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Agencies will 'find way round pay'

Teacher supply agencies will find ways of getting round a new European court ruling entitling freelance workers to four weeks' paid holiday a year, says the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

Two weeks ago union officials were predicting that all supply agencies would either have to increase their daily rates or give teachers holiday pay, following the ruling by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ("Agencies cornered over supply staff", TES, July 6).

But Brian Clegg, the union's assistant secretary for salaries, pensions and conditions of service, says the union already has evidence that employers in other industries are dodging the holiday pay requirements by forcing workers to sign new contracts.

Employers who adopt this tactic claim that holiday pay is included in the daily rate, although the pay remains the same.

To satisfy the new legislation, a system of accruing leave might have to be introduced for supply teachers and those on temporary contracts, according to employment law experts in Scotland.

"We don't feel this will be very popular with supply teachers, who like the current system of receiving a higher daily rate which includes holiday pay," commented Dan Brown, the joint secretary for the management side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

In Scotland, there are few private supply agencies, so most temporary teachers are employed by local education authorities on a daily rate of 1195th of an annual salary.

However, Mr Brown said that UK legislation currently in the pipeline might stipulate that casual workers are simply paid a higher daily rate to allow for holiday legislation.

Susannah Kirkman

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