Do you work more then your contracted hours?
Many early years practitioners understand the struggles faced with working more than just their contracted hours. It is a common problem and cause for debate in many early years settings across the UK. The concern is how far can these boundaries be pushed? And how much good will in working outside of contracted hours are practitioners suppose to show? Many practitioners are expected to show good will and stay for monthly practitioner workshops, additional training courses and parents evening and all without pay. This can also be argued is happening when practitioners receive unpaid breaks but are expected to stay in the building for ratio reasons, this is not therefore allowing practitioners to receive their full break and if they are still being included in ratios should technically be paid for this.
There are concerns that with the ever growing early years market and the current government proposals to increase the free funding and offer more tax free childcare that these instances of being unpaid will become more and more common, especially as the early years workforce are being stretched to meet demands.
Many early years settings are within their rights to add additional working hours into contracts by offering practitioners a salary rather then a monthly pay which would change depending on the number of weeks/days in each month. However this leaves practitioners open to having more additional duties being added into contracts more regularly.
How does this affect early years practitioners?
The impact of these actions leave practitioners suffering with low morale and feeling unappreciated. Many settings experience high staff turnover due to problems such as this. This then has an impact not only on individuals but also on the setting and the level of care received by the children. Many practitioners who are older and more qualified find themselves seeking work elsewhere searching for positions which offer better rewards meaning the level of care is depleting as the levels of experience and qualifications decreases. Practitioners should be recognised and rewarded for the outstanding levels of practice they give each day. A structured pay system should be in place which recognises and values practitioners who give extra by attending meetings, training and parents evenings. Trade unions are now asking for practitioner to be paid what they work!
We would love to hear your views on this……..