UK-wide pay deals keep teachers from salary sacrifice

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council has made salary sacrifice childcare voucher and home computing (HCI) benefits available to employees, but has been forced to rule out local teachers due to their national pay agreements.

Teachers employed by local-authority maintained schools are currently excluded from salary sacrifice arrangements because they contravene the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document. The National Union of Teachers is currently lobbying government to extend salary sacrifice benefits, such as childcare vouchers, to members.

Jill Higgs, head of pay and employment at the council, is also concerned. "We’re looking into it, to see if there’s anything we can do. Why should it be any different [for teachers]?" she said.

The Council, which employs 14,500 people including teachers, introduced childcare vouchers last month, while a Fujitsu-Siemens home computing scheme was launched on 1 October.

Higgs is expecting a big response to the childcare voucher scheme. " It was very much staff driven. Normally they take holidays or struggle financially to cover [childcare]. We had a big programme about work-life balance, and staff said we didn’t [provide] childcare. Over time technology has made [providing the benefit] a lot easier," added Higgs.