In an effort to ensure equity and fairness within the workforce, a consultation exercise has begun within the Council on a proposal to bring teaching assistants’ terms and conditions in line with other council employees.
Durham County Council is seeking agreement to pay its teaching assistants for the hours that they actually work, in line with the vast majority other local authorities in the region.
Letters were sent to all the affected staff on November 11 and consultation includes employees and their trade union representatives.
This process finishes on 7 December, and no decisions have been made at this time.
Kim Jobson, Durham County Council’s Head of Human Resources, said: “The proposal is to review the terms and conditions of teaching assistants who receive a salary based on working 52 weeks a year and 37 hours a week, despite working school term-time only and 32.5 hours per week.
“The current enhanced pay arrangement is the result of a collective agreement made in 2004.
“The proposal is that any new agreement could be introduced from 1 September 2016, and would be similar to those already in place elsewhere in the region.
“Information is available to employees affected by the proposals, and a regularly updated copy of the detailed frequently asked questions document that was sent to affected staff is also available on the council’s website.
“Facilities have also been set up to enable employees to seek advice and share views with us.”
A proposed one off lump sum payment has been offered to affected employees should early agreement be reached to the proposals, in order to mitigate any potential loss to the individuals.
The payment would be the difference in salary for one year in converting to a term time only contract from 52 weeks per year.
Schools are also being encouraged, where staff are needed to offer up to 37 hours work a week to teaching assistants who only currently work 32.5 hours, so they do not see a reduction in their term time wage.”