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Sacked when off Sick Supplu Teacher

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by plumtree1, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

    looking for advice :- I have had a bad start to a new role that was supposed to be for the whole of January to end of academic year in July , the school wanted to me to work 12 weeks through the Agency (so not to pay a fee ) who sent my cv through and then offered me a contract for the remainder.
    I’ve been very unlucky and went down with flu turning into sinusitis in the first week and then returned to loose my sight in the secound week and ended up advised to go hospital with dangerously high blood pressure , I have spent a week in and out of doctors and nurses appointments and referrals since , finding out I have a hormonal imbalance which maybe effecting BP and other symptoms , I have been given several medications and ongoing checks .
    I have been in contact with my Agency daily and updated and forwarded detailed Cover everyday to the school.
    Yesterday they told me they don’t want me in anymore and won’t be honouring the contract in April :(
    I have worked really hard home from home and weekends etc planning and organising CPD to support the GCSEs etc etc . I’m so very gutted .
    I know I’m an Agency worker and such teeeibke timing to be I’ll but is there anything I can do ?
  2. Presleygirl

    Presleygirl Occasional commenter

    Properly not if nothing was signed. I had a supply post years ago was for a year but I met a girl on the bridge asked me directions to the school I was in. Told me she had an interview for the post I was doing. I found a new job two days later and left as he was getting rid of me ........ my rate of pay was due to go up.

    Speak to the union , supply but if not written down , signed then you need to put down to experience I’m afraid
  3. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    I’m so sorry to hear of your health troubles and I hope you will start to get better soon. Your health is the most important thing here. Sadly as supply teachers we have no job security at all and can be dropped without notice whenever the school wants. It’s harsh especially when you’ve been working hard and when we get no sick pay, but sadly there is nothing we can do about it.
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    You ought to have a contract from your agency, or if not, from your payroll company, which outlines notice periods on either side. Whilst it is unfortunately true that the school notice period is generally shorter than yours, you might also find that they are obliged to give you a week's notice. Check the contract, and if this is the case and they have not provided the week's notice, then claim for it.
    You ought also to make sure you submit timesheet claims for the hours you spent working on the cover work.
    At the same time I would contact the school, and thank them for the experience, and then request that they kindly agree to signing any papers as referees in the future. Tell them how sure you are that they understand the requirement for them to verify that you have worked for them. Don't do it through your agency. Forget them.Speak to the school.
    Sign up with as many other agencies as possible. This is because although you have been entirely honest with your current agency, you cannot preempt how they will regard the sick leave you have had to take. Whilst it is illegal to discriminate on health grounds, we all know that agencies can be fickle beasts, and there is no law to stop a thought process which cannot be evidenced.
    So-clean slate. And with your next agency placement, it really is worth actually reading the contract. You'll see in print how it is legitimised-as a supply teacher you are dispensable, a moveable feast. Best to know that in advance, because there are still variables across different agencies.
    You may also get a nice surprise from your current agency, since they rarely actually remove staff from their books. It's just that in honesty I don't think you'll be top of their list due to your recent inconsistent availability.
    It's not your fault, and it doesn't feel fair, but I'm sure you'll get there.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  5. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

    hi thank you for the reply , im going to ring my union and see what they say , i have a contract offer letter from the school for april to the end of july , i asked for this in writing .
    That must have been awful for you :(
    agathamorse and jlishman2158 like this.
  6. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply , you are completely right i have to get my health sorted first and that is priority ,ive read on here and on citizens advice that i may be able to claim for ssp ? i thought that with the school giving me a written offer for contract in april they wouldn't release me without notice .
  7. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    As agency staff. this is never your actual contract. Your contract is either with the agency or with your payroll company. And the conditions outlined in there override any "offer" the school has given you.
    it is really quite common for a school to give a semblance of commitment in such a letter, but it is not the binding conditions of employment. These are set by the agency, and an agency will always allow a short notice period to a school despite any such "promise" of long term work. This is for the obvious reason of the agency allowing a school flexibility.
    This is, in part, precisely why schools use agencies. The letter they gave you was simply "here you go, this is what we have available at the moment. You are allowed to take it up if you want".
    As others have also said, I really cannot see that you have any "recourse" for not being allowed to complete the placement.
  9. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

    hi thank you for your reply , I don't know what my agency contract is ? I've been working for them for various long term supply work for over a year I haven't been told anything about a notice period .
    I have a written contract offer with the school for the job starting in April as they didn't want to pay a release free to the agency .
    I was going to contact the school direct but the lady who deals with supply had never introduced herself to me or replied to my cover work etc, also im not sure if ive left anything on my desk of my own and i have keys and a text book to return.
    My agency contact had been super lovely with me and has told me to stop saying sorry and apologising to him for being ill. Im sure hes very annoyed as hes lost 12 weeks fee . Im not sure he will would honour any prep cover work fee ?
    i thought i would ring my union and she what they suggest and citizens advice regarding ssp
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I'm sorry-you seem a little unclear about how supply works, possibly because you've been so busy actually doing the nuts and bolts of the job.
    Yes, you do have a contract. Check all communication with your agency when you signed up with them. Check also if you have signed up with a payroll company. And finally, if in doubt, get on to your agency and say "please could you send me a copy of the contract under which I have worked with you"
    Secondly, the person who authrosies pay claims is in the school, not in your agency. Anything you get paid from the school, the agency receives a cut. So an agency will almost never say "no" to you claiming, perhaps if they do it would be mid post and they think it might offend to ask. This certainly does not apply in your case. Just submit a part day claim and a note to state "cover work compiled and submitted for school use". They might accept that, they might not. However, the fact of you supplying cover work as a supply teacher ought not to be a giveaway from you.
    Don't be a doormat!
    The flip side of a school being so fickle with you is that you are also able to say "please give me x, y and z". They might not oblige, but if you don't ask, you don't get.
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Please learn from this. Your elevated BP may have nothing to do with stress but it can hardly have helped!

    Sending cover work every day? Planning CPD? Working hard at home at the weekend? For what? £120 before tax?


    Are agency workers entitled to sick pay?

    As an agency worker, you will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if:

    • your normal weekly earnings exceed £116 a week (if your pay varies, your entitlement depends on your average pay over the previous eight weeks); and
    • you are absent from work due to illness for at least four consecutive days (including weekends, bank holidays and days that you do not normally work).
    If you qualify for SSP, it is normally paid in the same way as your wages. It is paid at a flat rate of £92.05 since April 2018 and can be paid for up to 28 weeks if your sickness lasts that long. It is not paid for the first three days that you are on sick leave – these are called 'waiting days'.
  12. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

    I have just been on the phone to my union and they have said if I have a contract with the school from April then I may be able to Calum breach of contract and I should get a weeks paid notice from the Agency and to ask for part payment for working from home , ask for damage costs for not honouring the contract .
  13. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter


    Thank you for your advice , I am seriously considering stopping a teaching career before it’s properly done , i out my all into everything and this role had hardly any resources and non for ks4 for an upcoming gcse , so I have worked really hard communicating and getting all the info and nearly travelling For a 12 hour day to gain CPD for the exam marking and exemplar work .
    I now feel so deflated and not helping my recovery . And I’ve sent all this detailed PowerPoints and step by step guides in :(

    Sorry does this I mean
    Claim ssp ? And do I send it to me Agency head office
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    What contract?
    If you have a contract from the school then it will outline what your role is , what you are paid, what the notice period is etc etc. And you will have specifically agreed to that eg by signing.
    You don't have that, do you?
    The offer of a job from them is not a contract.
    It is at it says, an offer. Without terms or conditions. Clearly so, because you have posted here to ask. And as much as you feel they are obliged to you, the lack of anything other than the offer of work without any terms equally means they can say "ach, it didn't work out, sorry". You did not sign anything upon starting to prevent this happening.
    The only contract you actually have is with your agency. And that will state notice periods which have not been overridden by any other contract.
    The union advice is theoretically correct, but it is patently clear from your posts that you do not have a contract, you have a job offer. It is not the same thing. The one thing which is correct and feasible is that you ought to claim for hours worked off site.
    This happens all the time, a school not wanting a supply teacher to complete the long term post initially offered.
    It is non contestable unless you signed otherwise at the start. What you have signed is all the agency paperwork, and actually I find it slightly troubling that you seem unaware of what you have signed into.
    It's supply for you.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
    agathamorse and plumtree1 like this.
  15. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

    Thanks for your advice , you don't have to be troubled i am fully aware of what i am as a supply teacher , i have been for a long time and understand i have no rights as a permanent post teacher , that's why i joined a Union also , my gripe is the fact they have given me a letter stated my post of a permanent member of staff from April and they have seen my commitment by seeking all the right information for gcses exam etc and confirmed in email my acceptance as supply for 12 weeks then a perm contract . Im just looking for some damage limitation for my loss of earnings for the next 5 months and to compensate for all the work ive already done and detailed cover ive sent whilst sick
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    And did you accept it in writing?

    The practical difficulty is that even if the termination was unfair you have few legal rights (in this particular set of circumstances) when you have worked for less than 2 years.
  17. plumtree1

    plumtree1 New commenter

    Hi thanks for the reply , I sent an email confirming that I accept the post starting with 12 weeks supply and then permanent contract with the school and the Agency was to forward it .
    Yes I know and I understand this , I’m hopying I might be able to get damages as the union have suggested as I going to losing a huge chunk or salary as it half the year I committed to , and all the prep and planning I’ve done so far .
    And I couldn’t help the illness and consequent High BP and prescribed bed rest and medication to kick in
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    A contract from April to July is not a permanent contract.
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Claiming for the cover you sent is not a battle. Submit a claim in the normal way. They may pay, they may not.

    But how do you propose to find more work?
    You may need these people to provide a reference if you are to work in another school. What sort of reference do you think they will be inclined to give you if you pursue a request for "compensation" for loss of earnings? (Which will not stand up anyway)
    plumtree1 and grumpydogwoman like this.

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