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I have paid staff for breaks and childrens illness in the past


Wendy123
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A member of staff is taking a lot of time off and she has been paid for it in the past......she has been allowed to take breaks when she isnt entitled to one ...can I now stop this as its causing the group financial problems .

 

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I kind of know where Wendy is coming from, it's those little things that you allow for all ( because you want to be a kind understanding boss) from time to time a docs appt, children's assembly etc and then all of a sudden you realise that someone is just really 'pushing it' and ruining your kind nature - I find it very tricky to manage

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It can be very useful to also keep a log for each member of staff that records these extra little 'favours' for an odd hour or so . This quickly shows who is becoming a bit complaisant and constantly taking time off.. it also helps when others comment if you can show how much they have had., assuming they have of course..

 

One of the best ways to stop this was for us to say no pay for those hours.. and they had to find the cover before asking for the time off.. It made them realise how hard it can be to find someone to cover for those times.. and if no cover was needed as the ratio would still be ok for that time, the loss of income was enough for them to think again. I did find that staff would end up swapping hours - they had to get the swap approved but it usually worked out well..

 

All staff should have a contract.. so that is where you will need to start..

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We started by setting up forms for staff to fill in for absence, differentiating between their sickness, appointments that can't be made at other times (eg their own hospital appts, appts for child to meet reception teacher, weddings, funerals...) and requests for holiday (which is unpaid as we're term time only and get our holiday pay over the school holidays).

 

If they don't work full time, staff can swap a day to cover for planned absence (& holiday must be arranged at least 3 months in advance & cover be available), but we still log that they've changed the day & why. (When we brought this in, it caused some dissent with staff questioning why we needed to log that they were off with a sick child, swapped a day etc, so we explained we needed to be able to say why someone wasn't in, that a reference will ask 'how much time off sick?', see if the days we were asking people to do were the right days for them, etc.)

 

We log for each member of staff every absence & the reason, and they don't get paid for them (except funerals as under our compassionate leave policy, which says basically 'we understand you need time off & you can have as much time as you need though we do need to have an idea when you'll be back for cover, but you won't get paid for the whole time', & specifies how many paid days absence you get for various categories of relationships).

 

We can then easily track it and at supervision, appraisal, probationary review, can say "So, colleague, you've been off once a fortnight for the past term - how can we improve on this? Do you need to reduce your hours so we're only expecting you to work the hours you are actually working?"

 

Our contracts state the time to start working by and the finish time and how many hours are worked over the week, though the breaks are not spelled out in the contract. Staff are told in induction that they get 20 minutes lunch break a day (if working over 6 hours). Staff working more than 1 session (3 hours) but less than 6 hours do get a 5 minute break away from the children for a hot drink & check their phone.

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