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dietcoke99's Message:

The district tried to argue that the timing was off and we should have been asked to complete it on our own time over the summer.
It always seems odd to me when I hear something like this (and I do hear it a lot, especially with these sorts of employer-type "discussions").

If the district is ASKING us to complete it on our own time over the summer, that is a REQUEST, and we don't HAVE to do it - it was a REQUEST. I know this sounds anal, but I think wording is important, and if an employer says "asks," then that is what it is, a REQUEST that we have the option of completing, IF WE WANT TO.

If they mean "we should have been REQUIRED to complete it over the summer," then that is what they should have said. Maybe that is part of why they get away with this, because it wasn't "required," it was "requested;" of course, if you didn't do it, you wouldn't be hired.

I know I am a very literal person, so maybe I'm the only one that "picks up" on this sort of thing (I am very much a science person) but I guess it is a pet peeve of mine. If they say "ask," it is optional. IMHO

This isn't the only time I've heard something worded like this.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Fractured 12-09-2018 11:24 PM

I think only one of the three districts I sub in has sick pay, and you have to work like 40 hours or something ridiculous to get one hour off. You then need to take a job and cancel it with 24 hours notice to get that sick pay. Of course, this is by the end of the year and I am usually trying to get any job that comes up. Either that or I end up with some odd amount that won't qualify for a half or full day of pay. More bs.

OneGreatSub 12-09-2018 09:52 PM

last year when I was forced to cancel a 3 day job due to my mother's hospitalization. The illness of a family member for whom you provide care is covered under the law as well. When I called the sub coordinator to tell her why I was cancelling the job, she never mentioned that I should request sick pay. I just assumed I was out the money. I didn't find out about the law until I saw it mentioned on this board months later. There are no posters in any of the district's schools advising of the law, and subs were absolutely never notified. To date they still haven't been notified, and every district sub I've mentioned this to has no clue such a benefit exists. It infuriates me that some school districts (I know mine isn't the only one) treat subs with such disdain, like a necessary evil. They entrust us with the lives and well being of students but don't think enough of us to advise us of a state law that provides one small benefit they'd never in a million years provide us on their own. I'm nearing retirement and will hang it up soon, but before I do I want to see every district sub receive both notification of the sick pay benefit and a check for the mandatory training. My hard working underpaid fellow subs and I deserve no less.

Sirsubalot 12-09-2018 02:58 PM

There is an easy solution to the sick pay process, but heaven forbid, it would require the districts to pay us what we are entitled to.

Simply add any unused sick pay to our last check at the end of the year.

This would prevent us from having to play games by accepting jobs we plan on cancelling.

luv2teach2017 12-08-2018 07:35 PM

The next year I had learned my lesson. I had a sore throat at 5 am and knew I could not work, but had no scheduled job. I picked up a job on Aesop, then cancelled it five minutes late. This time I got paid.
I don't blame you. Being sick is bad enough, but when it means losing pay, it makes matters worse. I can't count how many times I went to work sick because I didn't want to lose a day's pay.
Sirsubalot 12-08-2018 06:11 PM

Although I certainly can't prove it, I am convinced that my largest district intentionally tried to withhold the way sick pay is implemented.

There was a memo printed out and ostensibly sent out to subs, but only one sub I spoke with actually got the memo.

The schools are required to put the poster of the law up somewhere in the lounge or office where it can be seen. Most schools have complied, but this does not explain how it works for subs.

The district office used to have a memo printed on the wall in their office, but no longer. This memo also did not explain how it works for subs. The memo they did not send us does explain how it works.

The reason why the district did not send us the memo was because they did not want us to know how it works. Their "forgetting" cost me $250 dollars. I wrote personnel to explain why I was entitled to $250. but of course I was denied.

I was too sick to work two days in January, 2016, so I did not pick up any available jobs. It makes no sense to pick up a job when you are sick.
By not having a job scheduled on the days I was sick, I had no jobs to cancel, so I did not get paid.

I wrote the author of the sick bill up in Sacramento and explained how this district's unfair implementation of the law cost me $250, but I got no response.

The next year I had learned my lesson. I had a sore throat at 5 am and knew I could not work, but had no scheduled job. I picked up a job on Aesop, then cancelled it five minutes late. This time I got paid.

If you are too sick to work, you had better get a job to cancel.

Flowerstill58 12-05-2018 03:11 PM

Well said Onegreatsub!
No one should have a student touching them, period! They have rules about cell phones, students know this. But speaking from someone who is never told at the Middle School on up about students who may have major behavior problems is just wrong. You can be more prepared then! Clearly, no one cares about their subs at this school. Go somewhere else if possible for your own sanity.

wilecoyote 12-03-2018 08:37 AM

Hey Fractured

luv how u handled the phone thing with a joke! Exactly the kind of thing I do every time I have to deal with any sort of issue like this, especially the phone thing!
They indeed do not pay us enough to deal with this type of ...

Especially the cell phone issue! And turning into a joke to get them on your side makes our day go a heck of a lot smoother every time than trying to fight them on it.
I mean, who needs the aggravation of fighting them and having it turn into one big nightmare where they get the office involved and then worse, our jobs are possibly on the line because of it...

Just Roll with it people! OUR JOBS ARE HARD ENOUGH!

dietcoke99 12-02-2018 08:50 PM

I've learned a lot from this. Phones are the biggest pain the butt I have - every period, every day. I never even thought to just let them use them, but I certainly will, now. If anybody says anything, I'll just say that the last time I enforced a phone policy I ended up in a battery situation with a student and the police were almost involved - how can they argue with that?

It probably won't even get to that, but if it does, I can have that in my back pocket.

This reminds me of something, though. I would tell students (before this) to not be on their phones because if I take it and it is better than mine, I will keep yours and give you mine. <slight pause> I've done it before <smile> NOOOOOOOOO!!! It was funny, though. One time a kid asked me what kind of phone I had, I said "I don't know," my husband gave it to me. He came up to compare it to his and said, "yours is better" It was pretty funny.

I feel a sense of relief right now, believe it or not, b/c that was a pain in the butt.

Fractured 12-02-2018 07:41 PM

I think I've given the impression that I'm lax about cellphones, but I'm not. It's not something I like to get into a power struggle about. I usually start class by saying I will take them and call security and have the student removed if I have to warn them multiple times. They usually are fairly good about complying. As I'm sure you see, they will have them out on the desk and occasionally text for a few seconds and I can live with that. If they are on it for longer I come up and tell them to put it away. I mean, does anything we threaten really have teeth to it? Hs kids don't care about being written up or getting sent to the office. I rove a lot so when kids see me coming they will usually get to work.

As yaya also said, I don't want to be responsible for their phone, and how many kids will prolly try to say you damaged the phone if it is already cracked or something?

And the districts I sub in are pretty lenient about phones, as are teachers. They can often listen to music with headphones if they are doing work on a computer, so when a teacher allows that I am pretty screwed trying to keep them off phones. If I see they are obviously not working, I come over and speak to them. They also can use phones a lot for videos. It's hard to see if a kid is watching a Ted talk and staying on task if the phone is buried in their lap. But I never just have kids all on their phones at the same time. Some schools have a better culture about them than others. I used to be really strict about them, but it's just too much energy to have a zero tolerance policy about phones. If the schools allow it, I'm not going to get into bs power struggles all day. If a kid refused to put away his phone after asking I'd probably have him removed, but I always write down student names of those who were a pain.

YayaSub 12-02-2018 04:41 PM

I don't want the liability of handling a student's phone, and my schools are pretty lenient about them. At the high school level, if a student is on his phone I will check on his progress on the assignment. The most I would would say is that he needs to focus on getting his work done. It's ridiculous how dependent they are on them. I often see kids watching a video on their iPad, doing something else on their phone, and working on their assignment. I hear this is even happening in many workplaces now when young adults get jobs.

In middle school, different teams have different policies. The gist usually is something like keep them out of sight and only use them with teacher permission.

If phone use was inappropriate, that would probably just go in my note to the teacher.

dietcoke99 12-02-2018 01:15 PM

My advice would be to never physically take a phone away from a student.
I DEFINITELY wasn't clear if it came across that I was PHYSICALLY taking a phone away from a student.

What happened here is that I, several times, said that if anybody had their phone out, I would keep it until the end of the period (no referral, nothing). He had it out, I said "let’s have it, I’ll give it back at the end of the period (which is probably why he gave it to me). After some time of yelling at me, he gave it to me (but not happy about it). I put it in the drawer.

Later on, when I found out that he had stolen another s’s paper and was copying it, I told him to go to the office. That's when HE came to ME and grabbed my hand to get his phone.

I certainly didn't have physical contact, first! That would be ridiculous, I think.

**In talking to my husband about this (right now), he seems to think that me telling him to give me his phone is "physically taking it from him," so I guess it could be thought of that way. He says that it "physically changed hands," so I "physically" took it from him. (?)**

I am confused. Please help!

Teachers talk in their lesson plans (in this case, the secretary), about not letting students have phones, but I never even considered that I shouldn’t ask/tell a student to give it to me? That is physically taking it from him? Is that a bad idea? Help me, here.

It does seem that even when it isn’t specified in the lesson plan, that I just *assumed* (ug. Oh…) that the t didn’t want students to be using their phone in class – but now that I think about it, maybe some of the t’s do let them?

It certainly would be good leverage, though, to use with the students, “I’ll let you use your cell phones if you stay in your assigned seat and “work” by yourself. If anybody doesn’t do this, you ruin it for everybody.”

My point of view is that he physically took it from me (at least he tried), not that *I* had physically taken it from him (like grabbing it from his hands or something). Am I missing something, here?

If all I do is, like Fractured said, ask/tell them to "put it away," then that hardly has any teeth in it and I would just not say anything at all b/c they're just going to get it out again when I walk 2 feet away, anyway.

That would certainly make my life a lot easier, though. It is tempting, but I just don't want it to get back to the t that I just let them constantly play on their phones. What if someone comes in and sees this going on? They certainly would behave better, though, that is a given. I really don't get paid enough for this, though, like fractured said, especially last Thursday.

My “remedy” was to not sub for that t again, but doing a “round the board” change in policy to just letting them use their phones, may be the way to go – if something does happen, I’ll just “let the pieces fall where they may,” which is probably a much better place to fall than the situation I was in.

Do the rest of you let students use their phones all of the time? (come on, just telling them to put it away is a waste of breath).

It is very enticing and I’m eager to start working again now that I have this great new idea! (seriously!)
dietcoke99 12-02-2018 11:39 AM

Thought some might be interested in this...

It is the poster that is SUPPOSED to be posted in a CONSPICUOUS PLACE for all employees to see, in every "business" in California.

It is pretty much what everybody has been saying, here, though, with more emphasis on the "90 days."

The poster says that the employee has to have been employed for 90 days before being eligible for the sick leave pay (which is 1 hr/30 hrs worked).

As stated by someone else here, their district conveniently defined this as 90 days of actual subbing days, which I wonder how many subs even get to that point? That's a pretty steep hill to climb, I think.

My finding and reading this to my husband caused a discussion between us:

He said that since subs can, if sick, simply take that day off like they would any other day off, they shouldn't get sick leave b/c they aren't actually losing any pay when they are sick (? - but that's what he said).

I said that it was actually the other way around - if people, like him (my husband), are already getting a salary and take a day off because they are sick - THEY aren't losing any pay for being sick!

I said that subs actually lose money when sick, regular salaried employees don't - so subs should get sick leave, and not salaried employees.

He said "Well, I guess it's all in how you look at it," and I said, "yea, we should look at it as subs needing it more than others, but not getting any."

dietcoke99 12-02-2018 11:08 AM

I believe anyone who has a job needs to take time to acquaint themselves with their rights under the law.
Does anybody know of a convenient way to find this information for a person's specific job? (preferably). I assume it isn't in the sub handbook.
dietcoke99 12-02-2018 10:42 AM

The district tried to argue that the timing was off and we should have been asked to complete it on our own time over the summer.
It always seems odd to me when I hear something like this (and I do hear it a lot, especially with these sorts of employer-type "discussions").

If the district is ASKING us to complete it on our own time over the summer, that is a REQUEST, and we don't HAVE to do it - it was a REQUEST. I know this sounds anal, but I think wording is important, and if an employer says "asks," then that is what it is, a REQUEST that we have the option of completing, IF WE WANT TO.

If they mean "we should have been REQUIRED to complete it over the summer," then that is what they should have said. Maybe that is part of why they get away with this, because it wasn't "required," it was "requested;" of course, if you didn't do it, you wouldn't be hired.

I know I am a very literal person, so maybe I'm the only one that "picks up" on this sort of thing (I am very much a science person) but I guess it is a pet peeve of mine. If they say "ask," it is optional. IMHO

This isn't the only time I've heard something worded like this.
Fractured 12-02-2018 10:26 AM

Sorry that happened to you Diet Coke. I wouldn't worry about getting the vp involved. If the school didn't give you the proper numbers, it is on them. I probably wouldn't go back to the school either. My advice would be to never physically take a phone away from a student. I have talked to some other subs who have done this and a few of them said the students tried to punch them. At the very least it usually escalates into something like you dealt with. It's a constant pain in the ass to tell the same kid to put his phone away, but most will usually oblige me.

Last December on the last day before Xmas break, the sect told me I was supposed to take phones and turn them into the front desk since they had been having problems with them. I was showing a movie to the class. I made a joke about how they had told me to take away phones and that they didn't pay me enough to do that. The kids laughed and they were pretty good that day. I hate the cell phone thing, but that seems to be the one thing kids will go nuts about if you take it away.

luv2teach2017 12-02-2018 10:20 AM

Unfortunately, employee rights have been constantly eroding over the last few decades. I've worked for a living since the 70s (yes, I admit it) and have seen this "frog in the heating pot" process taking place. Bit by bit, we've gone from a country of decent pay, job security, full-time employment, employee rights, and free health, sick leave, and vacation time benefits to one where most jobs are part-time, low paying, with zero benefits or job security. Many are (illegally) designated "independent contractor", depriving the worker of even unemployment benefits and allowing employers to shirk ANY and ALL responsibility. Wages have been stagnant since the 70s as well!

The people who are most exploited are the younger workers who are not aware of what "normal" used to look like and have NO idea what their rights (what's left of them) are. These days, no one in HR is likely to give you an orientation about your employee rights. HR's job is to protect the business, not you. I believe anyone who has a job needs to take time to acquaint themselves with their rights under the law. You work to earn wages, and protecting your rights is about ensuring you are treated and paid fairly.

The recently enacted (2015) California sick leave pay law requires that ALL employees (even part-time) be given a minimum of 3 paid sick leave days per year. That law covers substitute teachers as well. For California subs, it's important to know specifically WHEN you become eligible WHAT is considered a "sick day", and HOW much time you are eligible to take. Your respective school district should have made you aware of this. If not, the first step is to ask them for that information. Also, go online (google "California sick leave law") and read up on the state law. Some districts are still not in alignment with the law (or are evading it), so it's important to read up on the law yourself.

Here's clearly defined information that one of my districts (not the one I had trouble with) provided:


· An employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment is entitled to paid sick leave.

· Paid sick leave accrues at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked, paid at the employee’s regular wage rate. Accrual shall begin on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later.

· Accrued paid sick leave shall carry over to the following year of employment and may be capped at 48 hours or 6 days. However, subject to specified conditions, if an employer has a paid sick leave, paid leave or paid time off policy (PTO) that provides no less than 24 hours or three days of paid leave or paid time off, no accrual or carry over is required if the full amount of leave is received at the beginning of each year in accordance with the policy.


· An employee may use accrued paid sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.

· An employer shall provide paid sick days upon the oral or written request of an employee for themselves or a family member for the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventive care, or specified purposes for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

· An employer may limit the use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment.

MY NOTE: For a sub to be eligible, you must already have a job that you MUST CANCEL due to illness. You can't claim sick leave if you didn't have any work lined up for that day. Your sick leave allotment should be indicated on your pay check stub. If you don't see any sick leave hours indicated and you believe you should be eligible, talk to your district Payroll office.

As for payment for training, I used to sub for a district that requires subs to take an online "Mandated Reporter" training and test every year. Without pay. It's the only district I've seen that requires subs to do that training...maybe due to the pay issue. I agree that subs should be paid for any mandatory training. But again, it's an issue that needs to be raised by those impacted: the subs.

I agree that it's important to speak up when you feel your employee rights are being denied or violated. The erosion has been going on for a long time. Only workers themselves can smell the smoke, get out of the "boiling pot," and work to improve conditions for themselves.

dietcoke99 12-02-2018 08:47 AM

In looking up info on the new California law about sick leave pay for subs (I hadn't ever heard anything about it), I came across this "calculator" that calculates how much it costs the district for implementing the new law.

This article was an AESOP ("frontline management systems") article, and not a district article, if that makes any difference (?), but I thought that some might be interested.

The calculator is using the "front-line pay system," where the district pays each sub for 3 days sick leave/year, no matter how much he/she works, because it is easier for the district to just do this instead of calculating time accrued/used/whatever for each sub as they go throughout the year.

I'm wondering if this would cause districts to hire fewer subs, and therefore give the rest of us more work (?).

I know around here if you have a degree and are breathing, you will pretty much be hired as a sub.

I don't know about this "calculator" because, unless I did it wrong, it says that it costs the district $372/year to IMPLEMENT my front-line sub sick leave pay - sounds ridiculously high to me. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

SubMan 12-02-2018 06:21 AM

I’m in Pennsylvania and I find a great deal of variety in the way subs are treated even within the same district.

All districts and sub services consider it our (and not theirs) responsibility to keep up with mandated training. Here we have act 48 training that requires 6 graduate level credits every 5 years in order to keep your certification up to date. This is expensive for a substitute to accomplish. I recently approached a building principal about technology training for substitutes after I helped another sub set up the tech in the classroom. I offered to teach a class over the summer. I’ve heard nothing back on this.

I found Kelly services to be of the my way or the highway mindset (I no longer sub for them). Another sub service (local hr agency who sees money to be made) is complete confusion when dealing with. Be prepared to explain why you are calling (pay issues) at least 6 times before you are connected to someone who can help. The best to deal with are the districts that handle their own subs. I’ve actually written letters to school boards praising employees who have helped me.

OneGreatSub 12-01-2018 08:18 PM

to any emoloyment-related training that an employee is required to take after being hired. This fall I was required to take mandatory sexual harassment training which involved watchng 3 hours worth of videos and responding to questions about same. Federal law and California law state that if such training is mandatory, it must be paid. The district I work for has so far refused to pay subs for this training, and I may eventually be forced to file a complaint with the state labor board for unpaid wages. It's a small amount, but I'm pursuing it on principle. I'm tired of being taken advantage of.

As for the incident you've described with the student who became physical with you over a cell phone, the school you were at was negligent in not advising you the proper course of action to take in the event of an emergency. I personally would never set foot in that school again since they demonstrated so litte regard for your well being. However, if you must, you must. But, I would definitely talk to the sub coordinator about the incident and ask that person to contact the school in question with a request that all subs be provided with clear instructions regarding classroom altercations. No student should get away with laying a hand on a teacher under any circumstances. Completely unacceptable. I no longer sub in high school since the day a big senior football player type decided to lay down on the floor during history class and refused to get up while others egged him on. Life's too short to put up with thst kind of crap.

And don't ever be afraid to speak up. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and bad situations involving subs won't get any better unless subs muster the courage to politely but firmly speak out.

dietcoke99 12-01-2018 07:24 PM

I think, like most people here, that I am respected and treated well. I had no idea there was a new law about sick leave and I'm in Ca.

I am confused about the "mandatory training" that people here are talking about?

Are you talking about a formal (or several) meeting at a school, or district, or something, with an informer of some sort? That is what I thought at first, and I wondered why anybody wouldn't get paid for this, and how can that be legal?

Then some talk on here made me think that people were talking about those readings on the computer with the questions at the end? Are these the trainings that people on here are talking about? You read about "pests," or whatever, and answer the questions. You must pass them to get hired.

Is that what you're saying we should get paid for? I never even thought about that being "mandatory training." Honestly, I just took the tests and didn't read it, usually, and usually only missed one or two. They tell you which ones you missed. Some of them were interesting and I read them, anyway.

At one district there was an interview, a little bit of the sub coordinator telling me about laws, etc. (like no photos for videotaping of students in class, etc.) Maybe 1/2 hour., doing livescan, etc. I never even thought of getting paid for these things, which is why I'm not sure what is being referenced to, here?

In my opinion there is a big difference between formal meetings and small readings about topics and questions to answer on the internet.


I think we need a union (see below for a good reason).

Last Thursday a s was yelling a me (these are h.s. s's) over a phone that I had confiscated. I'm trying to make this short so I'm leaving out A LOT. The s came around the desk and started pulling out drawers to find his phone. I opened the drawer with the phone in it and was holding it.

HE GRABBED MY HAND and WRIST and we wrestled over the phone, and I won. A little while later this repeated itself and I won again.

Of course, after the 1st incident I was going to call the office, but I couldn't find the extension numbers, anywhere. The s is yelling at me this entire time. I thought that I must have missed them, so I looked again to no avail.

I didn't know what to do. I had the t's extension, lets say 1234, so I thought I would have a better chance to find somebody if I used something similar to that number, so I pushed 2345, and somebody picked up! She called the office...

And I waited... and waited... and waited.

Nobody showed up. I called the 2345 extension again and asked if she had called the office. They had told her that 2 of the administrators were in a meeting.

So I waited... and waited... and waited.

FINALLY the campus monitor showed up (why not the first time?) and she took him off.

I think the vp seemed to take it seriously, though she didn't call the police (I thought it would be a battery, or at least scare the piss out of him if a cop showed up.

She said she would investigate further on Friday (I was there on Fri, also, for a different t), but she didn't talk to me at all.

I did wonder if it would have gone down the same if I were a t?

On Friday I learned from another t that there is an emergency extension number, of which I had NO IDEA. I was mad that I didn't know this number. I wrote it in my sub notebook. It is an emergency number. I asked him if what happened to me was an emergency? He said "yes. What if he would have started to get worse with me? What if he would have started on another s?"

But since I didn't have the number, it didn't matter, anyway.

(By the way, how do you know if something is an "emergency?" I certainly would have called the extension if I would have known it, but then I wonder if I would have been able to call 911, would that be o.k. for that? (but I couldn't call 911, either). Where do you draw the line?) Keep in mind that I NEVER felt scared or threatened or ANYTHING like that, he just wanted his phone.

Why aren't subs given this number?

I am afraid to say ANYTHING to ANYBODY about ANY of this for fear of being banned - I want to keep this job. There are certainly several things that need to be addressed.

I am even afraid to tell the sub coordinator to cancel my job for this t next Month for fear that she will question the school and I'll get in trouble.


I also think that subs should be privy to sp ed students because many times I have trouble with students it turns out that they are. If I would have known that I may have approached the situation differently - I don't need details, I just think I have a right to know. I know about confidentiality so don't bother with that, but this is a different topic.

OneGreatSub 12-01-2018 12:57 PM

Sometimes I think the powers that be go out of their way to misinterpret or ignore laws when it benefits them. The sick pay law is well written. I suspect they chose not to interpret it correctly and hoped you wouldn't notice. The sexual harassment training we were mandated to complete recently is another good example. California follows federal law in this regard, and the statute is crystal clear that mandatory training must be paid -- no ifs, ands, or buts. The district tried to argue that the timing was off and we should have been asked to complete it on our own time over the summer. Well, that didn't happen and it wouldn't have mattered anyway. If they continue to stonewall, the next stop is the state labor board to file an unpaid wage claim. Like I said, you have to stand up for yourself if you want to be treated fairly in the school district workplace.

luv2teach2017 12-01-2018 10:58 AM

As Sublime says, in CA we do earn 1 hr sick leave for every 30 worked. The confusion lay in when you start qualifying to use it. As I understand it, state law says we must be an employee for at least 90 days and have worked at least 30 days. But my district was misinterpreting that to mean we must have actually worked at least 120 days! Big difference for a sub!

Sublime 12-01-2018 10:39 AM

I've felt mostly respected in my many years of subbing but sometimes ignored. When subs (California) began getting sick time we were sent a notification but it was not explained well at all. Eventually I got all the details after talking to the sub coordinators in both districts I work in and I know how to use it now. Incidentally, I get 1 hour of sick pay for every 30 hours of work, not great, but it's something. Additionally, we got a fairly decent raise about 3 years ago, which was totally unexpected. This job has worked out well for me, though I know we are at the bottom of the ladder in the end.

OneGreatSub 12-01-2018 09:01 AM

I should have added that I confine my work exclusively to this district because of its proximity to my 95 year old mother for whom I am a full time caregiver. I am between a rock and a hard place on that score. It's gratifying to hear that another California district has a designated representative in HR willing to go to bat for subs. When I questioned our sub coordinator about a pay issue, the response was "Do you want to work in this district or not?"

I certainly understand that as part timers subs are at the very bottom of the food chain, but I also believe that what we do is important and vital and that we, like all district employees, deserve to be treated with respect. It's unfortunate that districts feel they can skirt the law with regard to subs and that we have to fight for something as simple as getting paid for a legally mandated sick day -- something people in other jobs in California take for granted. The bottom line is they need us and it's important that we stand up for ourselves. Thanks to all who respond to this thread. Your thoughtful responses are much appreciated and good food for thought.

luv2teach2017 12-01-2018 08:11 AM

I also sub for a district in California. I have subbed for 4 districts, but have lately worked exclusively with one district because I feel they are trying to improve conditions for their guest teachers (we are employees of the district). They have a designated "representative" for us in HR, an analyst who really does go to bat for us. That's helped a lot. We also recently received a substantial pay raise, moving this district up from the lowest to one of the highest paying in the area.

As far as the new California sick leave law, that's been more problematic. This particular district did not notify us of the new sick leave policy. I was informed about it via working with other districts. When I asked about sick leave several months ago, this district emailed me a statement of their sick leave policy. It was not clearly worded and didn't seem to align with what I read about the new state law.

Very recently, I filed a request for sick leave and was denied, even though from what I understood, I should have been eligible (I'd been employed with this district over a year and had worked over 120 days). When I asked for an explanation, the Payroll clerk just said I didn't have any available sick leave. It was clear that she didn't have an answer. So I asked to speak with someone else who could provide an explanation as to why I am being denied my state mandated sick leave pay. I was then redirected to the guest teacher rep analyst. She looked into it and got back to me immediately saying that their Payroll Dept. has not been appropriately trained or briefed on how to apply the sick leave law. She agreed with me that my request for sick leave pay should be honored. She took charge of the matter to ensure I would be paid. At least I won THAT battle!

I am constantly reevaluating whether I want to continue as a guest teacher. In general, I really enjoy teaching children, and I like the variety and flexibility this job provides. The pay is not the best, but it's not terrible either, and the hours are great. However, that said, it IS part time and seasonal work, provides no real job security or employee rights, no benefits, and I am pretty much at or near the bottom of the food chain.

Realistically, do I expect those conditions to change? Not much. Why? Because it's not just school districts that are guilty of these practices. It's a nation wide business trend where only the bottom line matters. There are fewer well paid full time jobs with benefits and many more low paying, part-time jobs with no benefits, no employee rights, and no job security. Many people are now working 2 or more part time jobs in order to make ends meet. It's not just substitute teachers who are struggling.

All the same, I think there are some things we can do. First, if you know your rights are being violated (e.g. re: sick leave), then find your way past the front desk clerk and speak to those in charge. Also, advantages of this job are that we can always find work, and we can always vote with our feet. There are many, many school districts that need guest teachers, and some are MUCH better than others. If you don't like the way your district treats you, then leave and find a better district. That's what I did.

MaineSub 12-01-2018 03:28 AM

Maine (obvious), work directly for the district which is relatively small and very rural--those might be disclaimers.

Overall, I do feel fairly treated--far from perfect, certainly but I also think I understand the difference between subbing and being a full-time employee. I'm surely underpaid but I also accepted the position knowing I would be.

Breaking it down:

Teachers and para's, in general, seem to respect what I do. We have a decent team spirit and recognition that we are all working to the same end.

Admin contributes greatly to the culture and team spirit... Realistically, I accept my position at the bottom of the heap of priorities. I'm certainly not "mistreated" but there are times when it's easy to feel "overlooked" -- at least until common sense kicks in and I realize how much is going on every day. Our district office is extremely helpful with payroll and other employment issues, which actually are few. Our sub coordinators are amazing.

Students are little people (well, until they get to high school) who certainly have their challenges and their own priorities as well. I don't feel disrespected as a sub (another disclaimer--I've been around for quite a while and the kids don't think of me as a sub) although they occasionally do try to pull one over on me--usually in the spirit of fun.

Since I've been accused of not living in the real world, my primary wishes:

  • Additional communication about school policy changes, etc.
  • Inclusion in some PD (professional development) opportunities even unpaid.
  • A review of sub pay rates is long overdue, but our district also has had severe budget issues for several years.

By the way, the "real employee" issue exists here as well--it's a systems issue created (in our case) by a combination of the State DOE reporting requirements and federal interference. For example, all subs recently had to go through the fingerprinting/background check process when "renewing." Everyone agreed that "fingerprints don't change" but federal requirements did and because of our employee classification our credentials couldn't be renewed. Even district admin admitted it was non-sensical. Some of this stuff can't be blamed on the districts.
OneGreatSub 12-01-2018 02:01 AM

I've subbed exclusively in this district for 10 years. A friend and fellow sub has been at it for 18. My friend scheduled an appointment with a high level district administrator today over her concern that subs were kept out of the loop regarding school closures during the recent wildfires. I tagged along to address my concerns about the district's refusal to pay subs for mandatory training and failure to advise us of a change in California law that makes us eligible for sick pay. During the meeting, we stated our concerns respectfully and the response, not surprisingly, was a series of dodges that an NFL player would be proud of. The upshot was that as far as the district is concerned, even though we are W-2 district employees, we are only employees on days we work. Otherwise we cease to exist. The administrator flat out told us it never dawned on anyone to contact subs about the fire closure because we aren't "real employees" -- her words. As for being paid for training, she told me to provide a copy of the applicable law, but offered no guarantee that it would be followed. As for the sick pay notification, the administrator swore up and down we had been notified. We weren't. I bring all of this up because I am curious how subs in other areas are treated. If you feel you are being treated fairly and professionally by your employer, be it a district or a Kelly service, I'd like to hear about it. If the bad outweighs the good, I'd like to hear about that, too. We're all in this sub boat together and hearing other perspectives can be enlightening.

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