than £7 per hour. Is the owner driving around in a Jaguar, lol?!

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Could you just say you've made other arrangements because its your day off, but you could if pushed help during the actual party and not before or after?

I think its wrong that you're made to feel you should go in without pay, when those who's work day it is get paid. On the other hand, presumably next year the party could fall on a day when you're paid and someone else isnt.

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I pay all staff to work on party day and if it is someone's usual day off, i would ask them to work but would pay them.

I also invite all children free of charge who are not normally in on that session so that they do not miss out.

We ask parents for contributions of party food and keep everything as simple as possible and we always have a lovely time!

 

 

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it doesnt 'sit right' with me, that others will be paid and you are expected to go in without pay ! -especially taking into account all the other bits you have to do in your own time.

if it were me, I would like to go in ( cos I love a christmas party )......but I would only go in for a few hours during the actual party...then leave, tell them in advance that you can only come for a few hours...and stick to it.

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I manage a charity committee run setting and we have always paid staff for party day (even though parents are not charged for that session), staff also get paid for staff meetings, extra hour at home for LJs, but STILL my staff are 'petty' about doing little bits extra, for example, just had a social night for parents, friends and i was the only staff member who went along!...think might be sharing the original first post made above with my staff...think they don't realise how lucky they are :mellow:

Edited by meridian
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My staff are paid to set up, pack away, help with the Nativity Play and the Christmas party and attend outings - I even pay them for the sessions they work too :D and they get a supplement for the work that they do as keychildren. Rates of pay are not brilliant as my setting's income is capped by the low rates paid in respect of early education funding (along with many others) however they are above the minimum wage. Staff are also paid to attend training and training fees paid unless they wish to undertake training for their own personal satisfaction and it is something that is not particularly needed/relevant for the setting).

 

However - if we do a fund raiser I do expect staff as a sign of goodwill to offer their services voluntarily - after all a fund raiser is to try to raise funds and if you have to take wages out of what you make then there is little point in doing one. This expectation is made crystal clear to anyone applying for a job when we recruit - as in all walks of life there has to be some give and take.

 

I also try to keep my staff team happy with occasional danish pastries in the morning when we are setting up, the odd cake here and there, a little alcoholic beverage at the Xmas party (for the grown ups not during the session) and an Xmas pressie.

 

I am not a saint believe you me but I wasn't always an owner/manager and recognise that in a job where wage rates are not great sometimes its the little things that hopefully go some way to making sure that staff recognise that you value them.

 

We're not all bad owner / managers out there and sometimes I think that we get bad press and are tarred and feathered with the same brush as those that perhaps are a little more £ focussed.

 

Just to be devil's advocate however - some groups can only manage to stay open if their charges are v. low and by being v. low they can't perhaps value their staff as much as they would like.

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I have read the thread with interest but I suddenly realised that you work all day and so in fact are entitled to an actual break away from the children. If you are not paid then it should be a break.

 

If your contracted hours are 9.30 - 3 then those are the hours you are paid for so I think I would start arriving nearer my start time and taking a lunch break and leaving on time

 

I believe someone has been allowed to treat staff like this so has continued to do so, but this doesn't make it right.

 

Time to make a stand.

 

If the party is on a day that you don't work and you won't be paid, don't go. It will be hard probably but you have a choice. Not your day.

No pay

Don't go.

 

Let us know how this all turns out. Good luck

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I own my pre-school and staff are paid for setting up and clearing away, I also pay for staff for the nativity and the christmas party if it is not their normal day! Don't get me wrong I know staff still do things in their own time as is always the way with early years but they are certainly paid for the hours within the setting and some non contact time!

 

Kris

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I am not surprised that you are feeling demoralised at the current time. I wonder what your rate of pay actually is if you add up all the hours you are expected to do but not paid for currently. I know you say that you are paid above minimum wage but this may not actually be the case.

 

As far as I am concerned if you are expected to work, then those hours should be counted as your usual work hours. At the moment you and the other staff members are subsidising the setting!

 

What do other staff members think about it all?

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I own and manage a pre-school and pay my staff for the hours they work including Christmas Party day (even if it is not their normal working day). They are also paid for staff meetings, online training and attending training on their day off. I would not dream of asking them to work for nothing.

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Thanks all for your opinions and advice. Just to answer a couple of the questions :

 

The party is on a non-funded day so apparently none of the staff will be paid and have been told today it's up to each of us whether we attend voluntarily or not.

 

I know being in this job some unpaid time will occur - e.g. every summer we hold a fete on a saturday which takes the whole day including setting up and clearing away - all voluntarily.

 

Have thought about just turning up for the party - excluding setting up and tidying away but think I'd feel guilty leaving it to the others?

 

The owners do work in the setting along with 5 of us other part-time staff (who don't seem to mind as much as me) - or it's just accepted because that's how it's always been.

 

Thanks again

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Thanks all for your opinions and advice. Just to answer a couple of the questions :

 

The party is on a non-funded day so apparently none of the staff will be paid and have been told today it's up to each of us whether we attend voluntarily or not.

 

I know being in this job some unpaid time will occur - e.g. every summer we hold a fete on a saturday which takes the whole day including setting up and clearing away - all voluntarily.

 

Have thought about just turning up for the party - excluding setting up and tidying away but think I'd feel guilty leaving it to the others?

 

The owners do work in the setting along with 5 of us other part-time staff (who don't seem to mind as much as me) - or it's just accepted because that's how it's always been.

 

Thanks again

 

Hi and thanks for starting such an interesting thread :1b

 

I can understand your thinking........you are being 'royally' taken advantage of throughout the year which understandably makes you reluctant to commit to the party setting up/tidying - have I got that right?

 

For my part - I think that I would try and think of these as being two separate issues - I think that you really need to question why you are expected to work throughout the year without payment (something that as an owner/manager never happens in my setting).......

 

As for the party - if owners are not making any income you might feel that you could volunteer to help with this - especially as the rest of the staff team seem to happy with this arrangement........

 

Hope that helps a little :1b

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So what would happen if no staff turned up for the party? In theory it could happen........................... Why is it held on a 'non funded' day?

 

I feel your main issue is the non payment for setting up and putting away. What hours do your contract state? I do think that regardless of whether you are a privately run group with an owner or a reg charity with a committee you are being taken for a ride here. yes all my staff like most on here I expect usually come in 5/10 minutes before they are paid but then that enables us to get set up and maybe have a quick coffee and chat before opening and that is their choice.

Just because it has always been done like that doesn't make it right, you are working and I am sure if you add all the hours setting up, tidying up, christmas parties you do over the year together you probably arent being paid above the minimum wage.

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Thanks all for your opinions and advice. Just to answer a couple of the questions :

 

The party is on a non-funded day so apparently none of the staff will be paid and have been told today it's up to each of us whether we attend voluntarily or not.

 

I know being in this job some unpaid time will occur - e.g. every summer we hold a fete on a saturday which takes the whole day including setting up and clearing away - all voluntarily.

 

Have thought about just turning up for the party - excluding setting up and tidying away but think I'd feel guilty leaving it to the others?

 

The owners do work in the setting along with 5 of us other part-time staff (who don't seem to mind as much as me) - or it's just accepted because that's how it's always been.

 

Thanks again

 

Just because you're the one that's posting on here, doesn't mean you're the only one who minds! There seems to be an expectation at your setting that staff will give up their time for the setting without pay. And not really get appreciated for it. If the newsletter made it very clear that you all donate your time for these things and you were bought pizza for lunch, you wouldn't be feeling so bad about it?

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I pay my staff to come in if they are not in on the day of the party, we have all our children in, but i do expect them to come in and it is now accepted that they will be in on that day but to be honest they would want to be there.

 

I do think that if you ask staff to work then they should be paid, we would not do it if we were working for say a supermarket.

 

It is given though that there is some work done 'for love', this goes with the job, but coming into work in your own time is not one of them (my opinion)

 

 

Merry Christmas

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If it makes you feel better about saying no, I think you should focus on the implications for your role, rather than you personally. If you consider your job important, you need to preserve it's integrity. If you we're to leave, your role should stay. So you owe it to your position to make sure that you do the right thing. You may be willing to work for nothing but that will set the precedent for your followers which devalues the role. So say no , for the sake of the people who come after you.

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