Zero-hour days and public holidays for doctors in training - joint statement

Group of hospital staff

05 / 8 / 2014 Midnight

Following discussions at the Joint Negotiation Committee (Juniors), NHS Employers and the British Medical Association (BMA) have agreed that where a trainee is rostered for a zero-hours day that falls on a public holiday, this cannot be treated as both a zero-hour day and a public holiday for New Deal purposes. The officially agreed statement is as follows:

Zero-hour days and public holidays for doctors in training

Doctors in training are entitled to receive paid days off for contractual public holidays. When a public holiday falls on a day of duty, a trainee is entitled to receive the day as leave from duty or to receive another day as leave in lieu of it. 

JNC(J) uses the phrase “zero-hour day” to describe a day without any work or duty which has been included in a junior doctor’s rota either to bring their hours below New Deal and/or EWTD limits by offsetting additional hours worked elsewhere, or to provide legally or contractually required rest after an overnight shift.  A zero-hour day is therefore not a day of leave from duty, because the trainee will have worked their full hours, just on other days of the rota. 

A single day cannot count as both a day of holiday and a zero-hour day at the same time. A public holiday cannot be treated as a zero-hour day, or vice versa. 

If a public holiday falls on a zero-hour day and the trainee is deemed to have had their public holiday, the trainee will have missed their zero-hour day. This will have some impact on their average working hours.

We recommend that, where there is any risk that missing the zero-hour day would result in a breach of New Deal or EWTD limits, they be allowed to take the missed zero-hour day at another time.

Where the extra-statutory holidays (known as statutory days) take place on fixed days, this statement applies to them in the same way as it does to public holidays.

This statement does not apply where a trainee has been required to be present in hospital or other place of work between midnight and 9am on the bank holiday.  In this situation they are entitled to a day off in lieu under paragraph 214 of the Terms and Conditions of Service.  Nor does it apply to non-working days for LTFT trainees, which should be dealt with under a separate policy.

This is a statement agreed by the Joint Negotiating Committee (Juniors), which is a forum to discuss contractual issues for junior doctors in training. Information on the latest meetings can be found on our national negotiations web pages .

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