Many schools are ignoring specific instructions from the Government which says that public sector contingent workers who are on live assignments but cannot work due to COVID-19 should continue to be paid at least 80% of their salaries by their employer – and should not be furloughed. This includes supply teachers working in state funded schools but, according to The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), many schools have either misunderstood – or are ignoring – this latest guidance.
In short, this instruction requires that all of the public sector continues to pay contingent workers 80% of their rates, via the relevant recruitment firm, together with the pro-rated margin. This is an attempt by Government to ensure temporary workers (whether agency worker, umbrella worker or a contractor working through a personal services company) continue to receive most of their contractual earnings during any period when they can’t work due to COVID-19. It is also designed to avoid the absurd scenario where Government is claiming money back from itself. However, it seems that this is not always being followed.
Commenting on the issue, Samantha Hurley, Operations Director at APSCo said:
“We have had reports of schools asking recruitment firms to furlough supply teachers and then claim the 80% of pay back from the Government which goes completely against the rules and is akin to asking recruiters, which have seen their activity slashed, to basically act as a bank for the public sector. The guidance clearly states that payment of the temporary worker during this period should be funded via the public sector organisation that has the temporary worker on assignment and it is incumbent upon schools to follow these rules.”