STRANDED teachers who cannot make up lost time will have their pay docked by Kirklees Council.
But union officials have promised legal action if the “brain dead” decision is enforced.
The issue has angered many teachers, among them Abigail Binns.
She and her family are stranded in Qatar after a holiday and has been told she will not be paid.
The council has said staff should not be paid if they cannot make up school time missed as a result of flight problems caused by the Iceland volcano.
Howard Roberts, general secretary for Kirklees NUT, said: “I was astonished to see what Kirklees was saying.
“They are responding in a brain-dead, knee-jerk fashion.
“Most authorities are realising this is to do with circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
“To suddenly pounce on teachers in this way is ridiculous.
“We would take legal action to regain any money lost. It would be shocking if they did not recognise the magnitude of what has happened by taking a punitive approach.”
The NASUWT said it was concerned about Kirklees’ approach to the issue, along with that of councils in Birmingham, Sandwell and Dudley.
The union said authorities seemed determined to make life difficult for teachers.
General secretary Chris Keates said: “It is times like this when teachers have the opportunity to see whether the dedication and commitment they give day in day out and year in year out is valued by their employer.
“Sadly, the conclusion in all too many cases is that it is not. Many teachers do not have the good employers they deserve.”
Reinwood Junior School teacher Mrs Binns, 31, is among those affected.
She was due to return home to Ripponden from a holiday in Qatar, in the Middle East, with her husband, Edward, 41, and two-year-old son, Oliver, on Saturday.
But they may have to wait until April 30 for a flight back.
Mrs Binns estimated it could cost her £1,000 in lost earnings.
Speaking from her hotel, she accused the council of lacking compassion.
She added: “I appreciate it’s not the council’s fault – but it isn’t mine either.
“They have told me to claim from my travel insurers, but I have been in touch with them and they will not cover anything at all due to it being an act of God.
“I’m sure Kirklees Council knows this. This means that I am missing work and having to spend money to live here while not being paid and the bills and mortgage still going out.”
A Kirklees Council spokesman said the authority was taking a “flexible” approach.
He added: “The advice we have given to schools is that staff who have been absent should be allowed to make up as much time as possible.
“This can be done through working extra sessions, such as before and after the regular school opening hours.
“Where it isn’t possible to make up all the lost time, guidance is that any extra sessions are combined with authorised unpaid leave.
“This is in line with national guidance.
“It is important to stress that schools are open and standards of education are not being compromised – staff are working hard to cover for absent colleagues and schools are also using supply staff where possible.”
He said many local authorities were faced with the same issue.
Councils in neighbouring Leeds and Bradford are letting individual schools deal with pay issues.
Education Leeds said it had left decisions over teachers’ pay to the discretion of headteachers.
Bradford Council said decisions were up to the governing bodies.
What do you think? Is it right teachers should get paid for not being at work or do you think that everyone who has been stranded by the ash cloud is entitled to get their pay? have your say below.