Teachers giving notice late

We have two teachers (in different departments!) who have just resigned, despite their deadline for getting their full term's notice having passed. (Independent school, notice is one term; our contracts state that notice should be given on the last day of the term preceding the term they wish to leave)

They have both given notice 2 weeks into the new term, and both have said they would like their last day of service to be 31 August (normal last day of service if a teacher gives notice at the end of the spring term). 

Head is not keen to pay them until 31 August, given they have not given adequate notice. Their last working day will be 10 July. Where do we stand on not paying them up to the end of August and what date to pay to?

Any advice?

  • In a nutshell you must pay them up until the 31st August otherwise it is an unlawful deduction from wages and breach of contract.

    However, as they have breached their contract by not giving the required notice, you can make this known on references.
  • In reply to Kimberly:

    Thanks, I thought that would be the case.
  • Arguably they will be in breach of contract if they leave before their contractual end date, which would be 31 December. I don't think that you can or should 'win' by also breaching the contract by withholding their pay - if they work to the end of the summer term, you will need to pay them until 31 August as usual. I can't see any tribunal feeling that the school were acting fairly in withholding pay.

    However, you can simply hold them to the notice period that is in your contract. Sure, they could decide to leave anyway and be in breach of contract - but it's a small sector where everyone knows everyone, so I'd certainly advise both teachers to be cautious about demonstrating that they don't meet the obligations that they agreed to. It doesn't read well in a reference.

    At the same time, we all know that if you can fill the vacancy permanently for September, that will probably be a better outcome for the pupils than holding them to the date in their contract. I would usually offer a compromise that their end date must be 31 December, unless I manage to fill their vacancy sooner - in which case I'll release them at end of August.

    Good luck!

  • Hi Jane

    Your head teacher seems to be somewhat challenged in the human kindness / employee relations / pragmatism departments........
  • In reply to Nina Waters:

    Thank you. I should add that one teacher has only been here since January and one since the end of February. It's really frustrating - both are leaving due to changes in family circumstance (one is moving to the other side of the country so would definitely not stay for the extra term!). We are advertising now and hope to fill both posts...
  • In reply to Jane :

    On a purely pragmatic side of things, will they even have accrued enough holiday by 31 August for you to have to pay them through the whole holiday?
  • In reply to Robey:

    It's about the way that teacher contracts are worded - that any resignation between Xdate and Ydate will expire on 31 August/31December/unspecified date in April. So it's not about the holiday per se, but acknowledging that their contracts include pay for term time, pay for statutory holiday and then non-working time, but that the whole lot is divided by 12 for ease of payroll.

    Jane, we word our contracts for people in their probationary periods differently, so that they only get a 2 month notice period without the normal term end dates. That might help going forward (clearly not for right now), but does also come with the risk that they can leave you without cover if they resign at the wrong moment.

    Good luck.