Ground breaking victory for examiner employment rights


On the 20th April the National Education Union secured a ground breaking victory for our members working as senior examiners in exam boards across the country.

The NEU brought a test case to Employment Tribunal seeking worker status for one of our members working for Pearson Education Limited.

Many NEU members have worked for Pearson writing exam papers, setting grade boundaries, dealing with grade appeals, and ensuring the smooth running and consistent marking of exams across the country for many years without ever being classed as a worker or enjoying any of the rights associated with that such as holiday pay, minimum wage and protection against unlawful discrimination.

The situation came to the attention of the NEU when our members started contacting us during Covid, when summer exams were cancelled and senior examiners - many of whom rely on this work as their sole income - were left with cancelled contracts and no way to pay their bills. Pearson refused to furlough these individuals, claiming they were self-employed, whilst HMRC indicated they were not eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme as they believed they were employed.

This test case has forced Pearson to admit that our member is indeed a worker and is entitled to holiday pay, amongst other things, securing a back payment for our member.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union;

“What this case has highlighted is that across the country the highly skilled and experienced professionals who are responsible for writing all exam papers, ensuring they are marked fairly and consistently and keeping the entire exam system going are all on precarious piecemeal contracts with no job security or employment rights afforded to them. The National Education Union is hopeful that this test case is just the beginning of securing improved employment rights and security for all those examiners who are integral to the smooth running of the UKs exam system."

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