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Support staff: Term-time working

An initial section of guidance on term-time working has now been agreed between the local government employers and the recognised trade unions.

As part of the 2016-18 pay deal, the local government employers and the recognised trade unions agreed to conduct a joint review of term-time working to consider a national approach “to deliver fair, consistent and transparent contracts for school support staff”.

An initial section of guidance has now been agreed and covers the following issues:

  • Guiding principles on calculation of pay and annual leave (including advisory model calculation).
  • Designation of annual leave.
  • Calculation of redundancy pay.
  • Termination of employment or contractual change part way through leave year.
  • Payment for overtime and additional working hours.
  • School closure periods (including public holidays, special leave, public duties).
  • Training and career development. 
  • Participation in trade union activities and duties. 

Changes have been negotiated to the Green Book Part 4.12 which reflects the new position. It is intended in due course to issue further guidance relating to sickness and maternity, maternity support, adoption, parental and shared parental leave and pay for term-time only employees. 

We would specifically refer members and Reps to the following paragraphs:

4.2 - Calculation of pay. Schools should be asked to confirm how TTO pay is being calculated, and to ensure that the calculation is included in the Statement of Particulars of Employment.

4.4 - Advertising of posts. The habit of some schools of advertising the FTE rate of pay, instead of the actual, TTO one, is now officially outlawed.

4.5 - Pay for additional hours. This is a welcome restatement of the official position on occasional and regular additional hours worked. And Paragraph 11.1 confirms that additional non-standard hours worked should be compensated at the appropriate overtime rate (See Green Book Part 3, Paragraph 2.3).

4.6 - INSET. This clears up any ambiguity about whether INSET days are working, paid days. This means that if you are a full-time employee in term-time, then the appropriate overtime rate should apply.

And as you will see, there are many other positive aspects to the guidance.

The guidance recommends that employers review their term-time only working policies and pay and leave calculations to ensure that they are consistent with the principles outlined in this guidance, and consult with recognised trade unions about any proposed changes.

Support staff members should liaise with their school Rep or Contact, or in the absence of one, with your Branch Secretary, to ensure that the school conducts the review in a timely manner.

Holiday Pay for Term Time Only (TTO) support staff – New Government Guidance and changes to the Green Book (March 2024)

New Government Regulations on the calculation of holiday pay will from April 2024 begin to come into effect as regards part-year workers. The intention behind the Regulations is to reverse the Supreme Court decision in Harpur Trust v Brazel, and thus potentially to remove the right of term-time only (TTO) education workers to the full minimum statutory leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks under the Working Time Regulations. The changes will come into effect at the start of the next holiday year commencing on or after 1 April 2024 and Government guidance on the changes has been issued to explain how the legislation will operate in practice.

Changes have been negotiated to the Green Book Part 4.12 which reflect the new position. Please click here to download a copy of the revised Green Book.

Following the introduction of the regulations employers, who have in recent times negotiated amendments to employment contracts to reflect the previous Supreme Court position, may seek to change those contracts to reduce the paid leave entitlement of TTO members, which would have repercussions for their annualised pro-rata pay . It is important to be aware that employers cannot do so unilaterally and their ability to do this will be dependent on the wording of employees’ contracts: it is not a given that such a change would be lawful. The NJC have recommended that employers “should assess whether there is a contractual entitlement to the current amount of leave”.

Part-year workers under the Green Book are regarded as protected by the Part-Time Workers’ Regulations and are entitled to pro-rata holiday commensurate with that which is paid to full-year round workers employed under the same terms and conditions. This may already amount to around 5.6 weeks’ leave as the holiday entitlements under the Green Book are significantly more generous than the statutory minimum.

Branches/Districts should seek urgent advice from their NEU Regional Office if employers seek to force through changes to annual leave entitlements and members should contact their branches or the NEU Adviceline.

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