RepsDirect No 221 - 5 November 2003

Head of Health, Gail Cartmail General Secretary, Roger Lyons

Responses to Queries Raised by EI Sites Part 5

A 5th edition of the Q and A from the Early Implementer trusts is attached and where paragraph references are given, these relate to the Agenda for Change Proposed Agreement published in March 2003.

Q1. Preceptorship
Paragraph 1.8 states “Staff joining band 5 as new entrants will have accelerated progression through the first two points in six monthly steps, providing those responsible for the relevant professional standards in the organisation are satisfied with their standard of practice. This twelve month period will be referred to as “Preceptorship””. Could it be confirmed that the meaning of this is that a person has an increment six months after joining and another twelve months after joining, and that their incremental date thereafter remains the anniversary of joining. There is some scope to read the paragraph as meaning that the person goes to the second point after six months, with the implication that this date becomes the incremental date. Paragraph 1.8 suggests that all new entrants to band 5 have accelerated progressions, however the staff booklet makes reference to “Qualified professional staff”. What is the correct interpretation? Would a qualified accountant be included?

A. Logically any professionally qualified person is covered. In effect this means that all staff in Band 5 will move up after 6 and 12 months rather than after 12 months, as is the case in other bands.

Q2. Overtime
Should part time staff be paid double time for overtime worked on a bank holiday? Para 3.1 says that work on public holidays will be paid as double time, whereas paragraph 3.4 says that part time staff should be paid plain time. Is the latter the correct interpretation?

A. Yes unless the bank holiday hours take them beyond 37.5 hours for the week, in which case overtime at double time will be payable

Q3. Annual leave and bank holidays
Paragraph 13.4 states “where staff work standard shifts other than 7½ hours excluding meal breaks, annual leave entitlements should be calculated on an hourly basis …”. However, 13.5 states “all part-time staff should have their annual leave and general public holiday entitlement calculated in hours on a pro-rata basis”. Is there intended to be this distinction between the two regarding public holidays? Our belief is that staff working full time hours over four long days (for example) should not have eight bank holidays, but should have 60 hours.

A. Annual leave and general public holidays should be calculated in hours. In order to provide fair entitlements to staff who work variable length shifts and or part time.

Q4. Protection of hours on promotion following assimilation
This was subject to a debate at the recent payroll leads meeting. That group, believes that protected hours cease if an assimilated person is subsequently promoted. Para 46.21 was cited as the reason for this. However 46.21 relates to pay only, and 46.28 says that ‘these protection arrangements will continue to apply where staff move to a post with the same hours under the old pay system during the protection period’. Could this matter be clarified please?

A. 46.28 overrides 46.21

Q5. Local RRP
If at a future date the trust reached agreement to move a service to another location and the new service area/staff groups were not attracting RRP (or only short term RRP) but the staff transferring were in receipt of long term RRP what would happen? We understand that staff moving voluntarily to a new post/area that is not eligible for RRP loses the RRP but this situation would be akin to organisational change. Would we: -

1. Remove RRP at the point of transfer?
2. Apply the local Trust Protection/Organisational Change policy and procedure. In which case up to a one year pay protection period applies
3. The post holder retains the RRP for the duration of their employment in the Trust.
4. The post holder gets protection as per AFC but we think pay protection under AFC is all about assimilation
5. Something else

A. Could we have a specific example of where and when this is going to occur.

Q6. In 1996, senior managers in this Trust had their Geographical Allowance consolidated in to their basic pay. Since then, newly appointed Senior Managers have been appointed annual salaries with no contractual reference to and no additional entitlement to Geographical Allowance. There are also some Senior Managers, who TUPE transferred into this Trust since 1996, who still receive basic pay and Geographical Allowance. Our interpretation of assimilation rules is that we should use the individuals annual salary, whatever that is, as the basis for assimilation, and apply High Cost Area supplement as an additional payment. Bearing in mind this could incur significant additional cost (between £3000 and £5000 per individual) is this interpretation correct?

A. May we have specific examples of this in order to give further consideration to the issue.

Q7. We have taken the starting point for assimilation within an assigned band as the employee’s current basic pay before assimilation at the time (e.g. 1 October 2003), not the basic pay before assimilation at 1 June 2003. We will take into account any promotions, demotions, increments and any other basic pay changes at the time the individual is being assimilated. The arrears will then be calculated and backdated to 1 June 2003. This will avoid issues of protection and the additional work that this would entail, plus possible negative impressions of the AFC as a result. Is this correct?

A. We are content for this to be resolved locally.

Q8. Protection on assimilation
Overtime is not protectable but shift permia and bonus are. What about those elements of shift premia and bonus, which relate to the overtime hours - do they belong with overtime or with shift premia and bonus. The answer to this was contractual overtime is protected. My query is about whether to protect the shift and bonus elements of overtime pay that still needs to be addressed.

A. Which groups are being talked about? May we have concrete examples of the problem/current working and earnings/projected working and earnings?.

Q9. Will new appointees who have joined at transitional point move to the normal minimum at the same time as the last assimilated person moves on regardless of their increment date and what point they are on? Or will they move through the transitional points at the same time as the last assimilated person so that there is never a lower transitional point in use?
What increment date do such new appointees have? (If they move through the points at normal incremental date is it possible that there will always be someone on those points when other new people start - potentially making these points permanent.

A. Where the lowest transitional point available in any year is in use all staff appointed to it during the year will move up a point on the 1st June following appointment. This means their effective increment date will therefore be June 1st regardless of when in the year they were appointed (assuming they were first appointed or promoted after June 1st 2003). Where existing staff assimilate to the lowest available transitional point, and this depends on how much below their assimilated band their pre-assimilation salary is, they will progress on their normal incremental date to the next point. Where new staff are appointed to a transitional point higher than the lowest available they can retain their date of appointment as the incremental date.

Q10. Our most pressing issue is the one relating to Flexi Bank staff as we have not made any plans for them under AFC. As you will recall the plan for flexi staff is to transfer to NHSP. The rates of pay for NHSP are out with AFC and are set at a higher hourly rate to compete with Agencies in any case. This is a problem for us now as the NHSP project plan has slipped and the staff are not planning to transfer in October 2003. The new date is unknown which is unhelpful but the reality! We will have an issue about covering the flexi shifts when our staff move over to AFC as we won't know what to pay and bearing in mind we plan to pay some staff in October so the issue is very live for us now. There are three specific issues that we would like advice on; reference period, on call and pay progression.

A. We consider that as Flexi-bank staff are employees their pay once transferred should be in line with AfC. The labour market in which they compete is that governed by agency rates. You may wish to consider the use of RRP to deal with this. Given that staff work flexibility, you may need to consider a generic form of KSF. Pay progression should operate as for any other staff. The reference period will probably need to relate to the frequency with which Flexi-bank staff i.e. if they work less frequently a longer reference period may be applicable to smooth any peaks and troughs. If staff are required to be on call, the agreement should apply in the normal way. If infrequent, a longer reference period would provide a better indicator.

Q11. Part time workers rights
The issue is that some part timers in order to fit shift patterns do some long weeks and some short weeks and in the long weeks come closer to the 37.5 hours that in the short weeks. In turn they can do extra hours - sometimes voluntarily and sometimes by obligation - and in a long week that could mean occasionally exceeding the 37.5 hours in that week while over the monthly pay envelope or shift cycle they would on average not have exceeded the 37.5 hours. This is common enough for full timers who might work 40 hours this week and 35 the next but be paid for 37.5 hours. For part timers the issue is that for the hours between their (say) 30 hours per week and 37.5 they enjoy basic plus enhancements (their "plain time rate" referred to in paragraph 3.4) but for those over 37.5 hours would enjoy just time and a half on their basic, and thus potentially get a better rate for some overtime hours than others depending whether they are done in long or short weeks. I have already suggested that hours for part timers in those circumstances should be averaged over the work cycle, but would like to be able to confirm what JSG's view of this is.

A. The answer depends on what the contract says. If it says the hours are, say, 30 per week then in any single week where hours exceed 30, the first 7.5 will be paid at plain time and hours beyond 37.5 will be paid at overtime rates. But if the contract says 30 per week averaged over a four week period for example then the hours between 120 and 150 would be paid at plain time and any additional hours beyond 150 would be at overtime rates, regardless of the actual number of hours worked in any one week.

Q12. JSG may want to look at paragraph 2.2 in conjunction with this query. Para 2.2 implies locally determining what a "short period" is and that could affect earnings. Our assumption at the moment is that "short periods" of leave referred to in 2.2 do not apply to "sick leave". Regardless of what constitutes "short period" at paragraph 2.2 can we clarify the intention of the sick pay provisions in relation to out of hour’s enhancements. I think the intention is that "full pay" will for sick pay purposes be basic plus enhancements - 14.4 seems to say that - although for those on less regular enhancements who are in effect paid in arrears with enhancements this quarter reflecting actuals for the last quarter. It would also be helpful to have clarity then about what is meant by "half pay" - our assumption is that it should be read as "half full pay".

There are two other matters still be grappled with that may come JSG's way but I have asked the Site to take them to the Project Leads event on 8th October to share with the other 11 and compare intentions elsewhere. These relate to Paragraph 2.2 where EAAT's intention is to interpret "short period" as 13 weeks; and generally on out of hours they think they will count up the unsociable hours worked on bank holidays and share average them across a team - this in effect double counts some hours but is very convenient to do for payroll. It is not only convenient for EAAT, but only extremely rarely does it move an individual to a higher rate of out of hours, but in other types of Trusts this may still be a convenient way of calculating but could cause greater movement to higher categories of enhancement. No doubt a discussion at the Project Leads day will expose whether this can be left for local discretion or whether it needs a question to be posed to JSG.

A. The short periods in 2.2 refer to a situation where someone is taken off their normal pattern of work and put on to another one, for instance to go on training or perhaps to cover another post with different working patterns. Sick pay is calculated on the basis of what the individual would have received had he/she been at work; it therefore includes the normal unsociable hour’s addition. Half full pay is half normal pay, i.e. half what the individual would have received including any unsociable hours addition had he/she been working normally.

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