POA Circulars

74 | 10.05.2013

Fair & Sustainable opt in - Issue of contracts and option packs

Following a number of concerns the NEC met with NOMS to discuss the above.

Staff Options Packs and Contracts have now been issued. Please read the information below that clarifies some of the common issues and questions, which have been raised by members.

Options Packs
If you are remaining in your current role at the same level you should have received an options pack to your home address.

The options pack includes:
• a letter summarising the details of your current pay and allowances. What your pay and allowances would be if opting into the Fair and Sustainable pay structures. Please read these carefully.
• two forms to record your decision to either opt in or retain existing terms and conditions.

The notification packs are individual to you and the forms are automatically processed based on the unique barcode. It is important that you only use the forms that have been issued to you personally. The two forms are provided as it is important that you have an opportunity to record your decision. Please retain a copy of any form you submit.

If you do not return a form within the specified time period you will be counted as retaining your existing terms and conditions. You will not be automatically opted in.

If you choose to opt in, you cannot later reverse your decision and return to your previous terms and conditions.

If you choose not to opt in now you will be given further opportunities to do so on an annual basis.

Your pay slip will reflect the pay arrangements that you are on.

If you have been offered a promotion or regrade you should have received a contract via your work email address. The contract contains some generic information alongside the detail of your new pay and allowances.

You have a 30 day window to return the contract. Failure to return your contract within this time will result in it being withdrawn and you will then remain at your substantive grade.

If you choose to accept your contract, you cannot later reverse your decision and return to your previous terms and conditions.

Probation - All staff being promoted or re-graded should have already completed their probation period to have been eligible for the roles. On promotion or re-grade there is no requirement to undertake another period of probation.

Fitness Test - Opting in or signing a new contract under Fair & Sustainable does not mean you are signing up to take the annual fitness test if you have previously been exempt.

Annual Leave / Public & Privilege Holidays - Leave entitlements are unchanged and will be carried across on promotion. This will continue to be recorded in days or hours in line with existing arrangements and the x 2 protected pensionable Additional Committed Hours (ACHP) should be included in the hours.

39 hours - Staff who work a current 39 hour week will retain the protected right to 39 hours pensionable pay (subject to working 39 hours) as long as they are moving to a role where this is available (e.g. SO to Custodial Manager). This is paid as two Additional Committed Hours at single time (standard hourly rate) and is pensionable (ACHP).

The personal protected basis remains in effect until you move to another Band or a role in the same Band where ACHP is not available (for example moving from Custodial Manager to Hub Manager).

If staff have applied to regrade to a 37 hour post (e.g. to a Business Administrator role) then the change of hours will have been included on the job advert.

1-4 ACH (41 hours) - The 1-4 Additional Committed Hours are only applicable to Band 3 Prison Officers and Prison Officer 2s. Prison Officer 2s choosing to opt in will carry across these hours. These hours do not apply to Specialist or Supervisory Officer at Band 4.

LPA compensation - Compensation payments are not included in the contract. These payments will be applied at the point the pay on promotion is transacted and staff will be sent a letter confirming this payment.

LPA Compensation applies to staff moving on promotion in situ at an LPA site or to a site with the same LPA and compensation values. If you are unsure of whether the compensation applies to you please refer to the table in the pay policy manual (PSI 28/2012).

Where necessary, compensation rates will be adjusted to account for the additional LPA that has been paid during the period of early attachment / cover.

Unsocial hours pay – The unsocial hour’s payment is paid at 17% on top of base salary and is pensionable. All staff being paid for unsocial hours working, whether opted into Fair & Sustainable or not, are 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 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 and will continue to qualify for the unsocial hours payments going forward. There is no expectation that this requirement will change.

The unsocial hour’s payment cannot and will not be taken away from you unless you choose to move to a job that does not attract it.

Overtime - Overtime rates and policy for any OSGs considering opting in to Fair and Sustainable are published in the pay policy manual (PSI 28/2012).

Overpayments – Some staff may have been overpaid during the period of early attachment and / or cover (as a result of a change of work location or a move to a non-operational role). There will not be any recovery of overpayments when the pay changes are transacted. Where necessary, compensation rates will be adjusted to account for the additional LPA that has been received up front.

Pay award / progression – Staff are not eligible for progression in the new Band. The promotion dates have an effective date of 1 April 2013 and any pay award / progression is applied first on the previous grade pay scale before the promotion is calculated. Progression policy in the new structures is published in the pay policy manual (PSI 28/2012).

Please draw the contents of this Circular to all your members.

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


Yours sincerely


General Secretary