Two new circulars have been issued by the Department of Education which will address concerns for Fórsa’s SNA members in relation to substitution.
The first of these extends the provision for job-sharing SNAs to substitute for the forthcoming school year, while the other will allow employers to appoint a substitute SNA for a number of specific personal leave absences.
Fórsa had made representations to the education department that SNAs who are job-sharing should have the opportunity to substitute throughout the pandemic, without having to relinquish their job-sharing arrangements.
Provision to do this actually helped minimise the spread of Covid infection by ensuring SNAs could provide substitution cover on days when they were scheduled to be off because of their job sharing arrangement. This reduced the need for substitutes from outside the school to come into the workplace.
Fórsa has raised the issue on differing rates of substitution pay between SNAs and teaching colleagues, and we’ll continue to pursue this.
Personal leave cover
The other new circular sets out provisions of personal leave such as marriage and civil partnership leave, wedding of immediate family/near relative/in-law, witness in court, legal separation and exam leave.
Under normal circumstances, substitute cover is not paid by the department for such absences. However, for the new school year, commencing in September, an employer may appoint a substitute SNA paid by the department or an education training board (ETB) for these types of personal leave absences.
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