Once you have completed your work and submitted your time sheet (these are often now on-line and need you to confirm the days/hours you have worked: keep a diary of where you have worked and the rate you agreed to work for), then you should get paid.

Check Your Pay

Once you have worked for an agency for a period of time, you will get used to how much pay you should receive each week/month, dependent on the number of days you have worked. Most agencies pay wages weekly but some agencies, especially if you work directly with a school and are paid through the council, will pay you monthly.

Also, if you view your payslips through a company portal, do download your payslips each week onto your own computer. There have been instances of payslips suddenly disappearing from company portals when there is a dispute about a particular payslip.

Direct/Umbrella Company Pay

If you work directly with a school or through a local authority supply pool, then the wages you are quoted by your employer will be your gross pay: before income tax, National Insurance (NI) contributions and pension are removed. At the start of the tax year, you will be allocated a personal tax allowance (2020/21 = £12,500) which you can earn before paying tax. Most employers will spread this amount over the whole year, so that the benefit is uniform over the whole year. However, as a supply educator, you may not know which agency you will be working for the most at the start of the year. For this reason, you are able to split your personal tax allowance between as many employers as you think you will work for. 

Contact the HMRC either by phone (0300 200 3300 or Textphone 0300 200 3319 for people who are deaf or hearing or speech impaired) or using their Digital Assistant and split your income tax coding between the employers you think you will work for the most (HMRC usually recommend a max. of 2/3 employers, which is sensible). You can change this at any time during the financial year for any of the tax allowance that has not yet been used.

HMRC Digital Assistant

If you work through an agency, then you can ask to be paid ‘directly’ by the agency. They should have a payroll system for paying their office staff and if you ask to be paid directly by the agency, then they should offer that option to you. Getting paid directly by an agency means that you would be paid in exactly the same way as if you were paid by the local authority, with only income tax, employee’s National Insurance (NI) contributions and pension deducted from your pay.

A number of supply agencies will suggest that you may like to be paid through an umbrella or pay roll company. They may even offer you an incentive, an extra £10 or £20 a day uplift in your pay, to use the umbrella company. Though this may seem, initially, a good way to be paid (increasing your weekly wage by £50-£100). The downside, however, is that there are extra deductions from your pay: some umbrella companies deduct a charge for processing your pay, they remove Employer’s NI as well as Employee’s NI and some even remove the Apprenticeship Levy as well. All told, these extra deductions come out to around 20% extra being removed from your wages per day. Thus, if you were paid an extra £20 a day for using an umbrella company, then you will probably not get the same pay you would have received if paid directly. If the increase however was only £10 a day, then you will definitely be getting less pay in your bank once all of the deductions have been removed. So, best of all, say no to being paid through an umbrella company.

To find out more about the difference in take home pay, please read:

Pay Through Umbrella Companies – A Comparison With Direct Pay

Holiday Pay

On the play slip with some agencies, you will see a deduction called holiday pay. This is a deduction which is removed each week and can build up, week on week, to a lump sump which you claim back during the holidays (Christmas, Easter and Summer). However, though some agencies pay the money to you automatically, there are other agencies where you have only a narrow window of opportunity to claim back your holiday pay: if you don’t claim it in time, the money then belongs to the agency.

However, if you do not want your agency to deduct part of your wages in this way, all you have to do is say so. If you say you do not want the holiday pay to be deducted, then the agency has to pay you your full wage without any deductions except for tax and pension.

The Harpur Judgement could mean a change in the provision of holiday pay within the education industry and you could be able to make a claim. Click on the following link to find out:

Holiday Pay - How To Make A Claim

The National Supply Teachers Network (Ltd) is registered in England and Wales under company number 091-165648 at 88 Planewood Gardens, Lowton, Warrington, WA3 2BS. ***Disclaimer*** The National Supply Teachers Network (Ltd) has been created by supply educators, for supply educators. All advice is given in good faith but is purely advice gained from years of working as supply staff and is not legal advice. For legal advice, please contact your teaching union. If you are not a member of a union, we would highly recommend you join one of the teaching unions.
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