A question we are often asked here at NRCSE is ‘can the teachers be self-employed?’
Depending on specific circumstances they can be: such as if you are a small community-organisation with just a few children, one teacher and an unpaid management committee; if the teacher is equally part of the management of the school but being paid because of their specific expertise; or if the other people working in the school are unpaid and you are hiring a professional teacher to deliver a fixed piece of work for a short period that you have some specific funding for.
It is best practice, however, for your teachers to be either volunteers or employed.
NRCSE’s advice is for supplementary schools to register all regular teachers as staff and to engage the services of a payroll company.Cash-online.org.uk operate a payroll service for community organisations and charities in London, they also have lots of useful advice for organisations outside London. Using a payroll service reduces your administration but not your responsibility. It is against the law to pay less than the minimum wage if you pay staff. Employers National Insurance Contributions and Workplace Pension Contributions are unlikely to be payable unless employees earn more than £166 p/w but you must check this. If you employ staff you must have employers’ liability insurance. We advise supplementary schools to include Employers Liability Insurance cover in with their Public Liability Insurance even if you are all volunteering.
Registering your teachers as staff does require some administration but if you engage a payroll company it’s really very little. Not much more than you should be doing anyway in terms of having a separate bank account, keeping records of payments in and out, preparing simple accounts at the end of each year. You will have the added reassurance that you are not inadvertently breaking any laws. If you are going for the Quality Mark we require you to pay your regular teachers through a payroll OR for your teachers to be volunteers. Remember that volunteers can only be paid expenses on production of bona fide receipts.
Employer’s liability insurance can also cover volunteers. You should always make it clear that you want cover for your volunteers and how many you have when you are purchasing the insurance. For more information on insurance cover for charities look at the Charity Commission pages and/or download our insurance information sheet.