NEW rights for part-time teachers covering pay, pensions, training and holidays are to be extended to supply staff, writes Julie Henry.
After pressure from unions and equal-rights groups, Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers has agreed to broaden the scope of the new European directive protecting part-timers to include temporary and agency workers.
More than 15,000 part-time and 16,600 supply teachers should benefit.
Kay Jenkins, National Union of Teachers assistant secretary, said: "We are delighted that the part-time workers' rights have been extended to casual workers.
"It will mean part-time and supply teachers should now have the same rights as those working full-time, making it easier to address any issues of discrimination."
Ms Jenkins said the union would check in detail the new legislation to ensure supply teachers employed by an agency but working full-time were also covered by the directive. Currently, teachers in that position have limited employment rights.
The new rights which come into effect on July 1, will be particularly useful for part-timers attempting to pass the pound;2,000 performance-related pay threshold, according to Ms Jenkins
Union lawyers have predicted a flood of discrimination cases from part-time and ob-share teachers who want to cross the pay threshold but find it hard to prove they have helped pupils progress.
Part-timers will receive the same hourly and overtime rate as full-time workers. They will no longer be barred from training and they will have the same pro-rata entitlement to annual leave and parental leave as full-timers.
The measures will also simplify the legal position for part-timers - 80 per cent of whom are women - who will no longer have to go down the indirect and costly route of claiming discrimination.
Part-timers who believe they have been treated unfairly must request a statement in writing and employers must respond within 21 days.
The regulations will only be applied where comparisons can be made between part-time and full-time workers with the same type of contract.
But workers such as lunchtime supervisors and cleaners, who are almost always employed as part-timers, will have no means of defining what rights a comparable full-timer would have.
A "Wanna find out about 'virtual gorilla modelling'? We got it. 'Teaching
dribbling to third-graders'? That too.
'Home economics in Malta'? Yup."
David Budge reports from the American Educational Research Association
conference. Page 25.