OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE AGENCY WORKERS REGULATIONS 2011 (AWR)

There has been much unhelpful scare mongering about the AWR which came into force in October 2011. The Regulations give basic rights to agency workers, the majority of which seem fair and right, are of little concern and are not onerous for schools.

Agencies will however have a number of new obligations and will need better monitoring systems to ensure that they comply with the Regulations.

TimePlan has always asked schools to treat supply teachers and other school support staff fairly and decently and this right to fair treatment has now been enshrined in legislation.

Basically, agency supply teachers and support staff will have certain rights from day 1 of an assignment and then additional rights after week 12. Schools will be responsible for the following:

Day 1 rights

From the first day of an assignment in a school, agency workers will have the same rights as permanent staff members to:

Collective Facilities and Amenities

For schools this means that the agency worker must have access to existing provisions already available to permanent staff doing the same, or a similar, job in the school such as:

  • A canteen or similar, including school meals
  • Photocopying facilities – for class worksheets etc
  • Books and other learning resources
  • Toilet/shower facilities
  • Staff room
  • Coffee/tea making facilities or food and drink machines
  • Car parking if available
  • School buses
  • Workplace crèche
  • Mother and baby room

It does not mean that the agency worker has enhanced rights – for example if there is a waiting list for the car park the agency worker would not have a right to a car parking space but they would have a right to go on the waiting list.

As part of TimePlan’s Terms and Conditions we already require schools to provide access to such facilities and this therefore represents no change.

Access to Information Regarding Vacancies

Agency workers will have the right to be provided with information about relevant job vacancies with the school in the same way that existing comparable employees are. Schools will need to ensure that the agency worker knows where to access such information e.g. a noticeboard.

Rights after week 12

After an agency supply teacher or support staff has completed a 12 week “qualifying” period in the same school (or sister school with the same Governing Body), in the same role, they will be entitled to the same basic terms and conditions as if they had been employed directly by the school.

Happily, many of the provisions in the Regulations do not apply to schools and school workers e.g. night work, rest periods, minimum annual leave.

However, some provisions may impinge upon the school and may have a cost implication for the school and TimePlan. These are:

Calculating the Qualifying Period

It does not matter if the agency worker does one day week or five days a week, the 12 week qualifying period starts from day one of the first week. School holidays and illness do not constitute a break in service for calculating the qualifying period.

It is TimePlan’s responsibility for monitoring placements and calculating if and when one of its supply teachers or support staff has completed a 12 week “qualifying” period in a school.

However, since we also have to include any periods that the agency worker has been supplied to you by another agency we have amended our Terms and Conditions to include a clause asking schools to tell us if this is the case. We have also included a new clause in our contract with staff asking them the same thing.

Paid time off for ante natal appointments

TimePlan will meet any additional costs here and provide a replacement worker should the school require one.

If a risk assessment is required it is the school’s responsibility to carry one out and make any adjustments to remove the risk if possible.

Equal Pay

After 12 weeks all agency workers will be entitled to a pay rate which is equivalent to that which a school would pay the worker if directly employed by them.

Since the majority of our overseas trained teachers and our various support staff already receive a rate of pay that is already equal to or above that paid by schools, this will not be an issue and rates charged to schools will be unaffected.

Teachers with QTS will be entitled to national pay scales unless they opt to enter a permanent contract of employment with TimePlan under the Swedish Derogation rules. Basically, under Swedish Derogation, we guarantee to pay teachers even if they do not work, in exchange for them opting out of equal pay rights. Therefore rates charged to schools will be unaffected.

Where teachers with QTS do not opt for the Swedish Derogation model (it is their choice) and have worked in your school for the 12 week qualifying period we will pay to scale and charge you

accordingly. We will of course consult with you first over charge rates so that you know the costs involved and give you the option on whether you would like that particular teacher.

Indemity

Since TimePlan is assuming responsibility for monitoring the 12 week qualifying period, should we make a mistake we will fully indemnify the school for any cost incurred.

Likewise, should we make an error over appropriate pay rates, TimePlan will be responsible for rectifying payments at no extra charge to the school.