Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How to Double Your Money at Summer School!

Sincerely now, would you like to know how to make more money from your summer school than your employer intended to pay you? If so, read the piece below, kindly provided by a colleague of mine who has a legal background, and has put his knowledge to extremely good use after suffering the indignities of a summer school last year. Well done, mate!

You probably already know the bad news - that a lot of UK summer schools pay very, very close to minimum wage per hour. However, the good news is that they don’t know the minimum wage legislation very well – but you, after reading this, surely do! So, Sandy is providing you with a copper-bottomed way to bump up your miserable summer wages this year.

In fact, it's really quite easy to work a summer school, get the money, make a complaint to the minimum wage unit, and get more money. You can even get the school thrown off the British Council accreditation scheme if you are feeling particularly vindictive. Of course, I wouldn't suggest you do anything as naughty as that, but ... Oh fuck, you're right - I DO want you to do just that!

Anyway, let's get down to brass tacks. In short, there are just THREE essential facts that you need to know if you want to make a minimum wage complaint. Follow these steps and you can't go wrong, dear downtrodden Tefler.

Fact 1. What is "working time"?

All employees in the UK (in fact in the EU) are entitled to minimum wage (currently £5.73 an hour in the UK) for every minute of 'working time'. This notion of 'working time' includes every bit of working time - not just that which is actually on your timetable. So, if you have to do a spot of lunch-time cover for Jason, or go round the pubs at night picking out the students (and the teachers), that's all working time, according to the legal definition, which is ... ALL TIME SPENT AT YOUR EMPLOYER'S DISPOSAL.

In fact, most summer schools are pretty clueless as to what constitutes working time, but actually it’s not that hard. It includes...

· Every minute you teach.

· Every minute you spend in meetings

· Every minute you spend training, including induction days.

· Every minute you are obliged to spend with students, eating with the, taking them on trips, putting them to bed, playing French cricket.

· All travelling time undertaken for the employer that includes the bus ride to and from Madame Tussauds and to and from the airport.

· Any minute of the day that you are on call. So that means that, if our contract says you have to put the students first at all times, your working time includes every minute that you are not physically in the staff room, in your bedroom, or off the premises.

· If you are on call at night, then you have to be paid for every single minute you are asleep. It doesn’t matter whether you ever actually have to get up and deal with the kids - if the presumption is you might have to, they have to pay you. If you are contracted for “overnight duties” they definitely have to pay you. If you have to sleep near the students, they probably have to pay up (why else are you sleeping there?). If there isn’t a night rota and the school does have juniors, they probably have to pay you (because the presumption is you are on call). Indeed if you have to be on the premises the night before your day off and the night of your day off, they have to pay you minimum wage for those nights as well. However, they do not have to pay you for sleeping on site at night if there is someone else on call.


In fact, the only time when you are working and they don’t have to pay you is for marking and preparation (so don't do it!). Unless they tell you when you have to do it - "Saturdays is for preparation" – in which case you can claim for it.

Fact 2. Who calculates the hours?

Strangely, it is not the employer's job to calculate every working hour over 48 hours a week, it is the employee's. This might seem like a complete bore, but it is actually good news. Because it means, if you can make a minimum wage complaint, you will have a note of the hours and your employer won’t. Simply write down, to the nearest 15 minutes or so, every moment you are required to be on the premises and can’t hide in your room or the staff room. Also, write down to the nearest quarter of an hour every time you have to be off the premises for you employer on airport runs, for example. And of course, write down all the hours you have to be in your room at night because you are (or could be deemed to be) on call. Occasionally asking if you can leave the premises when you are not on duty can also be helpful – if they say no, then you are on call and that is working time.

In short, be sure to write all your working hours down - every single one of them. This is the way to make yourself some money.

Fact 3. How to calculate if you have a claim for minimum wage.

At the end of your summer school, multiply the total number of working hours you have noted down by £5.73. Now deduct £31.22 for accommodation – that is all they are allowed to charge you (and no - they can’t deduct for food as well). That is what you should have earned BEFORE holiday pay. Now check this against your pay slip. (If the holiday pay is not noted on the pay slip they owe you that as well.)

If you think you are owed any money then just make a complaint to the Minimum Wage Unit. You can do this on-line at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/nmw/nmw_complaint_form.pdf . You will have to provide evidence – pay slips, contract, timetables and, of course, your note of working hours. You do not have to even give your name. If they find in your favour (and remember the employer has to prove that you are wrong about the hours, and they won’t have the records), then they fine the employer and give you the money.

Even better - if you win, you can rub their nose in it still more. You can send the results and your paperwork (contract, note of hours, pay slips) to Accreditation UK, reminding them that the employer is in breach of their undertaking to obey UK employment law, and thus in breach of accreditation. Copy everything in to the EL Gazette and, for good measure, send a copy to the Border Police.

So enjoy your Summer School this year, won't you. 'Cos if the Tories win the election next year, you can very probably kiss this type of legislation goodbye.

UPDATE: My 'mole' has just informed me of the following...

Two legal technicalities.

a) If preparation and marking are mentioned in your contract, you have to do them. However, if they don't tell you how long you have to spend at them, you can do the minimum (half an hour a day, say). If they complain, ask them how long you need to do for each lesson, and those hours become part of your working time.

b) You do have to tell the Minimum Wage Unit your name - otherwise they can't pay you! However, you can tell them not to release the name to the employer.

14 comments:

Tyler 'Shyster' Davis said...

Well, there is an alternative. You can come and work for me this summer, atUKhelp4U in Swindon - and you'll be lucky to get paid at all!

So far I've managed to rip off EFL teachersto the tune of more than 5,000 quid. Now I'm looking for fresh victims - any volunteers?

Alex Case said...

This is more like it. Keep em coming, Sand

PL is MAGNIFICENT said...

FOUL architrave of the monsoon-wielding denigrate of non-SPARKDOM. MY summer school is about to COMMENCE and mY STAFF get £9 per HOUR and i PAY them straight from the VENDING MACHINE because I anm EFFULGENT, ineluctable and TRANSLUCENT in my god-like GRACE and centrifuge. Be careful NOT TO MOCK, little man. I HAVE SPIES everywhere, I see you EVEN when YOU SLEEP which is most OF THE TIME. YOU'll be crawling to me for a job SOON, they ALL DO, that slack-jawed sumo LOVING illiterate CASE among them I'll be bound, BY JINGO eh wot I'll pay yer £7 fifty and a clip round the EAR you DESPERATE whelk. NO news from the IN LAWS yet, so STILL LIVING IN the leasehold, yes, why don't you PAY ME A VISIT you non-spark wretch, dolt, VILLAGE BUFFOON. BE CAREFUL I DO NOT VISIT YOU first with my VENGEANCE MACHINE it is powered by LIQUID AMBITION.

girlinczechland said...

Great stuff Sandy once again! I would definitely be making use of this one if I hadn't decided to give the whole summer school racket a very wide berth indeed...

GIC

Anonymous said...

'Translucent?'The bogey that I blew out my nose this morning could be described thus! Mind you,it was more pleasant than Paul Lowe is and it was a damned sight easier to get rid of once and for all!

William Frederickson.

Anonymous said...

HAW HAW. Look at that East London School. £8 per hour. Sandy has always said that and it has never been true. Ring em up and ask em
HAW HAW - nothing true on this site

The TEFL Tradesman said...

You're right, Lord Haw-Haw - the info about ELSE is a shade out of date. I'm sure they pay at least 8.50 now!

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Yes, I've thought about the above matter a bit more, and I guess I do need to update the Crap Jobs! data. I mean, this site boasts of integrity and honesty, so it's about time I put some work in on nailing the current crop of Uk Tefl bastards, eh!

Anonymous said...

Dear TT,

Perhaps you should look at the current (today's) Maidenhead Advertiser. A certain school in Windsor are advertising for teachers...

Spotted by my aged mum back in good ol' Blighty.

Jon said...

From 2000 to 2005 I had three jobs in Italy on “UK contracts”. This means that technically you work for an agency (for me, Saxonxourt in two cases, some other bunch of chancers whose name I forget on the other), and are hired out to the language school. On paper, half your miserable wage is considered to be a “board and lodging allowance”, and the remainder is your actual pay. The reason for this scam is that your income is taxable at UK rates, and the pay part won’t exceed the UK tax threshold. In effect your pay is tax free. Good news for the teacher? Not really. It just means it costs the employer even less to pay the minimum necessary to keep you alive until the end of the contract.


I have two questions. Is this fraud still being perpetrated, and if so is there any recourse under the minimum wage laws of either the UK or the host country? If taken at face value, the actual pay component might well fall well below either country’s minimum wage.

I could probably find out the answer to this myself, but I’m in a hot and sticky internet cafĂ©.

Anonymous said...

Jon, don't think there's any minimum wage in Italy although there are national agreements for various job categories. I've heard that the schools often don't apply the correct ones (eg: paying you as a cleaner not an educationalist), but I'm not up-to-date. Go freelance like the rest of us!

The TEFL Tradesman said...

You know, there are some cleaning jobs in the UK that pay a better hourly rate than Tefl. Maybe the Italian Tefl trade is going the same way - down the pan!

Anonymous said...

I could make more dough as a debt collector in my own community,Sandy...you are right-far less education required and far less salubrious positions command more money.And bin-men are paid less than surgeons,but if there were no bin-men,then the sanitation of our cities' streets would be the cause of more hospital admissions than anyone could imagine...why,Muslim as i am,i still look at the Towrah's recounting of God asking Job 'Where were you when i made the earth'and feel like saying 'where were you when i was oppressed/sold a crock of shit?'
I wonder why i ever bothered to get a university degree,as it seemed to qualify me to be a professional thug and shite-hawk.Maybe i was pragmatic in sticking up a proverbial two fingers to TEFL and deciding upon something else-i'm only here to laugh at 'Pained Paedo Ballocks Paul's'demise.

William Frederickson

Anonymous said...

Talking of such,Sandy old chap-do have a look at 'Sandy Mcmanus TEFL'go to the 'What if' posting Wwith 23 comments there and-i am sorry,but i was too wankered,i could not embed the site's number,but it appears that P.L. has now turned his warped and spazzified attentions to the 'hate crimes' of the 'Daily Mirror.'It's under a name...'SadSandyinvain or suchlike...i got kicked out a Soho brothel coz the whore who looked like Amy Winehouse was on on a night off-BUGGER! And i twatted the bouncer!Let Paul Lowe have a 'pop' and we can all have a damned good laugh-i am off to volunteer for the 7 Rifles as an officer-sod Bin Laden and,sadly,sod TEFL!

William Frederickson