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Council's pay policy changes leave teachers out of pocket

Changes to a Scottish council's pay policy have left at least one teacher unpaid for almost three weeks of the summer holidays and pound;1,000 out of pocket.

English teacher Claire Little left Elgin High in Moray at the end of last session to join Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen at the start of the new school year, expecting to be paid by her former employer for the whole summer break.

The national agreement on teachers' conditions of service states that if a teacher works a full year, he or she accrues a full leave entitlement.

But despite having worked in Moray for eight years, Miss Little was told by Moray Council that it would not pay her beyond 1 August because the pay year for teachers runs from 1 August to 31 July.

She therefore missed out on almost three weeks' worth of wages - about pound;1,000.

After the expense of relocating to Aberdeen, she had been left with "less than nothing to live on".

According to the EIS union, Miss Little is not alone and "a whole raft" of teachers who retired at the end of the school year have also been shortchanged by Moray Council's new policy.

The council was "basically wrong" in its interpretation of teachers' conditions of service, said Drew Morrice, EIS assistant secretary.

He has raised the issue with the local authorities' umbrella body, Cosla, he said. Similar problems had arisen previously in Dundee and Angus, but Cosla had assured the EIS they had been resolved, he added.

Moray Council maintains, however, that the changes it has made are "in accordance with the national agreement" and based on "specific advice" it sought from Cosla.

Cosla's interpretation of the pay regulations appears to be the same as the EIS's, however. A Cosla spokesman told TESS that a teacher leaving in August "will be entitled to be paid for the annual leave accrued in the period from the start of school session in August, up to 1 September, when the leave year starts".

He continued: "The pay year for teachers in Scotland is 1 August to 31 July and this may have confused matters in this instance. This advice will clear up the position of the teacher in Moray Council."

emma.seith@tess.co.uk.

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