Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Staff Contracts


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi

I wondered if anybody out there had had any experiences of changing staff contracts.

We are a committee run pre-school, we wanted to change the staff contracts so they came in at 8.30-8.45am and worked till 3.15pm. so as to aid what we need to do to meet gov's 10 yr strategy and to allow for setting up time and putting away time etc

Problem is we have had a mixed response as to whether we are allowed to do this.

A committee member seeked advice from his legal advisors at his company and ACAS who say yes we can change contracts as long as we give enough notice, inform them about what we want to do etc. but lawcall say we cannot change the contracts and we should employ another member of staff to cover these times, which is ridiculous as it would only be for half an hr in the morning and 45mins at the end of a session.

The staff i have at the moment are unwilling to work it and will not agree to changing there contracts

I'm confused as anybody else had to deal with staff contracts before

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at an employment law seminar just last week and no you cannot change their contracts. Because they are just that-individual contracts with individual people. So, unless they are willing to change then they cannot be altered. If you look on the DTI website here you will find a lot of good information.

Below is from that site

 

Variation of contract

 

The contract of employment is binding on both parties. This means that it is unlawful for one party to vary the terms and conditions in the contract without the agreement of the other. The contract itself may, however, include provisions allowing the employer to make important changes - for example, requiring the employee to move to a different place of work or to undertake a different type of work. In the case of a change covered by a provision of this kind, there is no variation of the terms and conditions in the contract and the change will be lawful.

 

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there no 13 week rule now? I was under the impression that the contracts could be altered if 13 weeks notice was given of any changes. How are all these changes in extended hours etc. going to work if we are unable to change contracts - if every member of staff refused, where would we be? You certainly wouldn't get anyone in for 15 - 30 mins - that's crazy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm this is an interested topic. Obviously we are all going to be affected by the changes we will have to make for the 10 year strategy.

Any reason why the current staff are unwilling to do it? Is it own children pickup?

We currently have a proviso in our contracts that our hours can be altered if there are not enough children but not sure if this means we can ask staff to come in early and work later?

 

 

Sue

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What reasons have your staff given for not wanting to change? Can these be negotiated between staff who can work these different hours and staff who can't?

 

I have adapted my contracts over the years ( with agreement of the staff at the times of changes). The two main reasons for adaptation was because like you I needed staff from 8:15 am and staff up to 3:45pm to enable set-up times. I also have the problem every year where numbers fall in September so hours have to be reduced.

Now my contracts are quite broad ie: staff have to be available between the hours of 8:15 - 3:45 and their contracted hours are between a minimum of 16 to a maximum of 36. These terms are made clear from the start of my recruitment process.

 

I would love to include a clause saying staff have to stay with me for a minimum of 3 yrs - What tends to happen is that staff gain their qualifications with me after 1-2 yrs, and then move on to higher paying jobs ( surestart etc). Or they become interested in preschool work whilst their children are under 5 and then leave once their children start school. I don't blame them. Until we can pay "professional" size wages, it is very difficult to maintain staff retention. The government is pushing us to open the hours to enable parents to work but our own staff are normally parents struggling to afford childcare to get their own children to and from school whilst holding down a job that requires them to work at these times. In the past preschool work was seen as a job that fits in with childrens schooling, with the development of extended hours and breakfast & after school provision this is making it hard for parents of young children to manage primary school hours alongside preschool working hours.

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all your replies

My staff are unwilling to work because off picking children up from school and dropping off. I have suggested we do the earlier starts or finishing later on a rota basis, a couple of times a week and maybe a friend could drop their children off at school etc, but they are unwilling to compromise.

With the staff i have at the moment there is no way we can meet the governments 10 yr strategy.

Last week i set up on my own as my deputy was off sick and no other member of staff can come in early, we are not suppose to be in the building on our own.

I'm not quite sure what we are going to do, we hoped changing the contracts may be an option.

We have a committee meeting when we go back in april to discuss it, i'm not quite sure what the solution is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've just hooked one of my contracts out and it states at the bottom that 'this contract is reviewed annually and is subject to change if necessary to enable us to work within the guidelines of Ofsted.

You will receive 13 weeks notice prior to a change (if not agreed to before).

 

To be honest only one member of staff has ever questioned her contract. In this profession, it's usually a case of us all working together for the benefit of the group, but I can certainly see problems ahead - we seem to be improving provisions (questionable) for parents, but at the expense of our own staff , who will pick up their children from school. One of my colleagues will have to pay for her daughter to go to an after school club, just so that she can stay longer at pre-school clearing away!

 

Peggy, your comment on the claus where they have to stay for a certain amount of time is a good point. I feel that people are using us as a starting point - I have interviewed people this week and the most excited, passionate and keen person was a parent volunteer. Two people were very honest and said that they wanted to gain experience with us to then go into a school xD another just said she had to start somewhere with raised eyebrows :( two more said that they just wanted ANY job to fit in around school :o

Needless to say I have given the job to the relatively unqualified person!

I have drawn up her contract on a 3 months probationary period, just in case, but I am confident that I have chosen correctly.

My colleagues husband runs a business and they state in their contracts that all apprentices must stay for 2 years - maybe we should do the same, although could you imagine working with someone that doesn't really want to be there!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have difficulty keeping the assistant staff once they are qualified and have a few months/years expereince and then they are off in search of better pay and career prospects as we advertise the same job for the third year on the trot!

I would like to put some kind of minimum work period such as two years but like Kymberly says its not much fun working with someone who doesnt want to be there and it ruins the work environment

 

we are changing out openning hours and luckily the staff have agreed but I was in a panic that if one said no they would all say no

 

I can understand staff not wanting to change things because of childcare arangement, its frustrating for childcare workers, paying someone to look after their children while they clean up after somone elses, the whole childcare industry make me think of a dog chasing its own tail!!! cannt we just cut out the middle man and each stop and home and look after our own kids?

 

on the subject of contracts "giving notice"

what is a reasonable amount of notice a member of staff should give? Ive never formally set a period of time because each situation is different I suggest a month but ideally I would like a term (12 weeks) but can I demand that long? some staff in the past have given me chance to replace them but the majority have just anounced the week or two before we break up that they wouldnt be coming back the next term! thinking that the holiday will count as notice period and time to find a replacement. obviously that has left me running around like a headless chicken during the holidays instead of resting with my family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our pre-school pays for members of staff to train - i.e. the cost of the course and 1 days pay to attend training but they have a new contract that they must sign saying that they will work for pre-school for a minimum of 2 years after they have completed the training. Affording to pay for the training can cripple the funds so I am not sure whether it is worth it.

 

I also understood that you could change contracts with 13 weeks notice. If the member of staff chose not to then you would be looking at redundancy which can also be expensive.

 

Negotiation is so much easier - give and take on both sides and a nice big smile :D .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can sympathise with you Alison, I'm in the same boat at the moment. I've spent this first week interviewing and desperately need someone to start after Easter. I would like to have references checked before we go back, but as they are working in other groups at the moment, this cannot be done. That's why I'm putting them on a short term probationary contract. Three of my staff have left since Christmas, one was my Deputy who has now gone into a school and another two assistants have gone down the same route, after gaining the NVQ2 while with us!

Peggy was right when saying we need professional sized wages to keep our staff, but we can only offer what we are able to, which by no means is enough.

I have 2 members of staff who have been with me for over 10 years with just the basic qualifications and they have been the most loyal and hard working members of the team. They were both mums who started as parent helpers and just didn't want to leave. They both feel pressured to do more in-depth training by the PDW, but I support them fully if they don't want to do the courses. I've another mum that is doing her DPP and again, because she started as a parent helper, she is very loyal to the group and is very keen to stay with us.

I am now very cautious of taking staff on who have never had links with us - 'outsiders' are surprised at the amount of work that is involved in setting up/packing away, paperwork etc. and the commitment and genuine desire to be there soon dwindles and they seek greener pastures!

 

I advertised for people with at least an NVQ2, but the lady that phoned first had only done a few courses, but my goodness, she certainly won me over with her attitude, she was so excited that I said she could come in for an interview with the possibility of covering for sick leave. Again at the interview, her enthusiasm was excellent and my Deputy thought the same as me - just grab her!!

My biggest fear really is the amount of record keeping we have to do and I just hope she's able to cope with that side of things. Obviously we'll all support her, but hope we don't have an ofsted visit until she is settled!

 

It's funny how staff always find these jobs just before the holidays, we ask for at least 3 weeks notice, but sometimes it's just best to let them go and cover their days (if you've got enough staff left!!)

 

I have been supervisor for 14 years, and had the same staff for at least 8 of those, it's only these past two years that staff have left, finding better paid (and less work) jobs in schools. Although they are just as stressed because their workload is beginning to increase as more and more tasks are put before them. So it certainly isn't greener on the other side. They definately don't have the laughs we do!

Crumbs, I've waffled again!! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

We pay for our staff to be trained, at the moment i have a member of staff who is due to finish her level 3 at christmas and a level 2 due to finish in april. We have paid for the courses, £200 and £400. These are the staff that are saying they cannot work the hours and are threatening to leave in september. I agree with you its a good idea to put they have to stay a certain amount of time after the training, this is something i must add to the contracts.

In my old pre-school we had none of these hassels, we had 6 of us, 4 of us had worked together for 8 years for little money, putting in extra time not getting paid for it, starting earlier than you are contracted for and leaving letter and not expecting to be paid for it, we just loved our jobs and enjoyed what we did. Then i moved area with my husbands work and took on a pre-school that was not brilliant, many areas needing addressing, staff not knowing what the foundation stage is, it has been a struggle and i have put in many hours at home doing things for the pre-school, but out of six staff only one is dedicated the others will not do paperwork at home, the other day i asked if a member of staff could do some cutting out at home and was told they are not paid for it its theri own time. I miss my old pre-school.

Now we have all this hassel with the contracts. I have put an add up for temp staff just in case the worst happens. But i have to admit i'm not sure how this is going to be resolved. with 4 of my staff unwilling to compromise not even on a rota basis doing a morning each i can't see what else we can do.

Oh no!!! I'm rambling again, sorry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sim city I have every sympathy,

its the same in my setting the ones who where there years ago working for practically nothing are brilliant and will suport me in the development of the group, newer staff who were paid proper wages from the start moan about so much, some quiet legitimate problems that are out of my control and some petty problems that could be solved if they would be a little bit more flexible and co-operative.

 

its so difficult to get the same level of dedication from all staff which then makes an imbalance in the work load and then problems in the team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like others have said, the only downfall of saying " stay for 2+ years" in a contract is that in reality there is no point in having someone who doesn't want to be there.

 

I ask for one months notice, because I pay monthly :oxD:(

 

I recently had a member of staff give notice and I "let her go" after 2 weeks, luckily I was able to cover her whilst I recruited.

 

Recently my staff have gained free training, but if I did pay for training I would have a clause saying if they left they would have to pay back the training costs. ie: a one year course at £200, if they left within the 1st year of passing they would have to pay back the £200, if they leave 2 yrs after, they pay back £100, if they stay for 3 yrs no pay back required. :D I've never had to do this yet, as said, staff have had free training.

 

All I can say is thank you to all dedicated staff, I try my best to provide a happy, motivated working day but over the last 5 years the pressures have certainly built.

I've just done my budget for next term - income £17,000, wages £10,000, allowing for staff cover to enable paperwork at preschool, not at home. plus other costs. I will receive £2,500 for myself ( self employed) for 14 weeks work :( . Then 50% go off to school :( .

Times are hard but I wouldn't change the fact that I am lucky to work with children who give me much more than money ever can. :D:D

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going slightly off track here but Hampshire County Council paid for me to do my DPP via a bursary and again for my Level 4 this year, but if I fail to complete the course, I am required to pay the bursary back!! Which is quite right, the level 4 costs over £500!!

 

One of our staff members has been just compeleted her NVQ Level 3 and her assessor has just offered her an assessors job at 8K per year for 20 hours per week!! There is no way we can compete with that we earn about £3K per year and dont pay for paperwork done at home or planning meetings etc. At the moment she is still undecided so we will have to wait and see. The same week that this staff member was offered a job, another staff member (just completed Level 2) went for an LSA job at our local school....she didnt get it though.

 

Jenni B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

I just thought i would give you an update. We had a meting last night and we have sought legal advice about the contracts. You can change the contracts as long as you give a consultation period were you explain to the staff what the problems are, ask if they have any ideas about how you can cover the hours that need to be covered etc. After the initial meeting you have to put this in a letter with a date for a months time for another meeting, after this you can legally change the contracts. That is what we have been told by a solicitor.

The committee have had the meeting with the staff and have issued them a letter for another meeting in a months time, i have mixed views about this. Yes its good that we are getting the pre-school in order but i do worry the staff will leave, we only have 6 staff and i know 3 are not happy.

My other thought is that we have to do this if we are to offer what the government want with 3 hour sessions, lunch clubs etc.

But my question is do we start back in september doing the 3 hr sessions/lunch clubs as it is the start of the year ready for the funding criteria the government bring in as we are redoing the contracts and have this covered or do we wait till we know exactly what is happening.

I don't know if i have explained myself clearly, hopefully i have.

I just wondered what thoughts others had on this.

Any thoughts much appreciated, by the way we are a sessional pre-school

which opens term time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Kent, we do not have to offer 3 hr sessions yet. ( but do have to offer 38 wks, as of September- if we don't we are only funded for 33 wks :o ). Parents, I presume will choose settings who offer the full 38 wks funded places as apposed to settings only able to offer 33 wks funded places.

 

I'm not sure when the 3 hr sessions come into effect (without looking it up). I think you are right to start developing contracts towards these requirments, but if you have time to enable staff to cope with these required changes, all the better for staff morale. I think that it would also help to ensure staff know that these changes are government requirements and not you, as employers, being difficult. Check with your local EYDCP on timescales for having to provide 3 hr sessions.

 

Maybe when the staff realise that this has to happen, they may be more open to flexible arrangements as previously suggested, ie: sharing school runs. Change is always a difficult thing to manage, but at the end of the day, these changes have to take place, it would be in your staffs best interest ( if they really value their jobs) to work with the employers ( committee) to deal with the changes as best they can for all involved. This requires communication, informed choices, flexibility, co-operation and negotiation toward achieving a required goal.

 

Informed choices means that staff need to know that if you don't offer 3 hrs, you lose funding, which inevitably will seriously affect the preschools sustainability, which in affect will seriously affect whether there are any jobs available at all in the future. The employers must also consider that for some staff, the extra hours are just not practicable - ie: my daughter is in receipt of some benefits which are seriously affected if she just adds an additional hour or two to her income - ie: it costs her more money than she gains in pay which is taken from her in lost housing benefit). They may have other reasons which should be respected and not judged, the committee needs to know who can or can't work the required hours to plan their recruitment programme.

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, forgot to add, just a thought - Why not include all staff in reviewing the preschools business plan. This will help inform them of all the issues and help all involved to have an agreed aim to work toward the successful business of offering preschool provision in line with required government policy.

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Peggy

Wise words as always.

At our meeting with the staff we explained that we needed to do this in order to recieve the funding in the future, without funding the pre-school could not operate. That we had called this meeting to find away that we could work together and find away we could meet the requirements, that we wanted to be flexible and one way was to do the extra hrs on a rota basis etc..........

But 3 of them sat there and just said well i can't do any of it, so what am i suppose to do, will i have a job. i can't start till 9am and i must finish at 3pm, to pick up my kids. I do understand where they are coming from but i also have to see the side of the pre-school,

Oh, what a dilema!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if they leave it leaves 3 staff to run the pre-school and that is including me as manager, doesn't look good.

Never mind, its the Easter holidays. i'll go back to my planning and paperwork, which i'm trying to get done so i can have the easter weekend free to spend with my family!!!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot to say.

I spoke to our early years, they say that it should be april for the funding for the 3 hr sessions next year, but there is nothing def yet

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is probably still contract related but I am struglling to convince the nursery owner about breaks during the day for all staff.

 

As manager I am currently working at least 10 hours a day, usually without a proper break (another issue, she does not understand supernumerary, and continues to count me into staffing ratios) This is despite my protestations at the 48 hour working week, but she cannot fulfil my role effectively and only this week deleted half of the weekly registers.

My staff originally signed acceptance of job letters to work 8-4pm or 10-6pm and upon starting work it has transpired that they are only entitled to one 40 minute break a day, however if they agree now to work 9-6pm or 8-5pm they will get an hour lunch break but no increase in salary. Does anyone have any advice on break times and where I can find "legal" documentation to back my argument up. I want my staff if they are at work for 9 hours a day (and doing all of the cleaning) to have two 15min breaks and a lunch hour. Does this sound really unacceptable to anyone?

As manager I have overall day to day control (under protest and regular tantrums from the owner, but no real say in staffing and employment) and I see just how tired my staff get. Any pointers would be very gratefully recieved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found this on the DTI website-I'm afraid that it doesn't help you very much. As you can see it is only a twenty minute break if you work over 6 hours-so your staff are already well over that time.

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Linda's link to the DTI will be very useful for you, in the fact that it should enable your staff to know that they are "lucky" to get longer breaks. Not many employees appreciate the fact that only part of an hours lunchbreak is paid. My staff work 7 hr shifts with a 30 min unpaid break. At the end of the day, if staff demands exceed income they will eventually undermine the sustainability of a setting and poissibly end up with no hours/job at all.

 

 

If anyone has read my comments on a few posts tonight, including this one you may have gathered that I am not my usual positive, kind, emphatic person!!! don't ask me why. possibly PMT!!!!!!!!

 

 

AQs an employer, I have spent a few years walking on eggshells to maintain my staff, to then find that they leave me anyway. I have since become a bit more hardened in my approach. Jobs are scarse, we only really want to employ people who are commited, who will support the ups and downs of business sustainability. Sometimes I thin, is this too much to ask, but no the rewards are plentiful in this profession and the opportunities for personal/professional development but this comes with team manship, co-operation, compromise, positive attitudes not to employees who quible about whether they have had 10 or 15 minutes break.

 

OOOh, I hope I haven't offended anyone, just speaking as I feel at this particular moment in time.

 

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)