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NQT struggling. Maternity cover contracts, pay and tax

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by maggielelii, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Hi I'm wondering if someone can offer me any advice. After graduating from my PGCE I was one of the unlucky ones who didn't get a post. I received an internship from Sept to Dec on a very low wage and started supply just before Christmas. In Jan I did about a week in different schools until I started long term cover at one school, initially from Jan to April and then they extended from April to July. Paid through the agency on a day to day rate, I wasn't eligible for sick or holiday pay which is the norm but I did negotiate my rate to try and cover the half term. I was talking home about £545 a week, not bad as an NQT I know. However with Easter holidays looming I decided to apply for a 6 month maternity cover post which included Easter and Summer holidays. I got the job and started last week. Does anyone know where I stand with pay? At the moment I don't know when I will be paid or how much, as the school is in Wales, I have to re-register with the GTCW and the Headteachers PA said they may have to pay me as unqualified until that comes through. I am used to getting paid weekly and am worried that I am going to have to wait 2 months for my first pay packet and I'm guessing it will be around the £1300 mark after tax. I worked it all out before I went for the job, and because of the holidays it was beneficial for me to take the maternity cover but I can't help thinking I'm getting a raw deal going from 2200 a month to 1300! The fact that I hate my new school is another adding factor. Staff and students alike I do not seem to be getting n well there. While I loved the first school, only the long commute and lack of holiday pay made me look elsewhere. My new school has yet to show me a contract, tell me when I will be paid, mention my induction and so far I have just had hassel from my department. I have thought about leaving already 2 weeks in. I should note, I have been off sick this week which I KNOW is not a good start for someone in a new job but I had laryngitis and could not talk. On my first week I started getting ill, and still went to a parents academic review day for 14 hours and INSET day on the friday. Not one person asked me how I was feeling while I coughed and choked over the parents. I spent the whole wkend in bed, thinking I could rest and Monday I'd be fine but to no avail. I understand if I left I'd be breaching a verbal contract and they could take me to court. There is also a permanent job in my ideal location coming up for Sept which I want to apply for, I know I will have to put my current head as a reference, and do not know how to approach the subject as the this maternity post runs into Sept/ Oct, so they tell me or until post holder returns.... If anyone could offer me any advice I would be very grateful, I know there are a lot of problems in this post! The way I am currently feeling, I would happily give up teaching tomorrow. Except I am too stubborn to let it beat me. Thanks for reading
  2. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I'm assuming that your current maternity cover post is a contract one with the LA, not a private agency. As such you will almost certainly get paid more than with the agency, not less!
    Even if they pay you on the Unqualified scale initially, they will pay arrears to M1 qualified pay once they establish your QTS.
    They can select the point on the Unqualified scale that pays just below M1 so you shouldn't be grossly underpaid in the interim.
    M1 is £21588 per year and will be paid in equal monthly instalments for each whole months you are employed with them.
    Gross monthly pay will be £1799 and you should get your first pay at the end of April.
    That may look like less than you earned on daily agency pay but April only has about 9 school days at most so you wouldn't have earned much on agency employment at your last school.
    You definitely do not want to miss out on 6 weeks of full summer holiday pay, which makes being on contract advantageous to you given that the permanent postholder is not likely to be 'returning' to work on the first day of the summer break. Many do that and the daily paid or fixed term supply teacher stops getting paid at that point.
    You could get a job with a September start, I suppose, and resign with effect from 31st August but that won't go down too well with the school. You'd need to check what the resignation terms are on your contract. It could be simply a month's notice. If it follows standard notice periods, though, you'd have to inform them by 31st May that you wished to leave the employment on 31st August. Missing the 31st May deadline, if it applies, would mean not being able to leave until the return of the postholder.
    I think it's more likely that it's a month's notice on your part and perhaps a week's notice on the employers side. If that is the case, the Head is likely to consider issuing you notice in July to avoid paying you over the summer.
    Assuming you get the other job, the school might wait until further into Sept/Oct for you to start.You might also want to request that the interviewing school don't request a reference from your school immediately if they shortlist you.
    If you want to feel less tied to the school, you could suggest being paid on the LA supply daily rate. That would allow you to leave at short notice and 25% of the daily rate would be advance holiday pay.
    M1 Daily rate is £110-70. Work out how many school days there are between the start of the employment and the end of term in July (minus days so far on sick leave) and then compare the sum with 5 months of f/t contract pay to the end of August. I think you'll find that you're about £2k or more better off on contract.
    Bear in mind thta you've started work in the dying days of the term and everyone is tired. Pupils are definitely not as work-motivated. Things are likely to be much more encouraging after the Easter break.

  3. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    Whereas Jubilee has covered the legalities and salary concerns I just wanted to offer my advice on the emotional aspect of your situation. I have to say that you need to try and be more positive. Yes it's annoying that you haven't got a permanent role yet and had to do supply (poor you on such poor money!) but you are sounding a bit like a victim here; that will never look good at interview. I would really advise you to take a fresh look at whichever role you end up doing. Be positive. Be helpful and friendly. Don't moan. It can get you EVERYWHERE.

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