‘Politically criminal’ | Main stories

Accusing the Holness administration of denying teachers their right to annual leave, educator and incendiary trade unionist Paul Adams called the practice “administratively and politically criminal”.

But Education Minister Fayval Williams hit back, disputing Adams’ claims as false.

Adams, principal of Herbert Morrison High and former president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, accused authorities of breaking education regulations by approving annual leave for just 2% of a school’s teaching staff at one point despite the rules allowing up to a 10 percent return.

Teachers are entitled to four months leave after five years of service and eight months after ten years of work. But Adams said Thursday that bureaucracy is restricting furlough approvals, forcing some educators to delay vacations by nine to 15 years without recourse.

The 35-year-old veteran said ‘there is a calculated conspiracy between the Department of Education and the Department of Finance’.

“We teachers don’t know if we’re sick, because we don’t show it, you don’t know if we’re in pain. God in heaven, you don’t know if we’re dying, and we go out there and we work and we work,” Adams said at the Jamaica Teachers’ Association Golden Torch Awards at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. in New Kingston.

“Arthritis, ‘neckritis’, ‘footritis’ everywhere, trials and tribulations, and when the five or six years come, we can’t have four months off,” he added.

But Williams, when contacted on Thursday, disputed Adams’ claim that only 2% of the teaching cohort had approved leave requests.

“I know over the years it’s hovered between 5% and 7%, and this year I know 5% of teachers will be eligible for a long leave,” Williams said in a statement. Gleaner interview.

“I don’t know the composition of the number of schools where the teachers would come from, but the schools themselves would send the request because obviously the schools would have to look at their staffing needs because you have to have replacement teachers for all those who go on four or eight month leave, but I don’t have the composition of the schools. It’s driven by eligibility,” she said.

The Minister further noted that she was not aware of a backlog of rejected applications, but indicated that she would be open to discussing the matter with JTA management.

But she insisted the ministry’s calculations were within the law.

Williams pointed out, however, that the budgetary implications had to be considered.

Adams, in his appeal, advised ministries to “cut the money craze”, arguing that the health and well-being of teachers should not be sacrificed on the altar of financial prudence.

“It can’t work. We are going to die one by one,” he said, adding that he had bought two rods due to the extension of the retirement age to 65.

Adams was among 177 dedicated teachers honored on Thursday for more than 30 years of service.

Outgoing JTA President Winston Smith joined Adams’ chorus, noting that he too had been pressing the grievance for some time. He said he intended to formally address the authorities about the matter before leaving office.

Smith said the problem is driving many teachers out of the profession.

“It is a great injustice to teachers in Jamaica. It’s a parody. In fact, if I could find another silly term to describe it, I would because here we have teachers who teach for years without leave,” he said.

Smith said the furlough qualification process should be reviewed, noting that teachers must work regularly for five years without a break to earn their four-month entitlement. This benefit does not return for another five years.

“If a teacher applies after 10 years and doesn’t get the leave, any number of years after is going to be lost because it’s only eight months, even if you apply after serving 30 years, so 20 years would have been lost,” the JTA chairman said.

He insists that the regulatory guidelines be revised so that annual leave is accessible each year.

Smith said urgent legislative change could be a solution to the problem.

“And if we can’t change the law to make that happen, then pay the teachers for the unused years or put that amount as a pushback so you can use it again, and don’t just erase,” he said. .

“There must be something, but not giving teachers [anything] and not changing anything is really cruel.

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