Fórsa seeks abolition of the ‘72 hours’ obligation
Fórsa has lodged a formal claim for the abolition of the obligation for SNAs to be available to work an additional 72 hours per annum to the Department of Education and Skills (DES).
Head of Education Andy Pike said the justification for the claim is the wide-scale abuse of the provision by local schools: “The 72 hours should be used as a flexible bank of hours that can be deployed on SNA appropriate work as the need arises.
“Instead, too many employers force SNAs to undertake demeaning and menial tasks that are not related to their role nor to the care or education of students.
“While local intervention can be effective, Fórsa needs to seek a national solution to the problem of the abuse of these hours. The first step is to press for the removal of the hours from the agreed conditions of service,” he said.
New qualification level for SNAs sought
Fórsa has submitted a formal claim for a new educational requirement for all new SNA posts to the DES.
The claim seeks the insertion of a relevant QQI Level 6 qualification (or equivalent experience) as essential criteria for employment as a new SNA.
Andy explained: “This would reflect the preferences of local employers who often seek a Level 6 qualification and will not appoint a new SNA unless they at least hold a Level 5 QQI award.
“This claim therefore seeks to increase the current educational standard required to become an SNA from the existing two passes at Junior Certificate, to a qualification that adequately reflects the skills and expertise required from an SNA,” he said.
SNA redundancy calculation
Fórsa has submitted claim seeking to protect all service as an SNA for the purposes of calculating redundancy payments. Currently, an SNA can be made redundant if hours or jobs are reduced at the start of each school year.
Andy said: “They have the option of taking a redundancy payment or seeking redeployment. If they are successfully redeployed the risk of redundancy arises again at the start of the next school year. We want to protect all service as an SNA for the purposes of calculating redundancy payments.”
Schools Inclusion Model
Discussions continue on the level of the suggested new national qualification for SNAs.
Regional meetings have been scheduled for the autumn to update members across the country.
The new ‘frontloading allocation’ model resulted in 29 new posts within the 75 Pilot schools and if rolled out nationally would provide three years employment security for SNAs.