State schools can receive extra government money to furlough some staff in certain circumstances, new Department for Education guidance reveals.
This will be allowed where schools "have a separate private income stream (for example, catering, sports facilities lettings or boarding provision funded by parents in state boarding schools)".
"Where this income has either stopped or been reduced and there are staff that are typically paid from those private income streams, it may be appropriate to furlough staff," the guidance says.
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"Schools should first seek to make the necessary savings from their existing budget or consider options to redeploy these staff before furloughing them.
"Only after all other potential options have been fully considered should schools furlough those members of staff and seek support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme."
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The document also offers some protection to temporary school staff who have seen their contracts ended early because of the virus outbreak.
It says: "Where schools have terminated contracts with contingent workers due to coronavirus (Covid-19) earlier than the original terms set out, and where the school was the workers’ employer under that contract, schools should reinstate these contracts on the terms previously agreed, as long as the contractor is not already accessing alternative support through another government support scheme."
The NASUWT teaching union had written to education secretary Gavin Williamson highlighting the “unacceptable” practice of schools ending fixed-term contracts of teachers, during the pandemic. without paying them to the end of the contract.
For schools to furlough staff, the DfE says the following conditions need to be met:
- The employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and whose salary is not covered by public funding.
- The employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
- The employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded.
- (Where appropriate) the employee is not required to deliver provision for a child of a critical worker and/or vulnerable child.
- The grant from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would not duplicate other public grants received and would not lead to financial reserves being created.