POA Circulars

137 | 31.10.2012

Further clarification on unsocial hours allowance and criteria for payment

Following a recent NEC meeting the POA HR Whitley Sub Committee wrote to NOMS seeking further clarification on the above as a result of concerns raised by members.

Please find attached abstracts of the letter from Stacey Muncaster who has responded on behalf of NOMS.

Under the new Fair & Sustainable (F&S) workforce structures all staff being paid for unsocial hours working will be expected to work unsocial hours as per their terms of employment. Prisons operate 24 hours a day and therefore unsocial hours working will be the norm for operational staff. The unsocial hours requirement for individual staff/roles will be set locally but most operational staff who work weekends, have a commitment to evening duties and/or nights which mean that they qualify for the unsocial hours payments going forward. There is no expectation that this requirement will change significantly over time. No member of staff being paid to work unsocial hours should be working Monday to Friday hours only.

It will be for Governors to ensure locally that these hours are available and that operational staff are working regular unsocial hours. As agreed in our previous discussions with you regarding this policy, the 17% unsocial hours payment will stop if and when an individual voluntarily moves to a role where they will no longer work regular unsocial hours. Staff cannot be forced to move to such a role as a disciplinary measure and if a member of staff is managed into a role where there is no unsocial hours working then we would expect them to be eligible for pay protection as outlined in the NOMS Pay Policy manual. For example, a member of staff who is moved through a local redeployment exercise.

Establishments will have the discretion to advertise posts without the 17% unsocial working hour’s payment where this is not applicable to the role. Individuals can therefore make an informed decision before applying for such a move, considering the impact on their total pay by the change of working pattern.

The NEC has accepted this clarification, but felt it was important to draw your attention to the following from the letter.

  • Prisons operate 24 hours a day and therefore unsocial hours working will be the “norm” for operational staff.
  • The 17% unsocial hours payment will stop if and when an individual “voluntarily” moves to a role where they will no longer work regular unsocial hours.

I trust this now clarifies the criteria for payment of the unsocial hour’s allowance.

I would ask you to draw the contents of this circular to your members and ensure that your Governor is aware of the criteria when profiling staff and/or advertising posts.

Thanking you in anticipation of your support and co-operation.

If you have any concerns on this issue please contact your NEC representative.
 

Yours sincerely

 

  

STEVE GILLAN
General Secretary