POA Circulars

76 | 29.06.2012

Unsocial Hours - Fair & Sustainable

Concerns have been raised by members over the introduction of the allowance, as part of the pay structure, identified as unsocial hours.

NOMS introduced unsocial hours as part of the pay structure to differentiate between operational and non-operational staff, minimise the risk of equal pay claims and ultimately save money if specific work did not require an individual to work unsocial hours as part of their attendance pattern.

The policy guidance for staff to qualify for the payment of the ‘unsocial hour’s allowance’ is that they should work between 20-30% of the hours across their shift pattern as unsocial hours.

Unsocial hours are defined as those hours worked outside of 0700 – 1900 hours Monday to Friday and include weekend and bank/public holidays.

The Executive can confirm that HR Policy Group have stated all uniformed staff groups (OSG’s, prison officers, supervisory officers and custodial managers) which includes specialists, SO’s and PO’s under the current structure will automatically attract this allowance as there is an expectation for all staff to work these hours as part of their shift patterns. This means that staff joining or moving into these roles will automatically receive this allowance and will continue to do so as long as they are working these hours.

The payment will cease if staff agree with their line manager to move to a non unsocial hours shift pattern (e.g. Monday to Friday working) and cease to work ‘unsocial hours’.

The pay element of unsocial hours equates to 17% of pay which is pensionable and the POA will, if appropriate, put forward recommendations to the Prison Service Pay Review Body to bring about change on an annual basis.

If any member or branch official has concerns with the interpretation or implication of the Unsocial Hours Policy, they should contact Glyn Travis or Duncan Keys in the first instance at Cronin House or Linden House respectively.

I trust this clarifies this matter and would be grateful if you could draw the contents of this circular to your members.


General Secretary