FAQs on Circular STS 05/18 – Support Staff Pay and Terms and Conditions Agreement 2018-20

1. For the transfer to permanency for support staff, after 2 years continuous service – can you confirm the effective date?

The effective date is 1st November 2018 and on a rolling basis thereafter.

2. A college’s previous overtime procedures stated that TOIL was to be taken in the first instance and that payments for overtime would be unusual.  Some staff are disappointed that there is not TOIL as part of overtime in the new agreement and as such wanted to know if TOIL can be used in place of payment on any occasion?

There is no national agreement on TOIL.  A locally agreed practice on TOIL may continue and is a matter for local management and determination.  Any payments which are made for overtime working must be in accordance with the national allowances.

3. There have been questions about the rationale for the overtime restriction at £40,000.  Are the Joint Secretaries able to elaborate on the reason for this?

The threshold was discussed as part of our national negotiations and the final figure represented the agreed position.

4. Has there been any discussion in relation to a minimum amount of overtime.  The college has staff who have advised they regularly need to stay late to finish up, sometimes only 5/10/15 minutes and their interpretation is they will now get paid for this.

There is no currently set national position on the minimum period of time which has to be worked to qualify for overtime.  This is a matter for local management and determination and you may wish to have regard to the practice which was applied to overtime payments in college prior to the national allowance being set.  Staff who do not wish to work extra hours if overtime payments are not to be made, can elect to so do.

5. Colleges have staff who would undertake shift work to cover holidays or sickness, they will not form part of the rota, as this is ad-hoc, therefore the college thinks it should pay unsociable hours.  Would that be the correct interpretation?

The unsocial hours allowance would only be paid if the hours were worked within the time parameters of that allowance, i.e. between the hours of 9pm and 6am.  Unsocial hours payments are not made if other enhanced rates apply, e.g. shift or overtime.  The individuals covering the shift allowance should receive the hourly rate of pay applicable to that working pattern, i.e. the base rate plus the shift enhancement.

6. The college has staff on stand by payments, when they are off on holiday or leave for a single day, should we pro rata that?

Yes, the stand by rota should be pro rated.  It is a weekly allowance which assumes that the employee is on standby for that week. If they are not available for standby on any particular day, then they would not be entitled to the full allowance.

7. The college has a role where staff work one of two shifts – a backshift or a nightshift.  In practice staff work either one or the other and do not alternate.  At present, we pay a basic salary, plus agreed rates for unsocial hours and there is no overall % uplift to reflect shift working.  Should these staff receive a nationally agreed shift allowance and, if so, at what rate?

There would be no shift allowance payable, Unsocial hours rates should be based on the national agreement.

8. A college has staff that work a two shift rota – early shift and backshift arrangement and alternate on a rota basis but do not current receive a shift allowance even though the early shift starts at 5.30am and the backshift can finish at 9pm or later.  The college  expect that they would now be eligible for the 14% shift allowance.  Is this correct?

Yes, 14% shift allowance would be payable.

9. A college has staff that work a three shift rota – early, day and backshift.  As the circular suggests that to be eligible for the 20% allowance this must include nightshift, are we correct that these staff will also receive the 14% allowance?

This shift pattern would attract a 14% shift allowance.

10. A college has some operational posts at salaries over £40k who have traditionally worked additional hours at evenings and weekends to supervise contractors and sign off permits to work etc.  These posts, although no longer eligible for OT payments, is the principle of TOIL still applicable to these posts, or are they simply now expected to work the hours necessary to fulfil their role?

There is no national agreement with regard to TOIL, therefore local arrangements will continue to apply.

11. If a college has staff at salaries over £40k on a standby/call out rota, are they eligible for the relevant allowances?

Yes, these staff members would be eligible for relevant allowances.

12. A college pays standard First Aid allowance at  £300 per annum.  The Circular states that the £500 will be applicable from the next renewal date or the commencement of duties and states that it applies from 1 November 2018.  Does everyone currently receiving £300 move to £500 from 1 November or does this apply from their next renewal?

The rate will change at the next renewal date.

13. A college has some legacy first aiders who receive £600 and our agreement is that they would have moved onto the standard college rate of £300 at their next renewal date (or they could decline to continue to be a first aider).  The Circular states in the appendix that the new agreed rate of £500 applies from the next renewal date or commencement of duties, but this appears to contradict page 1 of the Circular that states that allowances are conserved at their cash value for four years.  Can you confirm how the college should treat anyone currently in receipt of a payment higher than the £500 now agreed.

Taking the terms of this allowance in conjunction with the agreement on salary conservation, those employees currently in receipt of a first aid allowance of £600, will move to the new rate of £500 at the next renewal date but with a cash conservation at the £600 rate for four years.

14. Please could you confirm if a member of support staff is eligible to receive a shift allowance, but one of their shift lands on a college closure day – are they then also eligible for double time for all hours worked and time off a later date?

If a member of staff is required to work on a closure day or public holiday, they are eligible for the associated time off and pay for work on that day irrespective of whether they are on a rostered shift or not.

15. A college has proposed a new day shift which includes a Saturday and a compensatory day off on a Monday and therefore 35 working hours.  Please provide clarification regarding these hours on a Saturday within the shift pattern.

It is not envisaged that, as a result of this Agreement, colleges will change the existing working arrangements, including the working week and hours of work where these are already defined.  The intent of the Agreement was that the normal working week for support staff would be within Monday to Friday.

16. A college has an option to finish the late shift at 10 pm or at 9 pm term time Monday to Thursday.  Please provide clarification that if the late shift finishes at 10 pm will this attract unsocial hours enhancement in line with the agreement on page 7.

The Agreement is clear that the Unsocial Hours Working allowance is not paid if any other enhanced rate applies (e.g. shift/overtime).

17. In the event points are clarified and they either amend or provide further clarification to the current agreement, would this require a nationally agreed variation or are we able to implement locally in line with our understanding of the agreement?

These points of clarification would not require an amendment to the current Agreement at this time.  Should any future National Agreement impact on this advice, we would advise accordingly.  We would also advise that if an interpretation of the National Agreement is not clear, queries should be directed to the Joint Secretaries.

18. On what earnings is the shift allowance paid? For example, our Caretakers will work 35 normal hours plus contractual overtime and will have additional pay elements such as non contractual overtime, call-outs, standby payments.  Is there any guidance on which of these pay elements attract the 14% shift allowance uplift?

The 14% shift allowance is paid for all hours worked contractually as part of the shift system.  For example, if the shift system covers 40 hours, the employee will be paid at 40 hours plus 14%.  Out of those 40 hours, 5 hours will be classed as contractual overtime and will be paid at the appropriate premium rate of either time and a half or double time depending on when the overtime is worked, then the 14% applied.  35 hours will be paid at base rate plus 14%. Overtime which is not part of the shift system will be paid at basic grade rate plus the appropriate overtime premium.  Standby payment will be made as a standard payment not linked to the rate of pay.  Call out payments will be made on the basic rate of pay and then in accordance with the appropriate premium depending on whether the hours are worked as part of a standby rota.

19. Our part-time caretakers may work additional hours which are unsociable. These would not attract overtime as they are <35 hours per week. Is it also correct that they would not attract an unsocial hours payment as these staff also receive a shift allowance? As above, which of their earnings elements should be included in the shift allowance calculation?

Unsocial hours payments do not apply if any other enhanced rate applies to the hours worked.  The shift allowance is paid for all hours worked within the recognised contractual shift pattern and would be in accordance with the answer above.

20. The call out rate whilst on standby states 1½ on all hours worked – does this include a Sunday? If so the standby rate is lower than the normal (double time) rate that would be paid.

This depends on whether it is work as a call out or work as overtime.  Yes, the rate is different, but call out also attracts a minimum two-hour payment and travel expenses.  Overtime does not.