The Case Of Teacher X: Late Pay

I recently came across this account of getting paid late. Many teachers don’t want to publicize problems with their employers, so the teacher wishes to remain anonymous.

“I’ve gotten the brush off about getting paid for about two weeks now. It probably shouldn’t be that mindboggling, but it is. Okay, it’s not an ideal work situation to begin with, but I’m still surprised.

The first week of the month, the boss told me the pay had to be processed by the receptionist, and she was out sick. Hopefully she’d be back by the end of the week. Lo and behold, she wasn’t. Now, I may have got myself into this less than ideal situation which leads to being paid late, but I’m not a total idiot. No one can get paid because the receptionist is sick? And she’s not even the main receptionist! The school didn’t have enough money, and for the money that was there I was not a priority recipient.

It gets worse – when the receptionist came back from her sick leave she told me I wouldn’t be paid because the director was out sick now. Really, come up with a better excuse! Or at least get your stories straight. It’s annoying and problematic not to be paid on time; it’s just plain insulting to be given the exact same brush off, in reverse, twice.

The other thing is that I’ve known these people for some time; I generally trust them and think they are okay people. I believe them when they say they are ill and realize that it would be especially manipulative to lie about something like that. I don’t think they are lying about that. But that has nothing to do with my pay – other teachers have been paid , and the buck is so obviously being passed from one person to another.

Granted, I’ve known these people for some time, it’s not a surprise that things don’t always run as they should. It’s never been quite like this before though. I mostly believe that their personal relationships with me will keep them from avoiding paying me at the end of my contract…but after all this, I’m really not so sure.

And I find myself in the position that illustrates the dilemma facing others in this situation well. Do I take the “loan” they give at reception – representing only a portion of the money they owe me – and stop working once I get it, cutting my losses then? It seems even more absurd for me to believe that the school will have more money to pay me over the summer and more incentive to honor its debt to me when I won’t even be teaching. But if I stop now, I am almost certainly turning the likelihood that I will get the full amount owed to me to zero. And then there’s getting a reference (or not).”

Quite a frustrating situation – and one that may shed some light on why teachers put up with the variety of problems that sometimes come up. Best wishes to the teacher in question.