We hired a private teacher for our daughter, who is in elementary school. This teacher comes into school during specific subjects, and instead of learning in the regular classroom, my daughter is taught by this teacher, those same subjects, in school, privately. The teacher is now expecting to give birth, and will be taking time off for maternity leave. During that time, I will have to hire a substitute private teacher to take her place and pay her for the time she fills in.
Here are my questions:
A. The teacher did not want to be paid hourly, so at the beginning of the year we made an agreement on a sum of money that I would pay her each month over the ten months of the school year. This was important to her so that even during months that have less school, for Pesach, Succos, etc, she would receive the same monthly payment. We also discussed school trips and special programs. Even if such days are missed, and she doesn’t teach, she would still receive the same monthly payment. BUT we did not discuss maternity leave. I have not discussed this with her yet, and do not know her expectations or requests, but wanted to know my halachic responsibility and obligation before going into the discussion with her.
B. The teacher mentioned to my daughter that after giving birth, she takes off a certain number of weeks that she doesn’t teach at all. After that, she will teach, but will not go to the school to teach, my daughter would have to be brought to her home. Throughout the school year, until now, the teacher meets my daughter four days a week, three of which she goes to the school, and one day a week, my wife takes my daughter to the teacher’s home. This is a major investment of time on the part of my wife, the drive to pick up my daughter from school, to take to the teacher’s home, and then to pick up, etc, not knowing what to do in the interim bc of the distance making it not worthwhile to travel back home in the meantime. My wife does not want to have to transport my daughter four times a week, for any period of time following the teacher’s maternity leave. If the answer to Part A is that we are not obligated to pay the teacher for the time of her maternity leave, are we allowed to continue to not pay her during the second period of time that she technically is willing to teach our daughter, but would be asking us to bring our daughter to her home.
Thank you so very much!
You are not obligated to pay her for the pregnancy leave. Although you pay for months with less days of school, you surely don’t pay “double” for months of maternity leave, and this is certainly not the intention in the agreement.
Meaning, you are not an “employer” who has to pay for maternity leave, but rather an individual taking private lessons from a freelancer.
You also don’t need to bring your daughter to the teacher’s house. The agreement was for teaching in the school and not in the teacher’s house. Still, perhaps you can reach a compromise on this point.