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June 2014 Update from AoC Director of Employment Policy & Services

09 October 2020

Last week the employment team hosted the sixth annual equality and diversity conference, feedback to date has been fantastic and delegates were able to engage with practitioners and colleagues to share ideas and best practice to take back to their organisations. There were a number of poignant comments that were made throughout the day which I thought would be useful to share: Equality and diversity should be included in everyone’s duties and within everyone’s assessment of their own performance When developing your values it is important to include a wide group of stakeholders, representative of the workforce and wider community Legislation is important however impact is more valuable Involve students in drafting the policies which apply to them Transformational experiences help transform education The team and I are now focused on finalising the programme for our annual employment law conference (9 October 2014) held in London, which will be released within the next fortnight. Bookings can be made via the conference website. AoC’s annual HR Conference has also been confirmed to take place on 23 and 24 March 2015, in Nottingham. Pay Negotiations 2014/15 This month we finalised pay negotiations for 2014/15 and provided a full and final offer to the joint trade unions of the National Forum. The final offer stands as follows: Deletion of SCP4, currently at £7.45 from the AoC harmonised pay scale which increases the hourly rate to £7.50. In addition a further 2% uplift is to be provided to SCP5 which increases the hourly rate of pay to £7.65 an hour equivalent to the current Living Wage. The uplift equates to £288.42 per annum. It is also suggested the officers of the NJF meet to explore options to work jointly on approaches to work towards the living wage in further education. For those working in roles above SCP5, a 1 % consolidated increase is to be applied. With no conditions attached to local implementation, the employers’ side consider the recommendation made to its members, if agreed, to be a fair balance between rewarding staff and maintaining the financial well-being of colleges where possible. As part of our ongoing work to support the sector and to complement the existing background information on negotiations shared with members, it was considered valuable to reflect back members’ views, both qualitative and quantitative. To this end we have drafted Perceptions on Pay - feedback from pay consultation 2014-15.pdf Perceptions on Pay - feedback from pay consultation 2014-15.pdf (PDF,261.39 KB) which we hope will be helpful to our members and other stakeholders. Details of the negotiations are available via the negotiations webpages. Public Sector strike set for 10th July Schools in England and Wales will face disruption next month as Britain’s biggest teaching union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), have announced a day of strike action. The NUT said the government was failing to make progress in the long running dispute over pay, pensions and workload for teachers. This action is alongside a day of general protest over government policy on cutting public sector costs and jobs in which other public service trade unions are involved. Colleges should also note that even if they do not recognise the trade unions involved in the action for the purposes of collective bargaining, members of the trade union and staff covered by the bargaining unit can still strike if the union have followed the requisite balloting and notification requirements. Further information is available via our industrial action guidance. Zero hours contracts Following the consultation into zero hours contracts the Department for Business Innovation and Skills announced on 25 June: a ban on the use of exclusivity clauses in all zero hours contracts; we will also consult further to prevent bad employers from circumventing the rules through simple avoidance techniques we will work with business representatives and unions to develop a code of practice on the fair use of zero hours contracts we will work with stakeholders to review existing guidance and improve information available to individuals and employers on using these contracts The action will form part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill designed to reduce the barriers that can constrain the ability of small businesses to innovate, grow and compete. Colleges will be kept informed of the progress of the bill. Flexible working You will have seen in the media that Acas has today published its new Code of Practice and guidance on the right to request flexible working. All employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more now have the right to ask if they can work flexibly. This right previously only applied to parents with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers. The new Code and practical guidance is designed to help employers consider any requests in a reasonable manner and stay within the law. Staying ahead of the game AoC prepared guidance earlier in the month to support colleges in assessing how they might respond to the new Code of Practice. Keeping Children Safe in Education Following our ongoing debate with the Department for Education regarding our dissatisfaction on the redrafting of the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, last week we posed the following parliamentary question: “To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he is satisfied that the recent guidance Keeping children safe in education distinguishes which legislation applies to further education colleges as opposed to sixth form colleges; and if he will make a statement” Colleges will be updated on the outcome and any clarification a response might provide. And finally Colleges will this week receive a request from UCU for information on their pay structures via a Freedom of Information request. Advice will be provided to colleges on how to respond once we have sight of the final request. Regards Marc Whitworth Acting Director of Employment Policy and Services 30 June 2014