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School Support Staff FAQs
In producing this list of FAQs, we have sought to respond to the range of queries most commonly posed by employers. Some of the responses will be the current position and may be subject to change. However, any necessary amendments will be made to keep the information up to date.
1. Now that the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB) is to be abolished what will be the arrangements for school support staff?
School support staff will remain on their current pay and conditions under the NJC Green Book or other local arrangements. The National Employers for School Support Staff (NESSS) is considering how and whether the work undertaken within the SSSNB, such as the development of model role profiles and a term time formula, could be taken forward. NESSS is also consulting internally within the LG Group to see what the most appropriate structural arrangements should be for school support staff workforce issues.
2. What is a school support staff term-time employee’s entitlement to annual leave while on maternity leave?
There is advice on our website about this, i.e. that there is a right to take statutory annual leave separate from maternity leave and this should be taken during school closure periods. Where a term time employee is paid a salary spread over 12 equal monthly payments, it is important to recognise this and make the necessary adjustment when calculating maternity pay.
3. Is there a minimum age for a teaching assistant in a maintained school?
We are not aware of any barrier or any regulation with regard to a minimum age that would for example prevent a 17 year old being appointed as a teaching assistant.
The Training and Development Agency explains the role of the teaching assistant and no minimum age limit is mentioned.
4. Under the old 'Purple Book' at paragraph 50(4)(f) Accident – Third Party Claim: it states that "An employee who is absent as a result of an accident shall not be entitled to an allowance if damages may be receivable from a third party as a result of such accident..." etc. In such cases the authority advanced 'sick pay' to the employee on the understanding they would refund it when they settled their claim for damages with the third party that had injured them. Is this still a feature of the Green Book?
It is not referred to in the NJC Green Book. It was not carried forward into the Green Book as local authorities felt it had been difficult to operate in practice for a number of reasons including difficulties around the timing and extent of injury compared with the timing of settlement of any claim.
However, the fact that this does not form part of the national agreement does not prevent employers making this a contractual obligation and some still do so. If employers are to make this a contract term they must be very precise as to how it operates and there must be evidence to show other involved parties, e.g. insurers, solicitors, court, etc. The employee must be clear from the outset of the nature of the payments being made and that they will need to include this in their claim from the third party causing the injury.
5. Is there LG Employers guidance on continuous service where an employee has two jobs and may be made redundant from one of the jobs?
Continuous service can be a very complex issue particularly where a number of contracts are involved. We have produced a guide to the law on multiple contracts which explains some key issues.
6. How many episodes of dependants’ leave is it reasonable for an employer to allow?
All employees can take reasonable unpaid leave to take action in relation to dependants. For a more complete list of what employers need to consider the advice has been produced by the former Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Further government guidance can be found on the Business Link website.
7. Can a Business Manager be paid in accordance with the Leadership Pay Spine for Teachers (5 point range)?
Business Managers and all school support staff should be paid in accordance with the provisions of the NJC Green Book or other local arrangements and the only people who should be paid on the Leadership pay spine are Heads, Deputy or Assistant Heads. The leadership pay spines are only payable to teachers. It is possible to pay a Business Manager at a comparable level of pay if the role warrants this. However, in doing so, the Governing Body/Local Authority must ensure that such a level of pay is in line with employer pay policy and is within the grading structure that applies to other non-teaching staff.
8. What advice is available on the statutory minimum pay protection duration within the NJC for Local Government Services conditions (as there is with the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions which has three years' protection)?
There is no statutory pay protection period. Decisions on pay protection arrangements are matters for local determination.
9. If a term time only contracted employee paid in twelve equal monthly instalments, gives notice to leave with less than a month to go of term time working, are they entitled to a month's pay in lieu of notice?
The entitlement in these circumstances would be to any outstanding pay (including holiday pay for any holiday untaken (unless they are immediately taking up another job within the same authority without a break in service) up to the last day of service (their last working day).