Co-ordinators could get active on equal pay legislation

20th March 2009 at 00:00

Councils could be liable to legal action from active schools co-ordinators under equal pay legislation, it has emerged.

Some active schools co-ordinators are teachers and, therefore, benefit from a teacher's pay and conditions, such as longer summer holidays.

However, non-teachers who do the job full-time are employed under a different, and often less favourable, set of terms and conditions. Councils have been warned they may have to equalise the employment conditions of the two groups.

Sportscotland, the national sport agency which funds the active schools network, has told councils that they must comply with all current employment legislation, including the Single Status Agreement based on equal pay for jobs of equal value. This agreement has already cost councils millions of pounds, forcing them to compensate mainly women who were deemed to have been paid less than men for doing jobs of equal value.

In its conditions of investment document, sportscotland stresses that local authorities will be responsible for "any liabilities which may arise as a result of implementation or a failure to implement the Single Status Agreement".

The TESS understands that some local authorities are beginning to address the problem. However, Brian Harris, sport and outdoor education manager at Edinburgh City Council, highlighted equal pay as an ongoing issue for active schools co-ordinators at a recent meeting with MSPs at Wester Hailes Education Centre.

"Councils could be open to claims," he warned the politicians.

The Active Schools network was set up in 2003 and comprises 630 co-ordinators and 32 managers. It is responsible for putting in place and driving forward a range of planned activities in both school and community settings.

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