Employed teachers: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We outline some of the key issues in this article, but please note that this for information only and not a substitute for legal advice in relation to individual particular circumstances.

The government have asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

If you are employed and are diagnosed with coronavirus, you should receive Statutory Sick Pay from your employer in accordance with your employment contract. The amount will depend on the type of school you work at and the provisions within the contract. If you work at a public school, for example, you could be entitled to full pay as provided for in the Burgundy Book and Green Book.

If your employer asks you to stay at home, this amounts to a suspension, and you may claim full pay.

If you are advised to self-isolate as a result of government advice, you will be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay from the first day of quarantine.

In the case of a school closure, your entitlement to be paid will depend on the wording in your employment contract as well as custom and practice at the school. In the first instance, you should check whether your contract gives the school the right to lay you off temporarily (because there is no work for you due to the school being shut). If no such clause is present, you should be entitled to full pay. Equally, you should also check whether the school has business interruption insurance in place. Cover may include losses incurred during the period of closure, including salaries, but it will depend on the policy wording.

The ISM and other organisations are campaigning for employed teachers to receive full pay while this situation continues. We welcome the introduction of the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will provide 80% of a retained employed worker’s salary up to £2500 per month. This scheme applies to all workers who are on PAYE from 1 March and will cover those on zero hour contracts. For more information, visit the government's guidance for employees and our financial advice for employed musicians affected by COVID-19.

We strongly advise you to contact your employer to clarify your position. Discuss matters with your employer as soon as possible to see whether you can continue to give lessons, by moving them online for example.

We have produced the following guidance on online teaching:

Updated 26 March 2020

We are able to offer more specific advice to ISM members. If you need urgent legal support, please contact us at [email protected].

To help our team with your enquiry, please attach as much supporting evidence as possible to your email.

Members should note that, although we are prioritising cases with concerns relating to the coronavirus crisis, we have a high number of queries to process. Thank you for your patience at this time.