Teachers paid Eid holiday withdrawn without notice

28th Jun 2019
Teachers paid Eid holiday withdrawn without notice

(Photo: Brett Jordan/FlickrCC)

Nadine Osman

Officials at a Slough special needs school have been accused of acting in discriminatory and insensitive manner after Muslim teachers’ rights to a paid Eid leave was removed without notification.

Muslim teachers and other members of staff at Arbour Vale School in Farnham Road, only discovered the changes in policy after they requested holiday during Ramadan in time for Eid al-Fitr (June 4/5).

They say it’s unfair they were told to take it off unpaid and fear it could set a precedent for other schools to follow suit. Staff were previously entitled to three days paid leave for religious holidays and were not expecting to lose this privilege after the school was taken over by the Orchard Hill College Academy Trust (OHCAT) in November.

Teacher Memtaz Khan, 50, told The Metro the new policy is “discrimination” and has refused to rule out legal action if management refuses to budge.

Khan said: “It’s a big deal because it is our religious belief. This will affect us all and every Muslim in the future. Other schools will follow and make this unpaid leave. It’s not about money, it’s the principle and about our rights. They very well know how much our religious festival means to us.”

Over a dozen members of staff have formed a WhatsApp group to discuss the ongoing standoff with management. She says automatically having time off for Christian holidays doesn’t mean a great deal to her and fellow Muslim staff at the school in Slough.

OHCAT CEO and Principal Dr Caroline Allen said: “Before joining OHCAT, Arbour Vale School was maintained by Slough Borough Council and followed their policies. As part of the conversion process to academy status, the staff at Arbour Vale School were consulted and informed of differences between the two organisations policies. All our policies are set with the best interests of our pupils in mind.”

“OHCAT policy does not offer paid time off for religious festivals. However, staff from Arbour Vale School that have requested time off to celebrate Eid have been able to do so as unpaid leave. In light of this matter, we will be reviewing our policy to ensure that there is clarity for all our staff going forward.”

The headteacher has since emailed staff notifying them they are entitled to one day paid religious holiday per year.

One Response to “Teachers paid Eid holiday withdrawn without notice”

Rashid MotalaJune 29, 2019

Christmas is a paid public holiday which is a religious holiday and thus it is untrue for OHCAT CEO and Principal Dr Caroline Allen to state “OHCAT policy does not offer paid tome off for religious holidays.”

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