#COVID-19 Update! – Will schools be opening over Easter holidays and weekends? If so, do I have to come in and will I be paid?

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Some schools in #Coventry have indicated that they will be opening during what would normally be the Easter holidays in order to provide support for the children of critical workers. Some have also indicated that they intend to open seven days a week.

UNISON is encouraging members to support the national effort to enable critical workers to continue working. However, we do not believe that staff should be forced to work outside their normal contracted hours, particularly if they have caring commitments of their own.

Many staff in schools are on term time only contracts. This means that they are not contracted or paid to work during school closure periods.

If term time only staff are required to work outside their normal contracted hours, i.e. in the school holidays, then they should be paid for this. This is specified (para 4.5) of the NJC guidance on term time only working, which states, ‘If term time only employees are required to undertake work outside of their contracted hours, they must be appropriately remunerated.’

Staff will normally be paid at their standard hourly rate if they are working on what is a normal working day. However, if staff are required to work on a weekend or a public holiday then we would expect overtime premiums to apply. These are normally agreed at local authority level but are typically time and a half for working on a Saturday and double time for Sundays or public holidays.

In addition, we would also expect overtime premiums to apply if you work over the standard working week in any given working week. The standard week is normally 37 hours per week outside London and 36 hours per week in London. Some authorities have a shorter standard working week. Where staff are being required to work beyond the standard working week they should normally be paid at time and a half for these hours.

We would expect schools to seek volunteers in the first instance and to consider any booked holiday or caring commitments. If this becomes a regular working pattern, then consideration will need to be given to the annual leave accrued whilst working additional hours.

If you have any concerns regarding term time only working, please contact the office on 02476 550829 on by email office@unisoncoventry.co.uk