Dear Dr. Spilchuk…

July, 2009

When Should the Pay Period Begin?

Dear Dr. Spilchuk,

I realize that my inquiry is not as dire as many of the requests for help you receive from ISR members. If you have time, I would appreciate your advice and assistance.

Here is the situation. I have signed a contract with a new school. The contract date starts on August 16, 2009. However, the school wants to start new teacher induction 6 days prior to the start date, and they have clearly informed me we will not be paid for the time. While I realize that some of the events are designed as social gatherings and networking, many of the events are compulsory and include review of the contracts, getting a mandatory health check, going through the school development plan, going through admin, school and section policies and procedures, school-related ICT training, to name a few. These activities all were conducted within the realms of the contracts at my previous 3 schools. Am I wrong to expect to be on salary at the time of induction? If not, how should I handle this with the school? They have already given me the “choice” to not attend new teacher training. Realistically, that is not an option.

Thank you for your time.

Hello Russ,

No, it is not wrong to expect salary for school events that will better situate you in your new community. I suppose the best question is, “Are you prepared to boycott to make your point?” I would definitely do so in the US, UK, Canada or Australia but unfortunately many other countries take advantage of international teachers in this way. Can you negotiate time in lieu instead of pay?

Great question!