The following answers to queries have been agreed by the closing band 1 sub group of the NHS Staff Council. The FAQs contain information on who's included and pay protection.
1. What is the timetable for additional guidance on differences between band 1 and band 2 roles and job evaluation national profiles?
The Job Evaluation Group (JEG) has developed a document for line managers and local partnerships outlining the differences between band 1 and band 2 job descriptions. The job evaluation profiles for band 2 roles in support services already exist on the NHS Employers website.
2. What will happen to employees who opt to remain on band 1 then retire and return (following a mandatory break in service) after 1 December 2018?
Staff currently in band 1 who retire and return, or resign and return, will not be able to return to a band 1 role. Local recruitment practices will apply.
3. Are employers able to agree a start date for candidates recruited from existing adverts/interviews after 1 December, if not cleared to commence by 1 December 2018?
Band 1 will be closed from 1 December 2018. All newly appointed staff from this date will therefore need to be appointed on band 2, and issued with a band 2 job description.
4. Should band 1 bank workers be included in the band 2 transition?
Where bank contracts mirror Agenda for Change (the provisions in the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook), the expectation is that they would be included in the transition. We strongly recommend employers consider including all band 1 staff in their local discussions.
5. For existing band 1 staff on fixed-term contracts that will expire in 12 months or less, is it the expectation they will still be included in the band 2 transition discussions, especially if the additional training to up-skill them may take longer or not be available before the expiry of their contract?
Yes. Staff on fixed-term contracts should not be treated differently to permanent staff and should be included in the transition.
6. How will the transition of staff from band 1 to band 2 pay scales take place?
The national agreement gives details on the process for transitioning existing band 1 staff to band 2, and supporting staff who wish to remain in band 1.
7. For those opting to remain at band 1, is this until March 2021 only or indefinitely beyond this point, would further opportunities need to be provided until March 2021?
Staff currently employed in band 1 roles will be able to remain on band 1 indefinitely should they so wish. These staff should continue to be offered the opportunity to move to band 2 roles at least annually through their appraisal.
8. Will pay protection be offered on moving from band 1 to band 2?
Because unsocial hours enhancements in band 1 are slightly higher than band 2, staff being paid unsocial hours enhancements may find their total pay could reduce upon moving to band 2. However, the framework agreement sets out a principle of no detriment. Therefore, should an individual’s pay reduce as a result of unsocial hours enhancement rates upon moving to band 2, they should be pay protected on a marked time basis. This pay protection will apply to those transferring from band 1 to band 2 as part of this process, providing they are not doing a lower number of unsocial hours in their new role. Employers can use this infographic to explain to band 1 staff how their pay will be protected.
9. Is there any available guidance on what should happen if staff are not able to meet the requirements for a band 2 role?
The agreement applies equally to all band 1 members of staff (including members of staff on supported employment schemes). All practical arrangements should be made to ensure that existing band 1 members of staff are able to meet the additional competencies and responsibilities of band 2 roles. If for any reason individual staff are not able to meet the requirements of a band 2 role, arrangements should be agreed and implemented locally to ensure they can remain in a suitable band 1 role.
10. What are the arrangements for staff employed by non-NHS employers or wholly owned NHS subsidiaries on dynamically linked Agenda for Change contracts? How will this be monitored?
All staff employed on dynamic Agenda for Change (AfC) contracts will be treated the same regardless of whether or not they are employed by NHS organisations. Employers of staff on dynamic AfC contracts will be expected to follow NHS Staff Council advice. NHS Improvement will provide monitoring to organisations throughout this process.
11. What advice is there for staff not employed on dynamic AfC contracts providing NHS services in subcontractors, Wholly Owned Subsidiaries or private contractors?
In the absence of a dynamic link to AfC, the host NHS organisation should be engaging with the contract holder/provider over the up-skilling and move to band 2.
12. Where a trust has not matched job descriptions for new staff to the band 2 profile by 1 December, is the expectation that all new staff will nevertheless be employed on band 2 terms pending completion of the job matching process?
Yes, band 1 was closed on 1 December 2018 meaning new staff will be employed on band 2. There must be a suitable job description that has been matched by a panel that meets the criteria for band 2 in place by 1 December 2018 for vacant posts currently going through the recruitment process.
13. What happens to an employee who stays on band 1 and is currently performing a role without problem, and the trust wishes to redeploy them? Should this commence through the normal consultation process?
Every effort should be made by employers to support staff transitioning from band 1 to band 2 roles. The national group believe that in the majority of cases only small changes in roles and responsibilities will be necessary to achieve this. These changes should be discussed with staff in advance and any training should be delivered within a reasonable timescale. Employers will need to demonstrate good rationale for redeployment, taking account of the skills, experience, preferences and aspirations of the staff member concerned. In the event that agreement cannot be reached after all supportive efforts have been exhausted, unsuccessful employers should follow their local organisational change policies.
14. What happens to band 2 employees when staff they supervise move from band 1 to band 2?
Local partnerships should prioritise re-banding of the band 1 posts as this was part of the national agreement. Other issues arising may be covered under annex 24 (workforce re-profiling) of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service. It will be a matter for local partnerships to review the impact of local arrangements to determine what, if any, further changes may be appropriate. The NHS job evaluation system should be used to support the review of other band 2 roles to ensure equal pay for work of equal value.
16. If an employee elects to move to band 2 and then experiences difficulties (for various reasons) can they go back to band 1?
Every effort should be made by employers to support staff transitioning from band 1 to band 2 roles. The national group believe that in the majority of cases only minor changes in roles and responsibilities will be necessary to achieve this. These changes should be discussed with staff in advance and any training should be delivered within a reasonable timescale. A return to a band 1 role on a personal protection basis may be considered once all supportive efforts have been exhausted and this should only be in exceptional circumstances, such as to prevent a dismissal or resignation.
17. What do we do in the event of not being able to match band 2 job descriptions to the national profiles? For example, a catering support worker not matching the cook profile.
Organisations are advised to use the combined profiles for the occupational group. In this instance, we suggest line managers develop band 2 job descriptions using the Job Evaluation Group (JEG) comparison document then matching panels use the band 2 generic support service profiles to match them.
If a match cannot be made to a profile within the same occupational grouping, then the post must be evaluated in line with the procedure described in the NHS Job Evaluation handbook.
18. From 1 December 2018, can employers ring fence new band 2 roles to existing staff only.
Yes. Local partnerships may decide to ring fence new band 2 roles (that are directly impacted by the closure of band 1) for existing band 1 staff.
19. Can band 2 posts be offered at the next pay point to mitigate against the loss of pay for unsocial hours?
No. Marked time pay protection has already been agreed to prevent loss of earnings due to the change in unsocial hours percentages. This will continue until overall earnings exceed previous earnings at the band 1 level, as long as individual staff do not choose to change their working patterns.
20. Can employers use band 1 staff to cover bank work until band 2 job descriptions are finalised and training has been delivered?
Employers may need to reach a local agreement on ways to provide short term cover of new band 2 roles, transitioned band 1 to 2 roles and substantive band 1 roles through absence, for example sickness.
The rate of pay will need to reflect the work being done. If the bank work is covering a band 2 role then this should be paid at the band 2 bank rate. If the bank work is covering a substantive band 1 role then it is expected that cover will be paid at band 1 rate. Once band 1 roles have transitioned to band 2 (by 1 April 2021) they will be covered by band 2 bank staff.
21. What principles apply to pay protection?
The framework agreement sets out that a principle of no detriment will apply to the individual(s) concerned.
The NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook section 2, England sets out the percentage enhancements to pay for work undertaken in unsocial hours (USH). The USH enhancements are set at higher levels for band 1 than band 2 and also change over the next two pay years. This means that there is a need to protect USH payments so that no detriment is experienced as a result of a decision to accept an offer to move to band 2.
On transition to band 2, basic salary will remain the same and to ensure staff do not experience a detriment, employers will need to apply marked time pay protection to unsocial hours (where applicable). This should apply only when staff retain the same number of unsocial hours on transition to band 2, unless the requirement to change the number of hours is made by the employer.
The Staff Council sub group have explored some options local partnerships may wish to consider:
Option 1: Staff continue to receive USH payments calculated at the new rates for band 1 for 2019/20 and 2020/21 until such time as their overall pay exceeds the levels that they would have earned on band 1 (in April 2021).
Option 2: Calculate a pay protection amount by looking at how much the member of staff would have earned at band 1 unsocial hours rates, averaged over the previous three months at work or any other reference period that may be locally agreed. The staff member’s pay should be protected up to this amount should their new band 2 pay fall below the protected amount.
Whichever method is used, staff should not be paid more than they would have received if they remained in band 1.
In order for staff to make an informed decision on whether to transition to band 2, the pay protection method/calculation should be made clear at the point the employer writes to confirm the detail of the individual’s transition. Pay protection will continue until overall earnings exceed comparative earnings at the band 1 level, as long as individual staff do not choose to voluntarily change their working patterns.
22. What should happen to pay protection for staff who work additional hours?
Local pay protection policies will set out how pay protection operates within organisations. Employers should ensure that local arrangements do not discriminate or act as a disincentive for staff who are in receipt of pay protection following the move to band 2 to cover additional hours.
23. How will pay change for staff who move to band 2 on the national effective date of 1 April 2019?
Staff on band 1 currently have a salary of £17,460
On 1 April 2019, they will receive the 1.1% non-consolidated lump sum of £194 (pro rata’d for part time staff). Their pay will then take the following journey:
1 April 2019
1 April 2020
1 April 2021
£17,652 (plus a one-off lump sum payment of £194 in April pay)
£19,337 + 2021/21 pay award (unknown at this time)
1 April 2021 is the end of the three year pay deal so no exact pay values for 2021/22 or beyond can be confirmed.
24. Will staff continue to receive unsocial hours pay whilst absent through sickness?
The new framework agreement converts the eligibility for payment of unsocial hours during occupational sick leave (previously available to staff on spine points 2-8) to a cash value (basic salary) of £18,160.
On 1 April 2021, staff who move to the top of band 2 (currently £19,337) will cease to receive their unsocial hours pay during sickness absence unless their absence is due to injuries, diseases or other health conditions sustained or contracted in the discharge of their duties of employment which are wholly or mainly attributable to their NHS employment.
Staff who chose to remain on band 1 would earn a basic salary of £18,005 in 2020-21, which means that if a cost of living increase were to be applied from 1 April 2021, they would move above the threshold level to prevent unsocial hours being paid during sickness unless the reason for sickness falls under Section 22 of the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook.
25. The pay progression materials state that the new system will apply to all newly promoted staff from 1 April 2019. How will this be applied to band 1 staff who choose to transition? Will they be considered as existing staff or newly promoted? Will they be subject to the formal pay step reviews or move automatically through to the top of band 2?
The transfer from band 1 to band 2 is not considered a promotion. Therefore, band 1 staff in transition to the top of band 2 will not be subject to new pay progression arrangements but instead will remain subject to existing local pay progression processes as set out within the national agreement and in the new annex 23 until 1 April 2021.