28 / 8 / 2013 Midnight
Dean Royles says it is only fair that the same approach to calculating sick pay is used for all Agenda for Change staff, including those who work in the ambulance sector.
Responding to unions’ rejection of previously agreed arrangements on sick pay, Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said:
“As this agreement was reached in February 2013, we are very disappointed and concerned that the trades unions are not supporting it in its entirety. Agreement with unions followed rigorous discussion in the NHS Staff Council and was stated to apply to all ‘Agenda for Change' staff. The issue has been about how it applied to ambulance staff, not if.
“It is only fair that the same approach to calculating sick pay is used for all Agenda for Change staff, including those who work in the ambulance sector.
“These revisions were made to ensure the national pay framework is being responsive to the needs of the service, supporting patient care and improving job security.
“Ambulance employers have been making operational plans on the basis of the national agreement and have put reasonable proposals forward on how sick pay should be calculated, following a further six months of discussion. We anticipate ambulance employers will implement the agreement with effect from 1 September 2013".
Paramedics’ gross earnings in the UK grew from £22,283 in 2003 to £37,120 in 2012 - an increase of 67 per cent when gross earnings for all UK employees increased by 25 per cent over the same period. There are 17 per cent more qualified ambulance staff in England than we had in 2003.
On 26 February 2013 unions and employers in the NHS Staff Council reached agreement that, from 31 March 2013, pay during sickness absence will be basic pay (plus high cost area allowance). No other allowances will be included and the only exceptions are those who are injured at work and the lowest paid staff. This was one of six changes that were agreed in the Council and which applied to staff on the Agenda for Change pay framework, including ambulance staff. While employers have been working to implement the changes, unions have now rejected the agreement on sick pay, specifically with regard to applying it to ambulance staff.