NEU Checklist for supply members

If you are considering an offer of supply work or are asked by an agency to say whether you are available for supply work, read this NEU checklist for supply members before responding.

Returning to schools

Can I work in more than one school?

The DfE guidance states that supply staff and peripatetic staff can move between schools. Contact the NEU reps in each of the schools you are working in and ensure that you have details of the health and safety precautions before you enter the premises. Follow the advice in the supply checklist (link) when responding to offers of work. If you are unable to get hold of the NEU rep, ask your agency to obtain this information.

At each school it is important that you minimise contact and maintain as much distance as possible from other staff. The NEU is pressing all employers to ensure that their safety procedures cover supply workers and other visitors. This is to make sure that the employer can continue to use supply staff and that they can work in safety.

Will I be permitted to wear a face mask or face covering in a school where I am assigned to work?

The NEU’s position (in line with HSE advice) is that any member of staff should be permitted to wear a face mask or face covering should they wish to do so.

I have started working in two schools. I have been told by one school I must self-isolate for 14 days due to an outbreak of coronavirus at that school. What should I do?

First and foremost, you must not attend the second school. You should inform them as to what has happened. You can claim statutory sick pay if you are self-isolating because you’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that you’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus. You should try and get this in writing.

As from 10 June the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is closed.

No employee or worker can now be furloughed after 10 June 2020 if they have not been furloughed at some stage prior to that date.

Am I entitled to receive furlough pay over the school summer holidays?

Unfortunately, the position is unclear. The NEU believes you should be paid if your furlough payments were calculated over 52 weeks.

In addition, when asked in parliament whether supply staff could receive furlough payments during the school summer holidays the Treasury confirmed that they could be,“where they are otherwise eligible for the scheme.” It is not clear what “otherwise eligible” means and attempts to get further clarity have not been successful so far.

If your agency or umbrella company is refusing to pay you over the school holidays, this template letter explains our view of the DfE guidance.

Link to existing template letter

What can I do if my agency or umbrella company refused to pay me during the school summer holidays?

Please contact the Adviceline for support in pursuing the issue with your employer. However, it is important to remember that the scheme does not create any employment rights and is a purely voluntary scheme. This means that there is no legal redress should your employer disagree with NEU’s position.

Is the CJRS changing?

The CJRS is changing in two ways.

  1. From 1 July the scheme enables flexibility so that the worker can partially work, and the rest of the time be furloughed. The HMRC guidance sets out how employers can work out a worker’s “usual hours”, based on the last tax year, if the hours are not set.

For example, if your “usual hours” last year were 25 hours per week, you can work 10 hours and be furloughed for the remaining 15 hours.

  1. From 1 August employers will be required to contribute to furlough payments.
  • In August employers will have to pay the employer’s national insurance contributions (ENICs) and pension contributions.
  • From 1 September employers will pay 10% of furlough payments, ENICs and pension contributions.
  • In October employers will pay 20% of furlough payments, ENICs and pension contributions.

The Scheme will end on 31 October 2020.

At this stage we do not know if agencies and umbrella companies will continue to access the scheme once the changes come in, but we will do our best to persuade them to do so. 

See our more detailed advice on furlough for supply educators below.

NEU Survey on Supply Worker Employment and COVID-19

This NEU survey report sets out the findings of a survey conducted in April/May on how supply workers have been treated during the current crisis.

The various arrangements offering financial support to businesses and workers during the coronavirus crisis are not mandatory and involve no new rights for workers. The NEU’s position, however, is that businesses which have made significant profits from the hard work of our supply members over the years should do everything possible to ensure they receive financial support. The latest DfE guidance is available here.

The support available to you depends on your working arrangements prior to schools closing. These are summarised below.


See our more detailed advice on furlough for supply educators below.

Please contact the NEU adviceline if you need more specific assistance –