Interviewee Angela Moro, Employee Care Team Leader at My Key Pay, talks to us about their umbrella service, Key Portfolio.
What can Key Portfolio offer supply teachers?
The security and comfort of permanent employment, with all of the freedom of supply work. The best of both worlds!
Often supply teachers are unaware of how umbrella companies operate! could you fully explain the service you provide to supply teachers?
Put simply, an Umbrella Company employs people who work on temporary assignments, like supply teachers. So while enjoying the freedom and flexibility that this type of work gives, you can also enjoy the stability and safety net that comes with permanent employment. The Umbrella Company pays you for the assignments that your agency finds for you and gives you a range of employment-related benefits that you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. So, it means you get full statutory benefits like sick pay and maternity or paternity pay. And you’ll find it easier to prove your income when you need to, for example if you apply for a mortgage. You can also claim work-related expenses, such as the money you spend on food, drink and travel during your working day. Quite often we find that supply teachers can be registered with three, four, five different agencies, sometimes doing one or two days a week for each. Joining Key Portfolio means that your pay for all of your assignments through these agencies is centralised. This saves you time and money because you’ll only have one pay day, one payslip, one tax code and one point of contact. To sum it all up, we level the playing field between supply work and permanent employment.
If a supply teacher is registered with Agency X, do they have to go with Umbrella Company Z, or could they choose Key Portfolio? How do the logistics work?
Agencies usually have a list of their preferred Umbrella Companies, and with Key Portfolio being the largest employer of supply teachers in the UK, the likelihood is that we’ll already be on the list. But if we’re not, you can still let your agency know if you’d prefer to work with us. What’s also good to remember is that no matter how many agencies you’re registered with, you only need one Umbrella Company. Key Portfolio can handle payroll from all your agencies, and all you have to do is let us know who they are.
Should supply teachers choose the umbrella company with the lowest fees?
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an Umbrella Company, and their margin is just one of them. It’s the same as anything in life – you want to get the best value for your money, and that applies just as much when choosing the right Umbrella Company as it does when buying a new car. There are other factors to consider – reliability, safety, support – and in speaking to our teachers on a daily basis I find that those are commonly the most important concerns they have. “Am I going to get paid on time? Is it going to be correct?” If you were to ask me which one thing supply teachers are looking for above all others, it’s peace of mind. And peace of mind is what we specialise in.
Could you tell me a little about the potential items a supply teacher could claim tax back on?
Well, you can claim tax back on your travel costs – whether that’s by bus, car or bicycle. This is a big help to supply teachers as travelling to lots of different schools can become expensive. And you can claim any meals and snacks you have to buy during the day as well. Our supply teachers love this because they often go out to work at very short notice – it’s not unlikely that they get a call on a Monday morning to start a new post that day – which doesn’t leave them much time to prepare a packed lunch! You can also claim things like stationery, textbooks, subscriptions to teaching resource sites – anything that you need to do your job, really. We’ve approved claims on all sorts of weird and wacky expenses from frozen rats to badminton sets! So long as they’re solely for use within the job, the chances are good that we can process them. It’s really easy to submit your expenses with us – simply fill in our online form, take a couple of quick snapshots of your receipts, and you’ll see your claim on the following week’s payslip.
How do you support supply teachers professionally throughout their time with Key Portfolio?
When you start supply work, there are lots of things you might suddenly find yourself having to deal with that are nothing to do with teaching. Like, for example, making sure you’re paying the correct tax, keeping track of payments from different assignments and getting your head around the Agency Workers Regulations. Luckily, we’re experts in that side of things! When you join Key Portfolio, we take care of it all. Our goal is to support, advise and guide you through your supply career, so you can concentrate on teaching. We’ve been supporting supply teachers for over a decade now, which I believe gives us a unique understanding of their needs and expectations. I’m actually a trained teacher myself, which makes it even easier for me to empathise! My team are here to offer you in-depth, specialised assistance on everything from HR to payroll to training courses to tax queries. Whether you need proof of income or help with maternity pay, we’re just a phone call away. In essence, we want your supply career to run smoothly, and we do everything we can to make that happen.
Supply teaching can be quite an isolating career. How do you help supply teachers feel that they are part of something bigger at Key Portfolio?
I mentioned before that when you join Key Portfolio, we become your employer – and that means a lot more than just taking care of your payroll. With Key Portfolio, you have thousands of colleagues. You’re part of the largest community of supply teachers in the UK, where each and every teacher can depend upon a service that’s truly dedicated to supporting them throughout their contracting career. We’re actually working right now to build even greater connections between our teachers. Watch this space!
And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?
This is a tough one, because not everyone can combine the level of dedication and commitment with the sheer skill it takes to be a supply teacher. That’s why my dream supply teacher would have to be Maya Angelou, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and poet, for a few reasons. One is that she was one of the sharpest, smartest ladies who ever lived, which is a good trait to have when teaching children. The second is that she actually was a teacher! She taught on and off for thirty years in half a dozen subjects, and referred to herself as ‘a teacher who writes.’ One last reason why my vote would go to Ms Angelou is this wonderful quote that I think is very appropriate: “My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”
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