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Advice needed please: No sick pay for first year...only ssp and Nest pension.

Discussion in 'Independent' started by pinktuss, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. pinktuss

    pinktuss New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I've recently accepted a new job at a very small independent school. I went to sign my contract today and was told that if I am sick within the first year then it's only ssp..the 2nd year 5 days pay, the 3rd year 10 days pay (that's the maximum)
    Is anyone else in the same position? Am thinking of getting some kind of illness cover, as this really worries me. I have a mortgage and a young family, so would be devastating if I was ill and only on ssp. I have had 2 weeks off sick in the last 2 years, and I'm generally in very good health, but you never know!

    Also, I naively thought that I could continue paying in to the teachers pension scheme. The new school has a nest pension. Does anyone have experience with this? How do you 2 pensions compare?

    Thank you so much in advance of your replies. Feeling quite anxious to be honest and hoping I'm not doing the wrong thing joining this new school .
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    We have 3 days sick pay and then SSP...that's it however long you've worked there.
    We have no TPS anymore, and most small preps have either opted out already or are in the process of doing so.

    Only you can decide if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
    Pay and conditions are rarely as good in independents, especially small ones, as they are in state.
  3. pinktuss

    pinktuss New commenter

    Thank you for the reply....appreciate it x
  4. asnac

    asnac Established commenter

    My school is similar to @caterpillartobutterfly in that the SSP kicks in early. However in reality sick staff stay on full pay for many weeks - I think it is designed to stop the incompetent but healthy going off for weeks or months with a doctor's note once their capability is challenged.

    Whatever the pension, it will almost certainly not provide the benefits of TPS. If you are a long-standing contributor to TPS and stand to gain the old benefits (such as final salary, retirement at 60), but are then out of the scheme for a certain number of years, then when rejoining you will not get the same level of benefits. Or, if you are a new member and have contributed less than a certain number of years in total (used to be two) you are liable to lose your TPS pension rights altogether if you leave the scheme.

    Disclaimer - please verify these points if they matter to you - I'm at the margins of my knowledge here but I thought I'd share just in case you hadn't considered these implications.
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Not my experience, but I have only ever worked in well-funded and well-known HMC schools.
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I've worked in several schools with no sick pay, just SSP. Its a precarious position, obviously, and something to take into account when considering a job. If you have already signed the contract, there is not much you can do about it now, is there, except try and put some savings aside each month, and start looking for you next post as soon as is decent, if it is worrying you
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    That's what we've always had before. Then last summer we were informed that from Sept we'd be paid sick pay in line with our contracts. Cue everyone looking at their contract to find out what the heck it said. Hence we all now know it is 3 consecutive days.
    However, some staff seem to have been off for all sorts of reasons on a great many more days...just not more than 3 consecutive, so presumably we'll get something else next year to sort them out!
    asnac likes this.
  8. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    What a bunch of Scrooges your Indy leaders (or owners) sound like! We get 10 days sick pay at my Indy unless the sickness is related to an equality act health issue. We also get a NEST pension. At the time when I was offered a permanent contract (a few years ago now), a manger admitted to me that it was a token gesture. However, the TPS did tell me (at this time) that I can transfer my NEST money into the TPS if I go back to a school or college that does pay into the TPS.

    Hope this post helps

    Good luck
  9. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster Occasional commenter

    The sick pay is not ideal, but I would consider very carefully whether you want to work in a school outside of the TPS, it is such a huge benefit. If it is a recent move due to the increase in costs, you might also want to check the school’s financial footing (check out their charity report if they are a charity), as a financially precarious employer is not a particularly pleasant situation to be in.
  10. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    NEST pension is a fairly standard money purchase investment. It's been set up by the Government and should be a fairly safe investment. (That's despite my considerable reservations about the competency of this particular Government).
    I have one with my current employer.
    What you must take account of is your contribution rate. It's quite possible that you could be putting away a very small percentage of your salary - perhaps as little as 3%. If your school is trying to control costs, they may try to set this up so that their matched contributions are minimised.
    A 3% contribution rate is probably the worst of all worlds. You think you're saving for the future, but you're tucking away almost nothing. (most state school teachers pay more than 8% and have a big contribution from employers).
    When you come to cash in a pension you've paid into, you find that the annual income based on an annuity might be rather small.
    You should ask the school to pay in more for your contribution (even if they can't / won't match it) or expect to pay significant amounts into some other pension vehicle.
    I am not a pensions adviser. You should talk to a professional for best advice about where best to save for the future.

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