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Helpline:School Management

We have had a teacher on sick leave since last February, apart from 2a brief spell back in June. Do we calculate his sick-pay from the first day of his absence?

I assume that your school is either an LEA school or one which is operating under the conditions of service agreements, known collectively as the "Burgundy Book".

The agreement on sick pay entitles the teacher to receive sick pay at full pay or half pay for prescribed periods, depending on the length of service, within any one year. For anyone with four years or more of service, this provides full pay for 100 working days and half pay for a further 100 working days.

The year, for the purposes of these calculations, starts on April 1. The additional provision, which is interesting in your case, is that, where a teacher is absent sick on March 31, his continued absence after that date is deemed to be part of the preceding year. Thus, your absentee, assuming he has at least four years of service, was entitled to full pay from his first day of absence until his return in June and then, when he went sick again, the calculation began again at that point, giving him an entitlement of six months on full pay thereafter.

One of our office staff is complaining about eyestrain as a result of working with a word processor? Does the governing body bear any responsibility in this matter?

Very probably it does. If it can be shown that the condition is directly related to the conditions of work, it comes under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the employer is required to do something about it.

The problem may be remedied by changing the position of the screen or altering the lighting arrangements. Possibly, the individual may need to wear special glasses when working on the word processor. Perhaps the person should be given more varied work, so that shorter periods are spent in front of the screen.

Expert advice should be sought and, whatever is advised, the governing body should, as far as it can, see that it is provided, including purchasing the glasses, if that is what is prescribed.

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