The below is a transcription from our “COVD-19: UK Schools Q&A” held on 25th March, 2020 GMT. If you would prefer to watch the video, please scroll to the end of this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article and video are those of the authors. Please use the World Health Organisation or GOV.UK to stay up to date on the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also note that with the changing nature of this situation, some of what was communicated may only be relevant during the time it was stated.

 

I’ve decided to stay in London to wait it out. Is there any financial assistance I’m eligible for from the UK government or New Zealand/Australian government?

The main support for UK workers is the JRS (Job Retention Scheme). This is intended to be support for employees where there is no work for them, but the employer wishes to keep them. The core support is around reimbursement by the government of 80% of that workers monthly pay up to a cap of £2,500. This employee is called a furloughed worker.

As far as we currently know, this is only in place for employees and not for those with contract hours or who are self-employed. The government is going to make an announcement on contract workers and those self-employed today (March 26th, 2020). This will be the final guidance from Boris. 

 

Will there be any sort of pay from anzuk/the government? Will there be something in place for those who are daily supply or those who are on long term supply although are due to finish up at Easter..?

It depends what guidance is announced tonight. To get government support, as far as what we can tell at this moment, you would need to be on an assignment, if not then you are looking at the benefits system. 

The official announcement for those self-employed and contract workers, new guidance will be announced on Thursday 26th March, 2020, please refer to this for official announcements as they haven’t yet addressed this. 

 

In regard to my Ambassador contract that provides pay if there are no shifts available, if there is no work available, can I expect to earn the 80% of pay that the government is allowing for people that will be out of work due to illness?

Unfortunately, with schools closed and the majority of students absent, we will not be able to offer Ambassador contracts at this stage. In terms of the JRS and 80% of pay, we are still trying to get clarity. 

We know that if you are off due to illness, you will not be covered by the JRS, illness will be covered by something else, potentially SSP. The JRS applies to furloughed workers, those who are able to work but can’t. Again, we are awaiting confirmation of how the JRS will be calculated and will hope to have more clarity on March 26th 2020. 

 

With regards to the Job Retention Scheme for Supply Teachers and the 80% of salary in entitlement proposed.

1) How will the scheme work for supply teachers registered with more than one agency?

2) Going forward from last Friday’s official closure date of schools, if you accept the odd day of work  from this Monday onwards, eg key worker provision at a school, will it nullify your entitlement? 

1 – This is not covered by the limited guidance the UK has at the moment, we are still waiting on full guidance from the government once they announce the full system of support. The Financial Times have great and updated support for those on 0-hour contracts. It will be useful to refer to this to calculate how much you could potentially expect to earn based on previous months incomes. 

2 – Based on advice from HMRC, if the government were to pay out the 80% of total salaries earned on the JRS scheme, they wouldn’t expect you to be working anywhere else. 

 

What are schools doing to provide education online during this period?

There is a lot of online leaning happening, which is amazing. There are platforms where teachers can upload resources for children to access from home. Students are still able to get an education, which is the really positive thing to come out of this. Schools are aiming to ensure all students still receive an outstanding education in the UK. 

The biggest positive is the adaptability of teaching and the versatility of teachers and students still wanting to continue learning through a digital space. When schools do re-open there is going to be a lot of learning activities and platforms that weren’t utilized before. This is an exciting movement for technology within schools, online teaching is going to hit a new level. 

 

I have very recently been employed by anzuk. Should I expect to my start date to be in the foreseeable future once the virus has been controlled. Or can I start work now as some children are still at attending school and I personally am fit and well?

anzuk still remain 100% operational. We are speaking to our educators and schools daily. If a booking is available, and you are available, then you will be considered. I understand that contradicts the furlough and the JRS scheme, unfortunately we cannot comment on that further at this time as we do not have the guidance. But we think schools are operating between 10-15% student capacity. Pupils of key workers and most SEN provisions are still operational. 

If you are available to work and if you are wanting to work, then please continue to update your Ready2Work app. We still have consultants online from 7am to field any bookings and will therefore need to know who is available for work. 

We are running a risk assessment on each client to ensure we are able to comply and remain with social distancing, following government guidance. 

 

Is there any opportunity for home tutoring for me?

This is something we have been working on extensively this week. We do feel there is an opportunity for home tutoring work. Unfortunately, we cannot give the exact detail right now, but we hope by the end of the week to provide you with details of a new platform with the view of having tutoring work available from next week. 

Watch this space! We are planning to have something finalized and communicated with you by Friday. 

The great thing about being registered with anzuk already, is that you are available to work, and you have access to the Ready2Work app, so please make sure you update that regularly so we are aware if you are around for tutoring opportunities.

 

As an EU teacher, what am I entitled to?

If you are working here in the UK then you fall under UK legislation and employment law. We aren’t aware of anything coming centrally from the EU. What matters is who you are employed by. 

That brings us to the same response as above, I’m afraid – we don’t know yet and it will be dependent upon your employment status and how the government chooses to measure grants available. 

 

Are anzuk likely to be in a position to offer work over the next 6 months?

We certainly hope so! 

We see a few possible scenarios – best case and worst case. Best case scenario, schools return following the Easter break and we are here to help support them. We think that worst case scenario we will be working to support staffing needs for September. 

Obviously at the moment there is no set date, hopefully we are in a position to know more in the coming weeks. But either way we will still be here to support you, our educators, and our schools when they re-open. 

 

How does one observe ‘social distancing’ and the possible need to intervene in a physical conflict? What’s the protocol now we’re working under unprecedented times?

Unfortunately, we don’t think we’re qualified to answer this question. 

That being said, our advice when it comes to social distancing is that you follow the guidance from the government – stay 2 metres apart. 

It would also be worthwhile, whether you’re there for one day or on a long-term basis, asking your school what their policy and/or attitudes towards this are. They should be able to help clarify. 

 

What considerable measures is the company planning in place for Agency staff towards working condition in-case we remain in isolation for longer weeks.

We want to keep as many people working for as long as we can. As discussed, we are excited to be launching the home tutoring platform and working hard to get that up and running ASAP! 

We’re also keeping regular contact with our schools so we are aware of any opportunities or help they may need during the closure period to support children of key workers and vulnerable children, and also needs they may have when they do re-open.

 

As advised, as I’m on PAYE with your company, please would you accept my request for my employment contract to be furloughed, with a minimum of at least 80% of my average weekly wages I received in February. 

If this is not possible could you please explain why.

As discussed, it will depend on which types of roles are covered by the JRS. We anticipate it will cover 0-hours contracts but we do not yet have confirmation of that. 

The pay in February will likely be an important reference point, but it will depend on the detail of the rules once they’re brought in. 

We hope to be able to respond to this fully in our next webinar. 

 

How will we earn anything since schools are closed and we get paid based on how many days we work?

Unfortunately, that is the challenge for us all right now. This is a global problem and now industry specific to education. 

The commentary we’ve seen so far suggests that if there is a 0-hours contract situation where no pay was earned in the previous month(s), then it would be Universal Credit that the person would apply for. You may want to explore this further on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

We are expecting to hear more about support for self-employed within the coming days, as well as exploring all options to allow for our Educators to receive some form of grant. 

 

I have been working for Anzuk for 3+ months and have averaged over £120 a week over this Time. Do I qualify for SSP? Statutory sick pay?

The government’s specific guidance on SSP is that it does apply to agency workers. We think they will want to make those facilities open to as many people as possible, given the totally unprecedented situation that we are in. 

The entitlement to SSP would then depend on a variety of factors; if you have COVID-19 symptoms, are a vulnerable individual, are a member of a household where one individual is self-isolating and therefore you are being asked to as well. Each of those cases could justify SSP from day 1. 

If you choose not to go to work when it’s available that wouldn’t entitle you to SSP, as well if you are a furloughed worker within the JRS, that is not in the nature of sickness absence. That is a new status of being on furlough. 

Unfortunately the SSP guidance is taking a long time to come through, but we are actively following the government’s updates and working to get an answer for you. 

 

One final note from us….

We are aware that we weren’t able to offer as many questions as we’d hope to tonight, or with as much clarity or accuracy, but we are working hard on it and we want to reassure you that we will shed light as and when we can. We are by no means experts on this, we’re learning as well, but please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have questions and we will help as best we can! We’d also recommend to keep checking www.gov.uk for further announcements.