POA Circulars

132 | 12.10.2010

Clarification - Payment Plus - PSI 24/2008

Following a number of concerns from members throughout the estate, the POA HR Whitley Sub Committee has been in dialogue with NOMS seeking clarification on a number of issues reference the above.

It is clear that following the closure of the Prison Officer rank on the 27th April 2009 and as a result of the continual pressure on prisons and the Service to save money, the use of additional hours under Payment Plus has increased.

As you are aware, paragraph 4 of the PSI sets out the criteria for staff working additional hours under Payment Plus. They are as follows:

  1. To staff a bedwatch.
  2. To staff a constant observation.
  3. To staff a category A escort over and above the profiled staffing level.
  4. To staff new accommodation and to cover temporary staff in post vacancies against the target staffing figure, where authorised by the Area Manager (see paragraphs 22-24).

Whilst the criteria is clear, staff have sought clarity in relation to payment for travelling to and from bedwatches, foreseen and unforeseen requirements to work and the booking of TOIL and annual leave to facilitate additional work for payment.

Please find attached abstracts from a letter from Colin Harnett in response to the queries posed by the POA:

1.    Payment Plus

The answers to your questions are:

Q. Do NOMS agree staff can book annual leave and perform duties as set out in paragraph 4 for payment?

A. We have always said staff should not be allowed to take annual leave and then undertake a night shift bed watch for payment.  However, there is nothing within current policy which would prevent this, providing that the member of staff has the adequate 11 hours rest between each of the proposed shifts to satisfy the Working Time Directive e.g. a member of staff who is due to work a main shift takes annual leave and works the night, must either be on a rest day the following day, on nights or on annual leave.

Establishments should ensure that staff are not being paid over any overlapping shift e.g. a late or A shift which overlaps the start of the night shift which the member of staff has taken as annual leave cannot be paid as payment plus.

Obviously it would not be acceptable for staff to take annual leave and then undertake payment plus on the same shift. It is also important to consider that the Working Time Directive states that employees should take at least 4 weeks annual leave per year, for the purposes of rest and recuperation. I would therefore recommend that all other avenues are exhausted prior to allowing a member of staff on annual leave to do Payment Plus overnight.

Q. Do NOMS agree staff can book TOIL and perform duties as set out in paragraph 4 for payment?

A. No.

Q. Can we have clarity on the form of payment for travelling time to and from Bedwatches for foreseen and unforeseen duties, including T&S?

A.  I refer you to PSI 26/2010 sections 8.11 and 8.12.  As supplementary guidance:

  • Did the employee have prior knowledge of the need to work the extra duty? (It is our understanding that prior knowledge of the need to work an extra duty would qualify as notice given prior to leaving your last shift). If they did, we won't pay expenses. If it was a rest-day call-in on the day, then we would reimburse travel costs.
  • Did the additional duties occur as an extension to a normal shift? If so, we would not reimburse expenses as the employee would normally have been expected to have a personal liability to bear the costs of travelling home.•    Are they on a Bedwatch/Court Escort? If they are, we will pay travel where necessarily incurred to get to the hospital and subs where meals were necessarily purchased.

Q. Can payment plus be used outside of the prescribed procedures as set out in paragraph 4?

A. No.

We trust that this clarity assists members and branch officials to ensure they receive payment when performing duties, as set out in PSI 24/2008. Also that staff are not subject to disciplinary action by the Governor for any alleged abuse of the procedures. May we ask that you draw the contents of this circular to your members?

Thanking you in anticipation of your co-operation.

Yours sincerely


National Chairman


Yours sincerely


General Secretary