Friday, 23 April 2010

Should we pay teachers delayed because of the volcano?

OK so I have followed this debate having been caught up in it myself. Before getting to the question of whether or not to pay I recall that, of the several people I knew who were stuck in the South of France, some of us got our rear ends into gear and made our own arrangements whereas others resigned themselves to an extended holiday while 'the powers that be' sorted something out. I decided that I wanted to be back for starting the first day's work with a new client who is paying me (and would not have done so had I not turned up, no matter how understanding and sympathetic they were) - I wonder if the others were in the same predicament of 'no work, no eat'?

Individuals make their own choices about where and how to spend their holidays and, as in the rest of their lives, must accept the consequences (both positive and negative) of those choices.

I have expressed the view elsewhere that I would like to see some guidance (not instruction) from the LEA. Given how little discretion we have over pay matters it seems odd that in this delicate situation we are faced with the prospect of teachers on the same site (co-located schools) or even in the same classroom (partnership working) being treated differently.

If I were issuing that advice, it would be more or less along the lines of - these were extraordinary circumstances initially outside the control of the individual; we recognise that different individuals faced different challenges in getting home and that making your own way home from the south of France is less challenging that from Mexico; we also recognise that some individuals will have incurred considerable expense to get home and that this may or may not be covered by insurance - this cannot be a matter that schools can get involved in as individuals made their own decisions regarding the type and extent, if any, of their insurance cover. Any staff member being absent leaves a hole that needs to be filled and schools may have incurred considerable unplanned additional expense in providing cover (Question - to what extent is this covered by the school's own insurance?)
In these extraordinary circumstances we propose that paid leave of absence be granted for up to five days and that unpaid leave be granted for any period beyond that during which staff members are unable to return to work because they are stranded abroad.
As always, any individual cases suggesting different treatment will be considered on their individual merits.

What do you think?