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Hi all,

 

My partner works as a nursery nurse in a private childrens nursery.

 

She works 25 hours per week Monday to Friday and finishes at 2pm each day.

 

It states in her contract that she must attend all staff meetings/training sessions, despite all of these being held out of hours after the nursery has closed at 6pm once a month, normally on a Wednesday. None of the staff are paid for these meetings, and people who are not at work at 6pm when the nursery closes are expected to return to work to attend. This is despite some of them living 20 miles away, however it is only a 10 minute drive across town for her, yet this still costs about 3 quids worth of fuel.

 

We have 2 children of primary school age, therefore unless I am home from work at that time (which is rarely) she cannot attend because there is nobody to look after them.

 

Due to her many absenses from these meetings, her boss is now saying that she must attend due to her contract and failure to do so would result in disiplinary action being taken against her.

 

Is this true when she is only contracted to work until 2pm each day?

 

Any advice please?

 

Cheers,

 

MP.

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interesting one this as its in the contract of employment

 

i would say it is unreasonable to have these work time learning sessions at 6 in the evening due to the fact most nursery school kids would be in bed

 

have these meetings allways been at 6 pm and does the contract state 6pm attendance

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Thanks for replying.

 

Her contract does not specify any time for these meetings, only that they are compulsory.

 

They have always been held at 6pm as this is when the nursery closes and all the children have left. They cannot be held during opening times due to Ofsted regulations regarding staffing number ratios in each setting. Basically, staff are all needed to attend to the children during the day.

 

MP.

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my advice would be a collective grievance in that it is unreasonable for you to bare travel and child care costs at your own expense

 

ask about the business providing travel and subsistance payments

 

why cant they have one to one interviews during the day instead of a collective and just hire a support teacher to cover

 

after all, its only once a month

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I suggested a collective grievance to her, but many of her collegues are reluctant to do this. Many are only young woman (late teens - early twentys) and many are scared that they will get the sack for it.

 

Meetings are always group sessions and never one to ones. Support staff are not used in the business.

 

I work for a much larger company than her and I have contacted my HR department regarding this. They seem to suggest that it is an unfair contract term as it penalises people who do not work full time or on the day the meeting is held, and therfore would not be enforceable. They also said that parental childcare takes priority over anything and that alone would be sufficient excuse for not attending.

 

Despite this, she is still worried.

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well yes

 

if they want to enforce this then it will be covered under

 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and vacarious liability for which i agree would be classed as an unfair term in contracts but

 

how long has she worked for the company

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take the children with her? They may become more flexible after that....

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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She has been there for 3 years now.

 

In that time, she has probably only attended about 30% of them.

 

Another thing also to note. The business has a chain of 8 different nurserys. All do have these staff meetings/team building sessions, yet some only have them twice a year! It depends on each manager how often they are held.

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She has been there for 3 years now.

 

In that time, she has probably only attended about 30% of them.

 

Another thing also to note. The business has a chain of 8 different nurserys. All do have these staff meetings/team building sessions, yet some only have them twice a year! It depends on each manager how often they are held.

 

 

i would recomend then a meeting with the area manager for example to see if you can all work it out

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take the children with her? They may become more flexible after that....

 

Hi,

 

She asked if she could do that, but the boss said no because of insurance purposes. Something to do with them not being registered as being cared for at the setting.

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Hi,

 

She asked if she could do that, but the boss said no because of insurance purposes. Something to do with them not being registered as being cared for at the setting.

 

so she can pay the child care costs then

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i would recomend then a meeting with the area manager for example to see if you can all work it out

 

Again, I also suggested this. But the area manager and her boss are as thick as thieves.

 

The company as a whole doesn't like bad publicity, so they try to sweep everything under the carpet in-house. Senior management always talk down to the general nursery nurse staff and people who make complaints are exposed as troublemakers.

 

All in all a bad place to work. That's why I was trying to find something concreate for her to use before pushing it further.

 

Once I have the facts, i'll know how far to go with it.

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Well, you know the legal position and you have had suggestion.

 

The real question is, what is she prepared to DO about it? Because if she wants a quiet life, you are no further forward.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I'm not sure I am comfortable with some of the very aggressive advice given here. "taking the children in" is not the way to get this sorted out. However it is a great way to make a bad situation worse.

 

The terms in the contract that state the meeting held at a specific point for all staff is in my opinion unfair, and puts people who have children and have to look after them at a disadvantage. The Parental rights will always superceed any contract that is in place.

 

It would be my suggestion that you approach this openly and in a positive manner, say to them "I really want to attend these meetings, but to do so puts my child at risk at home for reason x and y. How about doing a separate meeting at time xx so the part time staff can attend?"

 

I believe that this approach is open and cannot be ignored, if the employer then states absolutely that they will not do this, then raise a grievance. It is always very useful for you to have followed the correct path, even if the employer doesn't. You need to be seen as the reasonable party and the employer unreasonable. Should you then get disciplined then we can advise on how to appeal, and perhaps take it further.

  • Confused 1

I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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This is where you need to decide if it really is a real issue of not being able to attend or just principle of not being ripped off by the employer.

 

There will be both indirect sec discrimination and also imo what i'd consider to be an unfair term of contract, If the employer forces you to attend work a fundamental and implied term of any contract is that you are paid for it. legally i'd put my money on any dismissal on these grounds to be unfair. (hence why employers usually stitch you up on another issue when you stand firm on something like this)

 

All that said, standing your ground will probably win in any process that ends up in an unfair dismissal claim or formal grievance that is fairly considered (assuming they have 12 mths in) but unless your partner feels like Spartacus or is willing to take they day to day grief for doing so it may be better to put up with it if it is principle.

 

I also call bull**** on the Ofsted ruling, in my dealings with ofstead and people around them they are all about good culture and that doesn't come by forcing staff to attend work without pay. They may specify it should be done at time with the least disruption to pupils but that will be it.

 

If a complaint is put in it MUST be in writing to protect any future issue which may miraculously appear they after she says no.

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Thank you Atlas and Ibruk for your input.

 

In our case, she does not attend due to childcare reasons, but this situation annoys all the staff at the nursery.

 

Why should they have to work extra hours for no pay, even on a day they are not even due in at work? Some of the staff have a round trip of 40 miles to attend these meetings if they fall on a day they are not at work, and they get no pay or expenses paid to them.

 

Nursery nurses are very low paid to start with, and many of them simply cant afford the petrol costs.

 

I would argue that your contract is binding during the hours in which you are contracted to work. In her case this is 9am - 2pm. Anything that falls outside these "contracted hours" cannot be enforced and would be deemed an unfair term because the contract is only binding within the hours stated in it. However if this was the case, then none of the staff are contracted past 6pm, so technically none of them should have to attend, especially for no extra pay.

 

Some of the staff only get minimum wage, so by having to do an extra 1-2 hours unpaid work would make their overall pay fall below the national minimum wage. Surely this alone should be challenged?

 

The thing is, she only works these hours to fit around the children. She takes them to school in the morning, goes to work, then picks them up after school. Her bosses know that because she had to apply to change her hours of work when both the children started school, so they know that she isn't trying to make lame excuses for not attending.

 

MP.

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I would seriously be going down the indirect sex discrimination route on this one as enforcing this contract term will disproportionately disadvantage women as they are more likely to have child care issues and are more likely to work part time.

 

I wonder if ACAS could point you in the right direction for an organisation that could help.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I would seriously be going down the indirect sex discrimination route on this one as enforcing this contract term will disproportionately disadvantage women as they are more likely to have child care issues and are more likely to work part time.

 

I wonder if ACAS could point you in the right direction for an organisation that could help.

 

Hi,

 

Another member of staff has already contacted ACAS regarding this. They seemed to lean more towards the "you cant be expected to work for no money" stance. This was also the response from the Direct.Gov site.

 

These were both put to the manager, but all they got back in response was "it states in your contract that you must attend, so tough".

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I would seriously be going down the indirect sex discrimination route on this one as enforcing this contract term will disproportionately disadvantage women as they are more likely to have child care issues and are more likely to work part time.

 

I wonder if ACAS could point you in the right direction for an organisation that could help.

 

Whilst that test could indeed be satisfied, the OPs daughter wouldn't be successful as she'd have to show that she specifically was put at a disadvantage for those reasons. She isn't, because she doesn't have children.

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Whilst that test could indeed be satisfied, the OPs daughter wouldn't be successful as she'd have to show that she specifically was put at a disadvantage for those reasons. She isn't, because she doesn't have children.

 

The OP refers to his partner and they have two children at primary school! Have you got your threads in a twist? :wink:

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The OP refers to his partner and they have two children at primary school! Have you got your threads in a twist? :wink:

 

Lol, I actually misread the OPs previous post :)

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Out of interest, when your partner signed the contract, was she aware of this clause?If she was, why not discuss this issue prior to accepting the role?

 

The contract only states that all staff meetings/training sessions are compulsory.

 

It does not specify the time at which they are held.

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