Green Book and Burgundy Book regulations: a guide for HR professionals

In this article, we'll take a look at the differences between the Burgundy Book and Green Book rules and regulations, and how these can affect things like maternity leave and sick pay for teachers in employment.


James Rowland

Commercial Director James leads Account Management, Sales and Marketing at Neathouse Partners.


07 May 2024


11 July 2024
4 min read
Green Book and Burgundy Book regulations: a guide for HR professionals

The Burgundy Book 2023

The Burgundy Book 2023 is essentially a rulebook that is specifically designed for teachers working in certain types of schools across England and Wales. It covers important topics such as how teachers are hired, what to do if they want to leave their job, when they can retire, what happens if they get sick or need sick pay, what rights they have in terms of maternity and paternity leave, and HR problem-solving within the context of an academic environment.

The Burgundy Book was updated for the first time since 2000 in 2023. It’s therefore very important that schools and teachers refer to the new and updated 2023 guidance, along with their job contract, the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document/School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions (Wales) Document, and locally enforced workplace policies and procedures.


Do all schools follow the Burgundy Book?

The Burgundy Book is already a part of many contracts for teachers in certain schools, including those run by local authorities, voluntary-aided ones, and most academies. Academy trusts are not obliged to follow the Burgundy Book (or School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document), but the majority of them do make reference to the book in contracts of employment.

The 2023 edition of the Burgundy Book doesn’t change teachers’ terms of employment, but it does update some laws. The updates in the Burgundy Book mostly relate to laws that were introduced since August 2000. They cover topics such as how teachers are hired, what happens when they leave their job, when they can retire, and what support they can receive if they’re sick or having a baby.

The new version of the Burgundy Book also uses language that’s neutral in terms of gender. If a teacher already has a deal with their employer, with employment terms that are better than what is stated within the Burgundy Book, that deal won’t change.

The Burgundy Book, sick pay and sick leave

Most teachers have their sick leave and pay outlined in the Burgundy Book terms. Some local authorities, academies or free schools may have different arrangements, especially if they joined after a school changed its status.

Teachers should ask their employer for a copy of their sick pay scheme. National sick pay entitlements set out in the Burgundy Book are based on a sliding scale, according to length of service in a teaching role. This sick leave sliding scale is considered a minimum, and employers can extend it in individual cases at their own discretion.

The Burgundy Book and parental leave

An employee’s maternity leave and pay depend on a few things, including whether the Burgundy Book scheme is part of their work contract, whether there’s a local agreement that offers better benefits than the national one, and if the teacher/staff member has worked continuously for a certain period, sometimes called ‘continuous employment’ or ‘continuous service.’

To be eligible for occupational maternity pay, an educational institution must follow the Burgundy Book, and the employee/teacher must have worked there for at least one year and 11 weeks by the time their baby is due. If this is applicable, they can receive pay for up to 39 weeks, with different pay rates for different weeks.

To qualify for statutory maternity pay (SMP), an employee/teacher must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before their baby is due. They also need to earn a certain amount per week. An employee can apply for SMP when they inform their employer of their pregnancy, usually by the end of the 15th week before their baby is due. They’ll need to give their employer a copy of their maternity certificate (form MAT B1) from their GP or midwife.

Under the Burgundy Book, the first 18 weeks of pay include both SMP and occupational maternity pay. If an employee is already eligible for occupational maternity pay, they won’t need to separately claim for SMP.

Is the Burgundy Book the same as The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD)?

The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) gets updated every year to include the recommendations of the STRB. The STPCD is a guide that lays out details of pay and working conditions for teachers in England. It’s for teachers in local authority schools and some staff in academies under certain protections.

Whether or not an executive head, head teacher or principal gets paid according to the STPCD depends on their school’s leadership model and whether they’re in a maintained school or academy that follows the STPCD. The leadership model also affects whether or not they can join the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. The pay rules in the STPCD don’t usually apply to a chief executive officer.

The Burgundy Book (which was updated in June 2023), states the working conditions for teachers in community schools and some staff in academies in England and Wales.

What is the Green Book and how is it different from the Burgundy Book?

The Green Book, formally known as the National Agreement on Pay and Conditions for Service, came about in 1997 by combining two previous handbooks for local government employees. The Green Book is managed by the National Joint Council (NJC) for local government services, and applies to most local government employees in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, (except where specific areas are opted out by certain local authorities).

Representation on the NJC includes the Local Government Association (LGA) and three recognised Local Government Trade Unions (Unison, GMB, and Unite). Some local authorities, and especially those in charge of schools, have opted out of the Green Book’s pay arrangements, preferring to set their own rates. Additionally, many councils have customised sections of the Green Book, like sick pay or mileage allowances.

When dealing with support staff, it’s important to know if the Green Book is fully or partially honoured in a particular area, as this affects HR advice given. For academies, existing staff remain under the Green Book when transferring to academy status. Most academies and Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) continue to apply Green Book pay arrangements for support staff.

Staff covered by the Green Book will find that their contracts differ from the Burgundy Book in the following ways:


Employees are placed on a local government pay scale, but each employer sets its own rates, leading to differences between areas.

Temporary additional duties

There should be local policies for recognising extra duties, though this isn’t always applied in schools.

Final pay upon leaving a role

Staff who work only during term time should receive adjusted final payments if they leave before the end of their contract.

Salary deductions for unauthorised absences

Green Book-covered staff may have different rules for absences and pay compared to teachers under the Burgundy Book.

Annual leave

School support staff have a specific annual leave entitlement, but the Green Book doesn’t dictate when they must take it.

Working time

Support staff work a set number of hours per week, and overtime should be compensated accordingly in line with Green Book rules.

Time off in lieu

This isn’t specified in the Green Book, but allows for local agreements to be made.

Sick leave and pay

The Green Book’s maternity scheme is similar to the Burgundy Book’s, with possible local improvements.


We can advise on Green Book and Burgundy Book regulations

We assist and advise HR departments from schools, learning institutions and academies across the country.

Our team of professionals at Neathouse Partners can answer any questions you may have about Green Book and Burgundy Book policies and employment contracts for teachers. 

Call 0333 041 1094 today or use our contact form.

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