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Time off


Mollieben
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Just a query into how other managers manage staff time off requests. (Mainly for full-year settings as I know term time only works differently). Apart from holiday entitlement, what other absences do you grant? We have always been very flexible (too flexible in my opinion) but I feel staff are beginning to take the mick now. For example, do you grant time off for appointments, interviews, funerals (not family), last minute half day requests etc...? thank you ladies - I am feeling overwhelmed with other people's problems.....:(

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Not full time ( though staff don't always toe the line and appointment or interviews don't have regard for holidays only) Acas is always a good starting point to find out what time off you are legally required to allow and wether paid or not, I did add an appendix regarding funerals (who's, how long, paid/not) as one of our staff took up 'funeral attending' as a 2nd job :/

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I have always tried to accommodate provided that I can cover without disruption to the setting/children.Staff don't get paid so will try to swap sessions etc if it arises.

We are a small setting which can make cover difficult but on the plus side, staff tend to only request essential time off and are keen not to put more stress on their colleagues.

I have refused a few times, general appts that could be rearranged etc.but have never refused funerals (friends etc) as have been able to cover.

If I had to buy in agency staff for a non relatives funeral ...don't know.

I can imagine I may have a different approach if I were in a large setting with multiple requests though.

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We never refuse really but it is all getting too much lately. It is generally the same people that ask and it is unpaid. I can usually cover the absence but is it fair on the rest of my team? Some of them seem to think they can pick and choose what hours they do. I very, very rarely have any time off that is not part of my holiday entitlement as do my long term staff. For example, how much time off would you think is acceptable (unpaid) in the event of the death of a grandparent?

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Maybe you will have to put a stop to all of this and only accept requests say a month in advance. Hospital and funeral request maybe slightly different but surely there can't be that many of these. It is not fair on the children, staff need to be working their contracted hours. And if they are too busy, they need to find another job.

 

Many years ago when I was working for British Gas many collegue rang to say her dad had collapsed and she was waiting for the ambulance. She rang back a while later to say that he had died. The manager told me to tell her that she could have the rest of the day off! (But that was it, he expected her in the next day)

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Many years ago when I was working for British Gas many collegue rang to say her dad had collapsed and she was waiting for the ambulance. She rang back a while later to say that he had died. The manager told me to tell her that she could have the rest of the day off! (But that was it, he expected her in the next day)

That is absolutely dreadful

I really don't want to sidetrack this thread with my personal situation - suffice it to say - my lovely mum passed away on Monday evening - the idea that I could have gone to work on Tuesday would have been ridiculous - as luck would have it this is half-term for me so that didn't arise.......I intend to return on Monday but have had lovely messages from my staff saying 'only if you feel up to it' or words to that effect.........

Back to the original post - I am owner/manager of a small setting - so completely different to your situation - but that said 'a little kindness goes a long way'.........I always try to accommodate any 'time off' requests - but then I can do that safe in the knowledge that my staff would never take unfair advantage.....

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Guest sn0wdr0p

So sorry to hear your sad news. Kind words and actions mean so much at this time and it sounds like you have a supportive team around you.

My mother died many years ago and when I returned to work three days later following her funeral I found that they had marked me down as using holiday days off my holiday entitlement. I objected and they did reluctantly relent and allowed it as compassionate leave.

Thinking of you and sending my love.

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So sorry to hear of your bereavement Sunnyday.

I think this is an area where it is very difficult to have a blanket rule as individual situations vary so much.

As part of supervision we ensure that managers know people's family and health situations. Then, when staff request time off for medical appointments, we usually know they are genuine - or not. There have been a very few times when staff have asked for multiple times for appointments and no underlying health issues have been reported in advance. In those cases we have found that starting to say we are considering asking them to go to Occupational Health to get a health report seems to suddenly bring a recovery!!

Funerals are also tricky issue. If it is a parent or very close relative (not including grandparents) we give several days (usually 3) compassionate leave. Even this varies as it can be different if they are directly involved in planning the funeral, which would mean we gave them more paid days off. For all other funerals we will try to release the staff for the time needed but this has to come out of annual leave. I think it would be very different for a partner or child - but am very very glad to say we have not experienced that.

Hope that helps

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Sunnyday, I am also sorry to hear of your loss xxx

When my dad died, my boss at the time got my manager to phone me to say I could have two days off, BUT I had to count as one day the time i had taken to rush to his side as he died. (The same boss gave another member of staff two WEEKS off when her dad died a couple of months before mine and when I queried this, he told me it was at his discretion how much time he gave and that was that. His own father died a few months after mine and HE took a month off to get over the loss.......................)

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So sorry for your loss Sunnyday, sending a huge hug xx

We also have a discretionary policy on appointments and compassionate leave, we do ask staff to try to swop shifts to enable them to go to the Dr before/after work. With hospital appointments we ask to see the appointment letter. For funerals it depends on who has passed, but compassionate leave is usually given.

It is difficult trying to ensure ratios are covered but sadly illness and funerals happen and we strive to be as supportive as possible when they do, it tends to bring the staff back sooner as they know if they really are not well we will send them home.

As above though when we have had bouts of Monday/Fridayitus, or 'I've been sick but I'll be back tomorrow' - (oh no you wont, we have a 48 hour policy!) we have had investigatory meetings and that usually solves the issue!! xx

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So sorry to hear your sad news Sunnyday xxx

 

This is a real pain in the bum for me - we are term time only so staff have A LOT of holiday in my opinion but I still have staff booking holidays, they really don't care even though they know how difficult it makes work life, it is because of this that we always have to work 1 over ratio which is very costly and then if someone is off on holiday and then someone else is sick we've had it.

It is enough for me now to pack the job in - when another job offer comes along I will be gone; sad but I've had enough :(

That said I always give time off for appointments and funerals and their children being sick.

we don't have any relief staff and although I have tried I can't get any :( and in this day of qualifications & DBS required it's getting even harder to find last minute cover.

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So sorry for your loss Sunnyday :(

Obviously parents/spouse/child would be completely different - I would expect staff to take several weeks off, as long as they needed really. The director would decide on compassionate leave but I imagine she would give this in this circumstance.

I lost my parents very young so I think this has made me a little 'hard' when it comes to people losing grandparents as, although it is very sad, everyone will experience this at some time and it is more 'expected' than a parent or, god forbid, a child. I know this sounds unsympathetic of me...

Thumperrabbit - I feel the same. I had two requests for the afternoon off YESTERDAY! Both silly reasons. Suffice to say the answer had to be no. Sometimes feels like my job revolves solely around other peoples problems

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Sunnyday - so sorry for your loss, thoughts are with you.

 

Being in a school I don't have much to add except annecdotal. I have asked for a day to go to a funeral (aunt and uncle) twice in the last few years. I wasn't particularly close to them, didn't see them regularly but wanted to go to support my mum. My head was fine about it and although I can't remember how it came up said "If it was your mum or dad I'd expect you to be off for a week." I also know that if we have parent holiday requests for an extra day to travel to a family wedding he agrees to that. He does have a fairly broad idea about what constitutes the 'exceptional circumstances' he authorises holidays in though!

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Really Sorry Sunnyday I know how hard it can be.

I try to cover appointments, sickness and holidays whenever possible, I ask staff to swap where possible and say if they can get cover then there is no problem, where other staff can't swap I am often out of ratios so will cover if I can, so far I have always managed to work something out even if it means we are down a member of staff as long as we are in ratios I do try to let them have it. I think we need to be flexible especially as most of my staff are parents themselves and I know if I am flexible they don't mind as much when I ask them to do extra if I need them. I would never tell someone they can't take time off for a funeral again we manage as it is important that they go.

As for compassionate leave, I think this is down to the individual, I lost my mum and dad a year apart and the day I found out about my dad I stayed at work, which I think the staff were a little astounded by, but I needed to be busy and get on with things. It was my day off the day after I lost my mum but informed my deputy and said that I would be back in the next day as I needed to be in and doing rather than being at home. My parents were elderly and I think like Molliebean says it is expected at some time. Definitely not something that you can prepare yourself for as it is never easy but I know life has to go on and that is how I dealt with it. My grown up children took time off of work though and it did hit them very badly so I don't think we can always assume that people don't need time off for this reason. I would give my staff the option so they know they are supported and that I understand they may need time off to grieve and sort things. I just tell them to take the time they need and rally staff to get it covered, again if everyone understands they are often willing to step in to cover as needed.

We are a small team so often easier for us, but that also throughs up more difficulties when one or more staff are off at one time, so never easy I know.

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Sunnyday sorry to hear about your mum.

I lost my mum a couple of years ago. As owner manager I did pop in to open up & lock up and would you believe it ofsted turned up. Lovely inspector came back following day for feedback as day of inspection I had appts with funeral directors & persuaded dad to buy a new suit that day. Ah well.

Previous to this in my old school I asked head for time off for friends funeral she allowed it as an unauthorised day. This experience has made me more lenient with my team. But they are an incredible bunch of people and only ask for time they need.

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Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts - very much appreciated and a great comfort to me.

Apologies to Mollieben for sidetracking her thread - I felt so upset by the post re the 'gasman' and his lack of empathy that I just had to comment......

Thanks again xxx

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I understand your position about staff starting to take the mick when you are too accommodating. We try and say doctors and dentists outside of shift hours where possible, hospital appointments have to be proved and sometimes we ask if they can swop them to a better time, but obviously if they can't then they can't.

It all comes down to whether you can cover easily or it puts a lot of pressure on your other staff.

Funerals are yes but holiday used unless it is family when it is compassionate leave.

Without sounding mean, staff are contracted to work whatever it says on their contract and if you have to say no (for a good reasonable reason) then that's what you have to do.

I also find when I am feeling generous and let more than one person have holiday that you always get people phoning in sick as well and that completely messes up your day.

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Sunnyday, sending you hugs and thoughts.

I lost my Dad 8 years ago and I couldn't go up the day before he died because I had to do payroll! I was travelling when he passed away. I was lucky to see him a few days before. I had 2 weeks off to support my mum and because I live so far away with the funeral etc. Again that makes me abit hardened to it. Same as grandparents, I would obviously be very different with spouses and children.

It's when you get my best friends mum's aunt has passed away type funerals.

However I try my best but I prefer to only allow one staff off at a time to account for sickness

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