The Conditions of Service for School Teachers in England and Wales, the document known as the Burgundy Book, sets out some contractual rights and entitlements for school teachers

The Burgundy Book is a national agreement between the NASUWT and the four other teacher unions (ASCL, Community, NAHT and NEU), the Local Government Association and the National Employers’ Organisation for School Teachers (NEOST). This is available on the right/below.

The Burgundy Book is a contractual document that sets out and establishes a number of rights and entitlements for school teachers in England and Wales on a range of issues not covered by the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), including:

  • maternity leave and pay;

  • sick leave and pay, including that related to a number of specific circumstances, such as contagious diseases or industrial accidents at work;

  • resignation and notice periods;

  • deduction of salary;

  • other types of leave (including jury service and public examinations);

  • issues related to trade union facility time; and

  • collective grievances/disputes.

The contractual provisions in the Burgundy Book are occupational provisions, most of which are better than the relevant statutory provisions.

Sick leave entitlement

For those teachers who are eligible, the Burgundy Book provides for 100 days’ sick leave at full pay and 100 days at half pay following four years of continuous service with one or more local authorities, based on a 25-day increase per year for the first four years for access to both full pay and half pay.

The Burgundy Book also contains provisions for periods of paid sick leave arising from accidents, injuries or assaults at work, which are in addition to those outlined above, and can be extended to include the sick leave and pay entitlement referenced above.

This applies to contact with infectious diseases contracted by a teacher in the course of their employment, including full pay for the first 12 calendar months in relation to pulmonary tuberculosis with further full or half pay permitted at the discretion of the employer.

Furthermore, the Burgundy Book provides for teachers to access full pay if residing in a household where another individual is suffering from an infectious disease if it is inadvisable for the teacher to attend work.

This also applies in circumstances where a teacher is advised not to attend the workplace due to an infectious disease, with this not counting towards a teacher’s entitlement to sick pay.

Visit our Sickness Absence and Sick Pay page for more extensive NASUWT advice on sick leave and pay.

Maternity leave entitlements and pay

The provisions of the Burgundy Book enable eligible teachers to receive the following levels of maternity pay:

  • access to maternity pay at full pay for the first four weeks;

  • maternity pay at 90% of contractual earnings for the next two weeks;

  • 12 weeks at 50% of contractual earnings; and

  • no pay for the remaining period of absence. [1]

The Burgundy Book references the average salary over the 12 weeks preceding the date of absence for those teachers where pay varies.

This is in excess of the current statutory provisions which sees eligible employees receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks of:

  • 90% of your average weekly earnings before tax for the first six weeks;

  • £151.97 [2] or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, for the next 33 weeks; and

  • no pay for the remaining period of absence.

In addition, the Burgundy Book provides for leave with full pay because of the risk of rubella if advised by a medical practitioner.

Visit our Maternity, Paternity and Shared Parental Leave page for more extensive NASUWT advice on maternity leave entitlements and pay.

Notice periods

Notice periods for teachers covered by the Burgundy Book specify that teachers must give notice by specific dates throughout the academic year. These are:

  • to leave at 31 December, give notice by no later than 31 October;

  • to leave at 30 April, give notice by no later than 28 February; and

  • to leave at 31 August, give notice by no later than 31 May.

The notice periods outlined above apply to any reason other than gross misconduct.

For headteachers, the Burgundy Book specifies a notice period of under a minimum of three months’ notice and in the summer term four months’ notice to leave a post at the end of the term.

Insurance for the teacher

The Burgundy Book provides for indemnification against financial loss for a teacher who suffers a violent or criminal assault in the course or as a consequence of their employment.

The provisions detail the sums afforded and who they are payable to in terms of dependants. This is set at the equivalent of five years’ gross remuneration or £35,000, whichever is greater.

In addition, the Burgundy Book affords full sick pay for teachers who are absent due to being a victim of crimes of violence without the need to refund this from any compensatory award.

Furthermore, the provisions outlined above may also apply to eligible teachers undertaking ‘out-of-school’ activities outside their contract of service.

The Burgundy Book also provides for compensation for losses or damages to personal property sustained in the course of a teacher’s duties at school or during approved out-of-school activities.

Premature retirement compensation

The Burgundy Book contains provisions in respect of the Premature Retirement Compensation Regulations.

Whilst it should be recognised that a number of provisions and references have been superseded by changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), the Burgundy Book does contain references to expectations in respect of how redundancy situations are managed, including reference to consultation taking place at the earliest opportunity that comprise a thorough examination of all the alternative courses of action.

In addition, the relevant section of the Burgundy Book references that any such information should be provided in writing to representatives and that the local authority must consider any representations made by relevant teacher organisations, including replying to any suggestions for alternative courses of action.

Facility time

The Burgundy Book confers entitlements to teacher representatives, including those serving in a national capacity, e.g. NEMs, and the right to paid time off.

Visit our Facility Time page for more extensive NASUWT advice on facility time.

2023 update

The Burgundy Book is already incorporated into the contracts of employment of all teachers in local authority and voluntary-aided schools, as well as in the vast majority of academies.

The 2023 edition updates legislation and clarifies terminology without amending the application of the terms and conditions of employment contained in the Burgundy Book.

From June 2023, NASUWT Representatives, members and schools should refer to the 2023 revised edition of the Burgundy Book. An updated commentary has been included at the end of the Burgundy Book detailing the changes that have been agreed and adopted.

The main areas that were updated and revised in the Burgundy Book reflect legislation that has been introduced since August 2000 and can be seen in the sections regarding appointment, resignation, retirement, ill health and maternity.

It should also be noted that gender-neutral terminology has been adopted throughout the Burgundy Book as part of the technical update. Where agreement could not be reached, the wording in the Burgundy Book remains unchanged from that in the August 2000 version.

Where there are existing arrangements with employers where terms and conditions are better than the Burgundy Book, these will continue and remain unaffected.

[1] There is an obligation under the Burgundy Book for a teacher to return from maternity leave for up to 13 weeks, including periods of school closure, as a qualifying condition of the scheme, although this can be reduced or waived at the discretion of the headteacher.
[2] The current level for SMP from 2 April 2023. As such, this may subject to change.