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Am I being ripped off? Supply agency

24 replies

Tatiana30 · 01/04/2021 16:37

Quoted £99.97 for a day as a Cover Supervisor (6.5 hours of work)

I am a qualified teacher, but haven't done my NQT year so can't qualify for teacher rates of £130 per day. I don't have to plan the work, but neither do teachers who are on day to day?

It's through an umbrella company that I'm paid and i asked for my holiday pay to be included, apparently this is the most popular?

I received £62.50 net out of the £99. The umbrella company takes out employer's NI contributions as well and apparently this is legal. The agency say they can only pay through the umbrella.

It's an hour commute each way and unless I'm pre booked I have to get a taxi there costing £11, as I don't drive.

So on those days I end up with £51 net.

Does it seem like I'm being ripped off/getting a poor deal?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Hoppinggreen · 01/04/2021 16:39

No idea but I wouldn’t do that for £50


Tatiana30 · 01/04/2021 16:40

It's 5 lessons which are an hour each, 45 minutes'break and I have to get there early to get my classes, set up for the day etc.
So comes out as £10-12 an hour net for the actual work I suppose

OP posts:

BarbaraofSeville · 01/04/2021 16:42

Yes, Umbrella companies are a rip off, and a tax dodge. It used to be rife in the construction industry but fortunately it seems to be mostly CIS now.

Did they give you the chance to claim 'expenses' on top of NMW? It's ridiculous, but while there's all these parasites taking a chunk of a lot of people's hard work, I don't know what the answer is.


Mylovelyhorsee · 01/04/2021 16:43

I’m a part time teacher and I earn about that. Sounds like normal pay.


Tatiana30 · 01/04/2021 16:48

Not sure if they would let me claim for the taxi, as I'm free to decline if the school is too far.
I don't see the difference between a day to day cover supervisor and a day to day teacher. I know that teachers on long term supply have to plan and mark etc. But day to day don't, so don't see how they can offer 2 different rates for the same work ?

OP posts:

LadyCatStark · 01/04/2021 16:54

I’d be wondering why they took off so much national insurance but YABU to expect the same rate for a cover supervisor and a qualified teacher. A cover supervisor will be paid at HLTA rate. YABU to expect them to fund your travel too as you could drive, get the bus, not take jobs that are so far away.


modgepodge · 01/04/2021 16:57

When I used to supply as a teacher (NQT who hadn’t done NQT year) I was expected to teach, using planning/resources left for me (usually - there were a few ‘can you do some music relating to fair ground?’ ‘Can you teach coordinates to y5’ incidents!) I would expect a cover supervisor to give out work and make sure the class worked quietly, but not actually teach.

I was paid £80-100 per day when I did this, that was NQT rates but it was 10 years ago. I was paid as a teacher even though I was an NQT who’s not done their NQT year.

I remember being offered to be paid by an umbrella company, they sold it to me as you could claim the tax back on travel and meals. All seemed a bit dodgy to me and as I took packed lunches and drove and it was never far I couldn’t see how this would amount to more than the umbrella agency fee. I posted and was paid through PAYE in the end. I worked for 2 agencies and managed this with both.

As I say, 10 years ago, things may have changed.


Twoforthree · 01/04/2021 17:06

If they are taxing you, then you'll get that back if you aren't doing full time work.

I get £65 per day for being a supply TA. I don't pay tax as I only work three days max and I only pay a couple of pounds national insurance (zero if I only work 2 days) so I come out with just about £193 per week.


Dejamd · 01/04/2021 17:45

Cover supervisor and HLTA rates for qualified supply teachers is an agency/school's way of paying supply teachers less x


Tatiana30 · 01/04/2021 18:07

I had to essentially teach the work and go through the slides etc.
I am a qualified teacher but just haven't done my NQT year, though as PP said they're probably doing that to save money .

OP posts:

ChateauMargaux · 01/04/2021 18:15

Ask for a breakdown of the charges and deductions. Are they also deducting your paye and employees NI? What assumptions have they made about any other earnings / tax free allowance?

100 per day would give you a net of £76 if you deducted ER's NI and then assumed you worked 39 weeks at that rate.

As you received £62.50 net then either they have made a different tax assumption or the admin charge is £13.50.

This should be detailed in the payment slip to you.


Dejamd · 01/04/2021 19:14

I have never heard of an agency paying less to NQTs? My friend is an NQT in England and gets the same pay as more-experienced teachers x


grafittiartist · 01/04/2021 19:17

When I did supply a couple of years ago the agency I was with asked us all to be a "supply cover supervisor "- basically to be paid less.
I said no- I only wanted supply work ( paid properly).
So cheeky of schools.
If you can get in directly with the school it's maybe better?


jgjgjgjgjg · 01/04/2021 19:20

How can they take out Employers NI? The clue is in the name, that that is to be paid by Employers.


Dejamd · 01/04/2021 19:24

@jgjgjgjgjg umbrella agencies - they should be illegal Angry

OP find a PAYE agency not an umbrella one x


GivenchyDahhling · 01/04/2021 19:24

That particular agency might say they have different “teacher rates” but there’s nothing to stop you negotiating the rate they’re paying you.

If you are a qualified teacher (even without NQT) then I would be willing to bet they are charging the school teacher rates even if you’re getting paid UQ rates.


Weareunloved · 01/04/2021 19:26

I tried to ask for teacher rates but they said they can't because I haven't done my NQT year. I need to look for different agencies I think .

That's a good idea about speaking directly to the school too.


Oblomov21 · 01/04/2021 19:28

Is there an admin charge?
Do you get given a breakdown of how much tax and ni has been deducted?


EnoughnowIthink · 01/04/2021 19:31

I don't see the difference between a day to day cover supervisor and a day to day teacher

Most secondaries now cover with a CS rather than a teacher. A CS doesn’t have to have a teaching qualification. CS just sets work and sits there whilst it’s done. A teacher is expected to take a plan and teach from it. The rate you are getting is good - a day’s CS where I am is about £70. You can insist on PAYE - it is cheaper for an agency to do umbrella company work and they push this as the best option. It is widely considered not to be the case but you may have to throw your toys out of the pram to get on PAYE.

Getting teaching rates for day to day work requires some tenacity, I’m afraid. Specialists in subjects like maths, physics and MFL stand a better chance in my experience but even then I was only able to get it once an agency knew my worth and could sell me as such to a school. I would also say being a CS to get known in schools increases your chance of being asked for should a longer term cover come up. The real money is in the longer term contracts (which you will need to complete your NQT). Join at least three agencies (at my height I had 6), and once you get known this gives you play off options. You really do need a thick skin, determination and a bit of cheek! I enjoyed supply, it is a great opportunity to work out where you would never want to work in particular, but it really does help you develop thinking on your feet and behaviour management skills in abundance. I am in my current job because I was asked to stay after a long term contract - a job was literally created for me.


lanthanum · 01/04/2021 19:36

Someone in a school post who is qualified but hasn't done their NQT year is paid at teacher rates. There's no reason they can't pay teacher rates, but they'll pay as little as they can get away with. You might want to check with the schools what they are being charged for.


tiredmum2468 · 01/04/2021 19:50

Send your cv to schools locally and say your fee is x £ per day/hr
Set up a booking website so they pay 50% as they book and 50% at the end of that day
Job done


SavoyCabbage · 01/04/2021 20:00

I think £99 is good for a cover supervisor. Unfortunately the distance you travel and your travel costs are not a consideration for the agency. You have to weigh all of that up when you decide to take or reject the work offer.

Schools asking for cover supervisors and then expecting them to teach is becoming a problem in the supply industry unfortunately.


Dejamd · 01/04/2021 20:01

@0tiredmum2468 i don't think it's as easy as that these days; most schools prefer booking through agency as DBS is guaranteed to be done and they can just call the agency and leave it up to the agency to get someone


cherish123 · 01/04/2021 21:58

I don't think you have to use umbrella company but I could be wrong. Check it out.

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