Can teachers take a day off to attend a job interview?


Can teachers take a day off to attend a job interview?

Sometimes teachers ask us whether they should tell their existing school about attending an interview and if they will suffer any adverse consequences.

You might have heard that all teachers are entitled to a morning or afternoon of paid leave if attending a job interview.

In this support article, we look at if teachers can take leave to attend a job interview, how different schools manage the process and what to do if you encounter an issue with your school.

We have published other support articles you might find useful which include how you can request leave for exceptional circumstances and whether teachers can take a days leave for moving house.

Can teachers take time off to attend a job interview?

There are no specific sections in the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) or the Burgundy Book which explicitly set out details on whether teachers are allowed paid leave to attend a job interview.

It will be the decision of each school how it handles requests for a leave of absence for attending interviews during term time. You will need to check your school’s policies and staff handbook for specific information. Staff absence and special leave policies will be useful to look at. You will see that schools handle it slightly differently from one another by looking at the examples below.

In the majority of instances schools will be understanding that staff will be looking at other employment opportunities and will be accommodating for requests to attend job interviews. You will have to make a request to your headteacher or line manager in advance and follow the procedures set out in your school’s staff absence policy.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and your school is problematic about you attending a job interview you can contact us for further support and advice.

Can teachers take leave to attend a job interview?: Examples from schools

Maximum of 4 half days to attend interviews for posts in education

Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets has a special leave policy for staff.

It explains employees of the school are not automatically entitled to any leave during term time, unpaid or paid. All leave granted is at the discretion of the school.

Requests for all leave, unpaid or paid, must be submitted in writing at least 7 working days in advance to the headteacher. Exceptions will only apply to emergencies. The special leave entitlement calculation will be based on the past 12 months.

In dealing with requests for leave of absence in special circumstances the headteacher will apply the principles set out below:  

  • The cost to the school of the leave in terms of salary
  • Cover arrangements and organisational disruption
  • The circumstances of the individual including previous paid and unpaid leave granted relative to the period of employment

Staff are allowed a maximum of 4 half days to attend interviews for posts in education. This limitation does not apply where the employee is redundant or a fixed term contract is not renewed. The maximum allocation is for staff who have been at the school for at least five years or more.

Request must be made to headteacher before attending interview

Charlwood Village Primary School in Surrey has a staff leave of absence policy

It explains that all staff may take reasonable paid leave to attend selection interviews for jobs. Requests to take leave to attend an interview must be made to the headteacher in advance of the event.

Maximum of 3 days to attend interviews

Chase Bridge Primary School in Twickenham has a staff absence and special leave policy. It explains that the headteacher has discretion to grant special leave which may be paid or unpaid. This is not an entitlement and there is no automatic right to term time leave. 

Special leave provisions operate with a high level of trust and abuse of this trust will be dealt with under the school’s disciplinary procedure.

The school may grant a combined total of no more than 5 days paid special leave over the course of one rolling year. Any request for time beyond this period will be entirely at the discretion of the headteacher.

To facilitate employees attending interviews staff are allowed a maximum of 3 days leave.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.