The employment of most support staff in the maintained and academy sectors is governed by the National Joint Council National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service Handbook (the Green Book). In addition, each support staff member should have a contract of employment with his or her school or local authority (LA).
- Your employer has a legal duty to give you a written statement of the particulars of your employment within two months of you starting your job. The statement should contain, for example, your hours of work, holiday entitlement, place of work, etc.
- Your employer should also state the title of your job and a brief description of the work for which you are employed.
- Your 'contract of employment' is comprised of the written statement of the particulars of employment together with (depending on individual circumstances) the letter of appointment, and other particulars of your employment that are provided to you in instalments or contained in separate collective agreements. All of these might be contained or referred to in a contract of employment that you and your employer sign.
- The standard working week for most full-time employees is 37 hours (36 in London). This must be specified in your contract.
- There is no requirement to work above these hours.
- If you are asked to work over your contractual hours, then you should be paid for it. If you are asked to work over the full-time equivalent hours set out in your contract (e.g. over 37 hours), then the rate of overtime will depend on whether you are working on weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays or overnight. See the Green Book, Part 3, Paragraph 2.6, for further information.
Term-time only pay
- Employees on term-time-only contracts are entitled by law to paid leave, and this entitlement is usually added on (but reduced on a pro rata basis) to the weeks worked to establish the overall salary. For example, if a school is open for 39 weeks and there is a leave entitlement of five weeks, then the employee must be paid for 39 weeks, plus their leave entitlement (reduced on a pro rata basis). The salary is usually divided by 12 and paid in equal monthly instalments throughout the year to ensure that the employee receives regular payments.
- If term time workers are required to undertake work outside of their contracted hours they must be appropriately remunerated. Any such additional hours should be incorporated into contractual arrangements if they are an ongoing feature of the post.
- Schools particularly should take steps to identify the hours required of support staff and to pay for all such hours. For example, staff should be paid if required to attend INSET training days or parent’s evenings.
- Unlike teachers, most support staff members are employed on a term-time only basis. This means being paid only for the weeks that the school is open, e.g. 39 weeks, plus paid leave entitlement.
- If full-time, you are entitled to a minimum of 31 days paid leave per year, inclusive of bank and extra statutory holidays, with a further 4 days after 5 years of continuous service.
- Time off (whether paid or unpaid) to attend one-off events, such as graduations, is at the discretion of the headteacher.
- Leave for compassionate reasons (whether paid or unpaid), such as bereavement, is also at the discretion of the headteacher, but NEU would expect most schools to look favourably on such requests.
- LA or MAT policies on special leave might also apply to schools.