Suffolk Division NUT
Information for Division Council Meeting on Wednesday 17th September 2013
Venue: Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich 18:30 for 19:00
Click for Information from the previous meeting and from recent meetings.
Circulars and Information From HQ
There are a number of ways in which the above changes will weaken the legal protection of employees transferring to a new employer under TUPE. In some cases (e.g., regarding collective redundancies) we believe the changes may not be compatible with EU law. However, we welcome the fact that the Government has decided to extend the notification period for disclosure of employee liability information from 14 to 28 days and relieved they are withdrawing the proposal that the transferor should be able to rely on the transferee’s ETO reason to dismiss an individual before the transfer.
There are two parts to unfair dismissal compensation. The first part is the basic award, which is calculated using the same formula as statutory redundancy pay and is based on an employee’s age, length of service and weekly pay. This part of the compensation award will not change on 29 July. The second part is the compensatory award. This is based on the employee’s financial loss as a result of their dismissal and therefore includes sums for loss of earnings (including future loss) and loss of pension. Once all these are added up, the Tribunal applies a cap (£74,200) if the losses are over this amount. In reality, the average sum awarded by the tribunals for unfair dismissal is a lot less than £74,200. The average sum awarded last year was just £9,133.
The new law, which comes into force on 29 July, changes the cap on the compensatory part of the award to 12 months’ pay or £74,200, whichever is the lower. Therefore, teachers who have been, or are expected to be, out of work for more than 12 months or who are unlikely to find work which provides access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (e.g., agency teaching), may lose out, as their ongoing losses will be capped at 12 months’ pay.
Fortunately, discrimination, health and safety and whistleblowing unfair dismissal claims will not be covered by the cap. Transitional provisions mean the new compensatory limit will not apply in cases where the effective date of termination is on or before 29 July 2013.
Lack of Support: Findings support anecdotal evidence of woefully inadequate support for teachers facing allegations of abuse. Very few respondents reported evidence of access to welfare counselling or medical advice (36.8%) and even fewer reported that teachers were kept informed of both the progress of the investigation and current work-related issues (31.6%). An overwhelming proportion of respondents (63.2%) said social contact with colleagues and friends at the school/college was prohibited as a matter of course. As 65% of respondents believed that teachers facing false allegations of abuse would benefit from contact with others in similar circumstances, division secretaries are encouraged to capture the experiences of those who have been subject to allegations by asking members to complete a questionnaire so that experiences can be shared across the Union. An Allegations of Abuse Questionnaire can be found at: http://www.teachers.org.uk/node/18939
Supply Teachers: While support for centrally employed staff was inadequate, it was disturbing to note that unattached staff, particularly supply teachers, fared even worse. Seventy per cent (70%) of respondents said that a supply teacher’s assignment would be terminated if an allegation of abuse was made, which is a particular concern given the large number of respondents who believed that being male (60%) and being a supply teacher (58.3%) made an individual more vulnerable than others to false allegations.
School and college management should be encouraged to take measures to address this issue, such as developing allegations of abuse procedures which extend to unattached teachers working at the school/college.
Confidentiality: only 15.8% of respondents reported that schools/colleges routinely warn staff and pupils against publicising allegations. The Education Act 2011 introduced reporting restrictions preventing the publication of any material that may lead to the identification of a teacher who has been accused by, or on behalf of, a pupil from the same school. Reporting restrictions apply until the point at which a teacher is charged with an offence or until the Secretary of State or the GTC (Wales) publishes information about an investigation or decision in a disciplinary case arising from the allegation. ‘Publication’ includes “any speech, writing, relevant programme or other communication in whatever form, which is addressed to the public at large or any section of the public”. This means that a colleague who, for example, publishes details of the allegation on a social networking site would be in breach of the reporting restrictions and could face a £5,000 fine. It is extremely important, therefore, that schools and colleges educate members of the school community against discussing allegations externally and incorporate this within their allegations procedures.
Top Alphabetical Index