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OneGreatSub OneGreatSub is offline
 
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MANDATORY Training - No Pay
Old 09-07-2018, 09:25 PM
 
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Anyone here required to complete mandatory sexual harrassment training without pay? I received an e-mail from the district office today informing me that state law mandates that I must take a 3 hour computerized course on the topic. Ok, fine except that the district is insisting I take this training on my own time without pay. According to Caifornia law, this type of employment-related mandatory training must be paid. Should I point this out to district officials and risk never getting called to sub again, or just keep my mouth shut and go along to get along? So sick of subs being taken advantage of. What would you do?


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My district
Old 09-07-2018, 10:17 PM
 
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requires about 10 such classes for all staff. Luckily, they are on line and although quite boring can be short circuited by speed reading/scanning the text instead of having it be read to you. I take a few notes that seem like it might come up in the ending quiz, take the quiz (often you can backtrack through the slides to find answers), print out the passing certificate and breathe a sigh of relief. I can usually knock off about half the time the class is supposed to take.

If you are really ready to make waves, you can search "off the clock work" and find any number of law firms willing to sue. Likely not worth the reputation such an action would create.

Many teachers put in 2-3 hours of unpaid preparation nightly.
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Something like that
Old 09-08-2018, 04:20 AM
 
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I have to do a similar computer training every other year for one of my districts. It's designed to cover a variety of town positions, so it's more financial stuff than harassment - conflict of interest, not accepting large gifts, that sort of thing. It takes about an hour, and it's kind of boring, but by now, I've done it so many times I just blow through it like broomrider said.

I wouldn't make a fuss. If you "win" and they offer it paid, they'll probably make you come in to the school to do it at a time they choose instead of whenever you choose.
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Old 09-08-2018, 04:55 AM
 
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My experience (and advice) is similar to broomrider's and Lakeside's. I've also had to complete a number of these training modules multiple times, which include bloodborne pathogens (has anyone actually seen a sharps container in a school?), FERPA, sexual harassment, concussion awareness, and student restraint. After sitting through this last one recently, a message came on at the end saying that just about every type of restraint was illegal in our state. There are other training modules too which I don't recall at the moment.

Yes, subs (and regular teachers too) are taken advantage of all the time, but sadly, that's the way the profession is. It happened to me often during my many years as a regular teacher. Please don't get me started about mandatory fingerprinting fees. One of my districts switched to a private provider about ten years ago, and we had to pay them a $15 processing fee for the privilege of subbing for them. A couple years ago. another district switched private providers, and we had to miss a day of subbing to come in, meet with them, and hand in paperwork. There's also that unofficial off-the-clock time subs have to work before school, after school, and often during lunch.

Yes, you're right that this mandatory training without pay is wrong, but as the others have said, keep quiet if you want to keep subbing.
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Old 09-08-2018, 04:55 AM
 
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  • Harassment & Bullying
  • FERPA
  • blood borne pathogens
  • suicide prevention
  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • diabetics in the classroom
  • epilepsy in the classroom

That’s not even all. At least they are online and sent in the summertime. We used to have to sit though them in a meeting.

Every. Single. Year.


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My advice
Old 09-08-2018, 04:59 AM
 
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When we need to do mandatory online training, we get a certificate for the hours (big whoop) but here's what we do:

Put it on you laptop and let it run while you do other things, even watch TV. If it's a point scroll and go to the review at the end of each section. I wouldn't make waves. Sadly, that falls into the "suck it up" category.

A wise colleague told me just last week I'll be happier if I let go of the notion that things will be fair.
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Old 09-08-2018, 06:51 AM
 
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This mandatory training, along with sub orientations are rarely compensated. We are all in the same unfair boat that comes with the territory.

Misery loves company, and you have lots of company.

At least I can take the abuse training only once, and give each of my three districts a copy of the certificate.
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I feel your pain...
Old 09-08-2018, 07:01 AM
 
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I've sat through the WHOLE list Ima Teacher gave including Epi pen certification as a noon aide/media assistant/child care worker. Oh also concussion vid. Anyway, we weren't paid either. We were considered support staff (peons), and I'm sure some fancy lawyering found a loop hole. The district subs are managed by same company. I'm positive they aren't paid either.

California is different from the country with it's labor laws. If you are being managed by an out of state company (think Kelly Services), it could be the reason why.

Subs are treated like trash here. If you are considered out sourced (say Kelly Services), I might squawk to them. Maybe. If you are a sub hired to serve a specific district, is 3 hours pay worth the potential fall out? How bad to you need to sub?

It might be worth it to see if there is a legal loop hole that lets districts get away with this. I have a feeling there is because I know no one (teachers/support staff) where I live gets paid watching those vids. The teachers get "paid" if it's during school hours in a staff meeting. I would want to know why district gets away with this before riding the crazy train. It could be yes, normally businesses would pay, but since were are considered a public service this is an exception.

Last edited by Tawaki; 09-08-2018 at 07:18 AM..
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Welp...here's a link
Old 09-08-2018, 07:37 AM
 
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Because I only play labor attorney online.

https://www.wagehourblog.com/2014/01...aid-or-unpaid/

The devil's in the details, and there is enough weasel room for a savvy lawyer to rightfully say the district doesn't have to pay you. There IS a reason district specifically asked you do watch on your own time. That fills the 1 of the 4 requirements of not paying you.

This is an interesting chunk..

"Consequently, as long as the training offered by the employer corresponds to the requirements outlined by the state licensing division, an employee’s attendance at the employer-sponsored program would not be compensable."

I have a feeling we are out of luck. >
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Old 09-08-2018, 08:34 AM
 
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Wow, and I was annoyed that not only did I have to take the Mandated Reporter training this year but also a training on every possible kind of harassment that exists. I didn't know there were so many others. Each training took less than an hour, though. One I could just scroll through and answer the questions but the other I could not. I vaguely listened while reading a book. When I had a training that required going to the school district office, I was paid for a 1/2 day.


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Old 09-08-2018, 10:18 PM
 
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Thank you all for responding. Federal law, which California follows in this instance, states that if training is mandatory it must be paid. Districts get away with not paying because no one apparently complains. I sent an e-mail this afternoon to the head of HR for the district simply asking if I can expect to be compensated for my time as the law specifies. I am awaiting a response. I might be inclined to let this go if the district wasn't already screwing subs over by withholding our pay as a matter of policy. If I work September 1st I will not be paid for that day until 10/31. It seems that they go out of their way to treat subs like dirt, and requiring us to work off the clock is another insult added to injury.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:30 AM
 
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All I can say is Good Luck!

This may be a case where you win the battle but lose the war... They may respond that you do not have to do it, but you will not be allowed to work there. Or they may pay you for this but blacklist you...

I hope this is not the case.

Good for you for speaking up.
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On the other hand...
Old 09-09-2018, 05:45 AM
 
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I don't see this as a particularly simple issue and I probably have some unpopular biases. One is that mandatory training is rarely effective regardless of whether or not the employee gets paid to take it. People seem to resist doing things they have to do, even if it's good for them!

That being said, I also don't understand the resistance to training that improves our abilities just because we aren't going to get paid to take it. I take a lot of courses on my own, don't get paid to take them, and in many cases pay out of my own pocket to take them. Among those courses I took last year were mandatory reporting, building emotional resiliency... I keep my CPR certification current and have several mental health-related certifications that require coursework.

There is a law in our state requiring EVERY school employee complete 90 minutes of suicide awareness and prevention training. Most districts try to provide it... and it's often available for free, but compliance is not enforced. One would think that anyone dealing with kids (teen suicides are on the increase) would be willing to invest 90 minutes of his/her time to learn the basics, but for many reasons (too busy, not aware of the requirement, don't get paid to take it, etc.) many just don't do it.

School budgets become part of the complexity. State and federal mandates (including required courses/training) are rarely funded by the politicians who pass them. Where's the money supposed to come from?

To minimize the backlash I will probably get, let me add that I do think subs suffer from "mistreatment" in many respects--we are typically underpaid, underappreciated, underrespected... the list goes on, doesn't it? At the same time, we might give some thought to how we want to be treated. Do we really want to be treated like an hourly employee or is substitute teaching a profession?
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Old 09-09-2018, 08:50 AM
 
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Maine Sub, I appreciate your thoughtful response. You point out rightly that all of us have paid to attend courses that resulted in our becoming part of the teaching profession, and yes, it is a profession. Substitutes, as we know, are teachers. When we step into a classroom, we take responsibility for the lives and learning of students. It's an important job. Among those killed in Newtown was a substitute teacher. The media never put an asterisk beside her name as less important than anybody else, and that's not how we should see ourselves either. If we are professionals, we need to respect ourselves and insist on being treated professionally, not as doormats afraid to assert our rights for fear of being terminated.

A few years ago I was assigned a 6 week job taking over for a middle school English teacher on maternity leave. Another sub had initially been assigned, but when it was determined that she didn't have the appropriate credential, I was called in. I was given very little information about the specialized reading courses I was going to be teaching, so I asked the principal if it would be possible to arrange a brief meeting or phone call with the teacher. The teacher's response to my request floored me at the time. She insisted on being paid $100 for a few minutes of her time, and the principal complied. A 15 minute phone call was arranged after her condition was met. I bring this up here because the teacher was not about to speak with me out of the goodness of her heart. As a professional and union member, she insisted on being paid for a work-related activity. I now see her point.

I have no qualms about not being paid for a work related activity that is voluntary. The district has provided entirely voluntary smart board and other technology training which I have found to be useful. But I draw the line at not being paid for a work related activity that is mandatory. Within the text of the law mandating the training, the state of California has made provision for reimbursing school districts for the associated costs. So money is not the issue.

I have a friend who is a fellow sub in the district. She walks on eggshells and I know will be the first to complete the training at home on her own time and without asking to be paid. That's exactly the kind of attitude that insures subs will always be taken advantage of. Asking an employer to comply with state and federal law should not be a big deal. I am awaiting a response from the district on my very polite request to be compensated in accord with the law, and if they tell me to pound sand, I'll have to examine my options.

Last edited by OneGreatSub; 09-09-2018 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 09-09-2018, 10:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Asking an employer to comply with state and federal law should not be a big deal.
Which laws, exactly? Just wondering.
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Old 09-09-2018, 10:29 AM
 
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Federal law -Title 29, Part 785.27 of the code of Federal Regulations of the US Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Division states that "Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time only if all of the following four conditions are met: Attendance is outside of the employee's regular working hours; attendance is voluntary; the course lecture or meeting is not directly related to the employee's job; the employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance." 785.28 states that "Attendance is not voluntary, of course, if it is required by the employer. It is not voluntary in fact if the employee is given to understand or led to believe that his present working conditions or the continuance of his employment would be adversely impacted by nonattendance." In other words, if all 4 conditions are met, no pay is required. If any of the four conditions are not met (i.e., the training is mandatory) the training is considered hours worked and must be compensated. California defers to the Federal government on this law.

Last edited by OneGreatSub; 09-09-2018 at 10:48 AM..
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Yep
Old 09-09-2018, 03:51 PM
 
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When I was working full time, all staff had to take computerized trainings. The worst year was when we had FOURTEEN! And they had to be done off the clock. The worst part was that we couldn't speed through. The narrator read SO slowly, and you couldn't read the slide on your own and click ahead. As a sub, I haven't had to do those except for when I first signed up. It was painful.
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Yes, I had to complete unpaid online training
Old 09-09-2018, 04:41 PM
 
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A Guide For Substitute Teachers on 8/22/2018
Allergy Management on 8/5/2018
Bloodborne Pathogens on 8/22/2018
FERPA on 8/23/2018
Seclusion and Restraint - MI on 8/22/2018
Sexual Harassment on 8/23/2018
State and Federal Laws: K12 - MI on 8/5/2018
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Old 09-09-2018, 04:50 PM
 
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One district I work in has a union for subs, but I have to pay dues. Last year we didn't get paid, but supposedly I will get a half day for this year's videos. Of course, what I pay to the union negates what I will make for that in the long run, but it's better than nothing. I had to do 10 videos for one district, it's ridiculous. At least there is some overlap with the vids, so if you passed one course in another district you can usually bypass having to do that video. You can usually skip through most of the videos and go right to the quiz. After seeing them once you really don't need to see it again.


And of course we should get paid for training videos. This profession is bad enough with the low pay.
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:17 AM
 
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Thanks for your thoughtful response... I certainly agree that we need to respect ourselves. But I also see a lot of subs (and some teachers) who want to be treated like a contractor and only work to rule. There just needs to be some balance in this and that is an individual choice.

I am adjunct instructor for a private school owned by four partners. Three have repeatedly appreciated the fact that I tend to act like an owner, always keeping the school and students uppermost in my decisions, etc. The fourth partner, in a recent meeting, actually attacked me and stated repeatedly "You're not a partner." She also said, "You're an independent contractor and are paid very well, you have to earn it." (I made the mistake of gently question a policy she wanted to make.)

The managing partner knows how close I came to walking out of the meeting. His explanation that she tends to become aggressive when challenged or she doesn't know the answer really didn't help much. He knows that I will not tolerate abuse in the future.

During that heated discussion I pointed out that if she wants me to act like an independent contractor I certainly can... but she might want to consider the outcomes and what the school would be losing.

I offer the story to demonstrate that I don't think we have to be victims of abuse. But I also think we need to be careful that we don't create or invite it. If I had been working to rule (or my contact) I'm not so sure I could have objected to her tirade. It's not about looking down on somebody, or up at somebody, it's about looking them straight in the eye.
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