This is a bit long and complicated but please bear with me. I'm trying to understand the impact on current legislation/case law on absence practices in schools and am getting in a pickle. If anyone is willing to sense check this and let me know if I am missing something it would be greatly appreciated.
Teachers currently under the national agreement (burgundy book) are contracted to work for 39 weeks a year but are paid for 52 weeks. There is no reference to annual leave entitlement in any document. Teachers are deemed to be full time employees. Currently only working days that are sick are counted towards triggers.
Support staff are currently under the national agreement for local government workers (green book) which details annual leave entitlement. Those working only during school opening times are known as term-time only (TTO) staff and are paid for 39 weeks + pro rated holiday entitlement, e.g. 45 weeks per annum. Their annual salary is prorated and paid in 12 equal monthly installments across the year. It is stated TTO staff cannot take annual leave during term time, however, annual leave is not recorded any where. Currently only working days that are sick are counted towards triggers.
We have a small group of all year round (AYR) support staff who work throughout the school holidays and are paid for 52 weeks a year. They have annual leave entitlement that can be taken at anytime throughout the year. Working days and annual leave days that become sick days (e.g. if an employee provides a fit note) are counted towards sickness triggers. AYR employees are given back any annual leave that is recorded as sickness.
1. Are TTO staff considered part time employees? (I believe they are)
2. Should we be recording where annual leave is being taken for all employees in order to be in line with WTR? (I believe yes, which would mean in the absence of any other terms, teachers would be entitled the statutory 5.6 weeks?)
3. If annual leave is allocated to specific dates and then recorded as sickness, should we be giving back the annual leave? (I believe yes)
4. If we do not change allocated annual leave to sickness, should we be paying in full e.g. If an employee is off sick from 1st - 31st October on half pay, but we keep 17th-24th as annual leave, should this week be paid at full pay? (I believe yes)
5. Can days that were initially annual leave but become sick days be counted towards absence triggers? (I believe yes)
6. If we decide to not include annual leave days that become sickness against triggers for teachers but we do for support staff is there any risk? (I'm thinking if TTO are deemed part-time is there challenge that we are treating PT staff less favorably or would the fact that the small number of AYR staff already have this be our defense?)
Currently there is no management of annual leave for teachers and TTO staff and I'm trying to ensure we are compliant and as fair as possible. I am being challenged by teacher unions about allocating annual leave days for teachers and the implications of this e.g. having more days that could count towards sickness triggers (one union that has both teacher and support staff members said they are happy for support staff to have less favorable terms). There is no mention in the burgundy or green books on how sickness should be managed and it is recognised this is a local arrangement through policies, however, the teacher unions keep referring to the burgundy book's terms that only the 39 working weeks can be counted against sick pay entitlements (something we have acknowledged and we are not looking to change, but they cannot see sick pay as a separate matter to managing sickness absence).
It is very likely we will not pursue this matter further, but I would like to highlight where we may be falling short and any associated risk.
Thanks for reading!