Published: 17 June 2012
We have received a number of questions relating to NHS Nurse Endoscopists who have been asked to undertake weekend working and are not being paid the enhanced rates their medical endoscopist colleagues are.
The context of when this work is done is key in providing advice as a number of situations will be dealt with differently.
The RCN employment relations department have given the following advice which is generalised. If you would like further information specifically related to your situation you can contact your RCN representative for further advice.
Nurses generally have a contract of employment of 37.5 hours a week with these hours being spread over 7 days (However in certain circumstances e.g. in Out-patient settings the contract of employment may only be Mon-Fri ). If a nurse works a week end or evening/night they will get an enhancement on their pay. While at work they are obliged to undertake their employers business as outlined in their job description.
If the work is being undertaken in their normal working week i.e. within their 37.5hrs then they will be paid as per AFC.
If the work is ‘extra’ that is in addition to their contracted hours then it can be dealt with in a number of ways;
1) AFC overtime rates could be paid as per AFC section 3 i.e. time and a half and double on public holidays. This applies to AFC pay bands 1-7
2) Or the employer could treat this as something other than ‘overtime’ i.e something not related to the employees NHS work and agree a payment rate specific to the work as they do with the medical workforce as this is work extra to their AFC contract
3) The nurses could decline
This is a very specific area of work and unlike general ward work. It follows that the alternative to having these specific nurse endoscopists to do this work would be that the work would not be done at all or that other non-medical endoscopists would be contracted or medical colleagues would be asked to undertake the work.
In this light members need to consider what approach they will take as well as the consequences. The consequences might be that if they refuse to undertake this work the employer may not offer any extra work in the future or the working situation could become more difficult.
If the work is extra contractual i.e. is outside of their normal working arrangements the employer may say ‘take it or leave it’ and either employ endoscopists through an agency or ask medical colleagues to undertake the work.
If this is extra work, above and beyond their NHS employment contract, then RCN members are not obliged to undertake it.
We recognise the frustrations of Nurse Endoscopists who feel undervalued in comparison to their medical colleagues who receive substantial payments for working additional endoscopy session when they do not.
Members should seek advice from their RCN Regional Office or RCN Direct.