Britain’s second-largest teaching union is calling for supply teachers employed by umbrella companies to be paid “fairly and equitably”.
The NASUWT is the second union this week to highlight concerns relating to the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) and is calling on the government to “to address the way the scheme is constructed” so that supply teachers can access 80 per cent of their wage when furloughed rather than a proportion of the national minimum wage.
Earlier this week, the NEU teaching union wrote to education secretary Gavin Williamson about the same problem, calling for a change in HMRC guidance, which says bonus and commission elements of a supply teacher’s pay packet from an umbrella company cannot be included in furlough pay.
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The NASUWT has today sent its own letter to the government in partnership with the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), the national body which represents umbrella companies.
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Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The fact that our two organisations have come together on this issue shows the critical importance of ensuring that supply teachers who are unable to access work are treated fairly and equitably, and receive the fullest amount of financial support available from the government at this critical time.”
The union action follows weeks of uncertainly for many of the 13,000 supply teachers in England. Many are facing a daily battle to get paid, and say new government guidance has made it unclear as to who is responsible for paying them.
Julia Kermode, chief executive of the FCSA, said:“Umbrella employers represented by the FCSA stand ready to support temporary workers, and want to calculate furlough pay based on average taxable earnings. However, they are currently unable to do so – a situation that the government must address as a matter of urgency.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We know this is an extremely challenging time for everyone, and many people are concerned about their job security.
“The government is doing everything it can to support people in work, including supply teachers. Our published guidance includes information about how schools and agencies can support supply teachers.”
Tes’ parent company, Tes Global, owns three teacher-supply agencies