Schools wrongly make recruiters ‘banker’ for furloughed supply teachers

Recruiters are being asked to “basically act as a bank for the public sector”, according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies.

This is in situations where public sector bodies have misunderstood or are ignoring government instructions stemming from the Covid-19 lockdown, said APSCo.

As a result, supply teachers who are on live assignments but cannot work due to the Covid-19 lockdown could be missing out on receiving 80% of their salaries – without being furloughed – from their employing state-funded schools.

The instruction – which is separate from the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS) – requires that all public sector bodies continue to pay contingent workers at least 80% of their salaries, through the relevant recruitment firm, together with the pro-rated margin. It is described by APSCo as an attempt by government to ensure temporary workers across the spectrum continue to receive most of their contractual earnings during any period when they can’t work because of Covid-19. 

“It is also designed to avoid the absurd scenario where government is claiming money back from itself,” APSCo said. “However, it seems that this is not always being followed.”

According to Samantha Hurley, APSCo operations director: “We have had reports of schools asking recruitment firms to furlough supply teachers and then claim the 80% of pay back from 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.”

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