Statutory Sick Pay

Supply teachers working through a supply agency or an umbrella company may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Social security legislation uses a broader definition of ‘employee’ which means that supply teachers may be eligible for SSP if they have three months continuous service and earn a minimum of £118 per week or, if the level of pay varies, it will depend on the average pay over the previous eight weeks.

For the purposes of supply teachers as agency workers, continuous employment is not broken by periods of sickness, annual leave or if the agency is unable to offer work.

If a supply teacher has more than one contract with an agency and their earnings are aggregated for the purposes of National Insurance Contributions (NICs), they must be incapable of work under all their contracts before they are entitled to SSP.

The Government has removed the four-day qualifying period so this can be claimed from the first day of absence due to self-isolation. Further information is available on the Gov.uk website (see links below).

Supply teachers may also be able to claim Universal Credit or contributory Employment and Support Allowance, and further details can be found on the Gov.uk website (see links below) or from your local Jobcentre Plus.

If you are working on a daily supply basis in a school that closes due to the virus, unless you are told to self-isolate, you may obtain work in another school.

The NASUWT has written to recruitment agencies requesting details of the contingencies they have in place and the advice and guidance they are providing.

Other state benefits

As a supply teacher, depending on your circumstances and the eligibility criteria, you and your partner may be able to access one or more of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly and is available for those who on a low income or who are out of work provided they meet the eligibility criteria, which may include supply teachers as agency workers.

The Government has stated that those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a Jobcentre.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA is an individual benefit for those with a disability or health condition which impacts on their ability to work.

ESA provides money towards living costs if you are unable to work, as well as supporting individuals back into work.

JobSeeker’s Allowance (JSA)

JSA is available online for those who are currently unemployed who are actively looking for work or work fewer than 16 hours per week.

Further information, including eligibility criteria, can be found at the Gov.uk website: