Careers advice from Theodora Griff

15th March 2013 at 00:00

A bridesmaid's quandary

My sister is getting married eight days before Easter and I'm a bridesmaid. She wants me to be there all day Thursday and Friday, for the hen night, and to help out with the final arrangements. Friends tell me that the school won't pay me if I take these days off.

How lovely to be a bridesmaid. You must be very pleased. But why did you think that you would be paid if you had two days off for a social event? After all, your salary is in return for you being in school rather than at a hen night or wedding rehearsal. Sorry to sound harsh, but surely you can see the school's point of view?

You actually have a bigger problem than whether or not you would get paid. The main question is: will you even be allowed to take the time off? Some people believe that if you take unpaid leave, you have a right to absent yourself whenever you like. But you could not run a school or any other business if staff just made their own decisions about taking time off, paid or unpaid.

To make it easier for the head to agree, solve the problem before you ask. You must ensure there is no negative impact on learning, so find out who would be free to teach your classes and ask, in confidence, if they would agree to giving up their PPA time in exchange for you doing the same or more for them later. You can then go to the head armed with a strategy for how your classes would be covered appropriately.

Now start practising to catch that bouquet!

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2.

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