UNISON ambulance branches to ballot over Annex E unsocial hours payments

ots-ambulance queue formby dgh southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

UNISON ambulance branches to ballot over Annex E unsocial hours payments

UNISON ambulance branches in England will be running consultative ballots over the next six weeks to see if members want to accept or reject proposals from employers about how deductions to Annex E unsocial hours could be applied during sickness absence.

Ambulance staff Annex E is a “prospective” system of unsocial hours payments, used mainly in the ambulance service. Under this system a percentage supplement is made to pay, reflecting the working pattern and proportion of unsocial hours. This differs from the “retrospective” system that applies to other NHS staff where an agreed “per hour” enhancement to plain time hourly rates is applied.

In February, the NHS Staff Council agreed a package of England-only changes to Agenda for Change which included changes to the calculation of pay during sickness absence.

These changes related specifically to staff whose unsocial hours payments are governed by Section 2 of the Agenda for Change handbook. The employers believe that the principle of removing unsocial hours payments during periods of sickness should also apply to staff who are paid under Annex E.

It is UNISON’s view, and that of the other NHS unions, that the Annex E payments are a regular supplement, rather than hour by hour enhancements described in the retrospective scheme. This means that if the employers wanted changes this would have needed specific negotiation before it was included in the recent agreement to change sick pay for other NHS staff.

We do not accept that the changes made to the Handbook have automatic implications for unsocial hours payments made under Annex E. If implemented, ambulance staff who are sick during a shift that included unsocial hours would stand to lose their unsocial hours uplift for those hours.

This would have a particular impact on ambulance staff as due to the nature of their job they have the highest levels of sickness absence in the NHS.

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