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Too long acting up

Your job and career questions answered

I have been acting as head of department for three terms covering a sick leave that has turned into early retirement on health grounds. Is this reasonable or should the school have advertised the post by now?

You do not say whether you have been receiving an allowance for acting as temporary head of department. You should not be doing the job for this length of time without proper remuneration and the appropriate timetable that a permanent post-holder would receive.

It was reasonable for the school to appoint someone to a temporary post while there was the possibility that the head of department would return from sick leave. Now they have taken early retirement, I would expect the school either to reorganise the departmental structure or to make plans to advertise the post. You should ask what the timetable for an appointment is. If you do not want to do the job, and you think the school is exploiting you, make it clear that you will also start looking for another post if something does not happen soon.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email

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