Contract Junior doctor Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland Junior doctors, take control!

20180435 NIJDC Rights campaign infographics

BMA Northern Ireland is encouraging junior doctors to understand their workplace rights and entitlements.

Junior doctors are a vital element of Northern Ireland's health and social care workforce, yet many juniors are unsure of their contractual and workplace rights.

Below is a handy guide to six key rights juniors have – rotas, leave, breaks, handovers, training experience, pay - how you can protect them and how BMA Northern Ireland can support you with any issues you may encounter.


  • Take control of...Rotas

    You should get your rota at least six weeks in advance of starting.

    Have you not received your rota? Do you have a complaint with your rota?


    • Contact HR or medical admin in your Trust in the first instance to request your rota.
    • If you are still having issues, contact BMA Advisers on 0300 123 1233.

    Get up to speed on rota monitoring: Rota monitoring checks you are on the correct pay band for the work that you do. It's compulsory and it helps benefit you and your employer.

    Get informed

    Read: What is Monitoring?

    Read: BMA guide to rota monitoring

    Read: Code of Practice for Juniors in Northern Ireland

    Read: BMA Guidance on employment terms and conditions for junior doctors in Northern Ireland

    Reference: Junior doctors' handbook, Chapter 6 - Salaries (the 'pay' section); Chapter 8 - Hours of work and EWTD; Chapter 9 - Pay banding and monitoring

    Watch: NIJDC guide to monitoring


  • Take control of...Leave

    You are entitled to:

    • Between 25 to 30 days annual leave (pro rata for part time)
    • 12 public holidays and statutory days a year if you are employed by a health trust. If you are a GP trainee, you are subject to the public and statutory days holiday of your employing practice.
    • Occupational sick pay
    • Maternity pay, paternity pay and shared parental pay.

    Day off in Lieu

    If you are a hospital trainee and required to be on duty at any time, including between midnight and 9am on a statutory or bank holiday, you should receive a day off in lieu.

    Having difficulty taking leave?


    • Request your annual leave at the soonest opportunity, at least six weeks in advance.
    • Familiarise yourself with Trust polices regarding other types of leave and follow procedure.
    • Check the bank holidays for the year and when your non-rota'd days fall.
    • If you have concerns, contact BMA Advisers on 0300 123 1233.

    Get informed

    Watch: Why it's important to take leave



  • Take control of...Breaks

    You are entitled to:

    • a 30-minute natural break without interruption after a period of approximately four hours continuous duty. This should be achieved within the fifth hour at the latest.

    Unable to take the natural breaks you are entitled to?


    • Be polite but firm if you are interrupted while on your break for a non-medical emergency.
    • If you are still having issues taking your breaks, contact medical management in your Trust in the first instance to raise concerns and problems and present possible solutions.
    • If the problem continues, contact BMA Advisers on 0300 123 1233.

    Get informed

    Watch: BMA Northern Ireland advice on taking control of your breaks



    Watch: Insider's guide to nightshifts for junior doctors



  • Take control of...Handovers

    It's in your best interests to do a good handover as this is important for yourself, colleagues and most importantly, the patient.


    • Near the end of your shift, make time to do a detailed handover with relevant clinical staff.
    • Aim to start handover when both teams - the providing team and the taking team - are present.
    • Be punctual. If you are held up, let your team know.
    • Know your contacts eg. escalation numbers, the on-call team, your seniors, the MDT, the bed manager and know your way around the hospital.
    • Keep it succinct.
    • Prioritise your jobs as you are being provided the handover, that way you can plan your shift.
    • Just ask - There is no such thing as an irrelevant question and mistakes are best avoided by ensuring you are supported.

    Get informed

    Read: BMA's tips for Tips for a successful handover


  • Take control of...Training experience

    • You are entitled to allocated time or periods of study leave by your employer for learning required for career advancement and for skills development.
    • This varies based on your seniority and speciality.
    • You should be paid or granted TOIL for time spent undertaking any tasks associated with induction outside of your normal working hours, that includes online inductions.

    Having difficulty taking study leave?


    • Contact the educational supervisor in your Trust in the first instance to raise concerns and seek support.
    • If you are still unable to take study leave, contact BMA Advisers on 0300 123 1233.

    Having issues with completing inductions?


    If you have problems with the arrangements surrounding induction, particularly if you are asked to complete tasks prior to commencing work or in your own time, contact the BMA for advice and assistance on 0300 123 1233.

    Get informed

    Watch: Tips for completing your e-portfolio


    Watch: How taking study leave helped me



  • Take control of...Pay

    Check your payslip to make sure you are being paid correctly for the work you do.

    Check your payslip for the following:

    • Your salary scale
    • Your incremental point – this means where you are on the payscale and therefore what you are entitled to get paid
    • Your tax code – this will indicate how much tax you should be paying
    • Your pay band – This is an additional supplement paid in addition to your basic salary determined by number of hours worked and anti-social nature of those hours. This calculated as a percentage of basic salary.

    Is your payslip inaccurate?


    • Contact medical HR in your Trust in the first instance. Tell them your payslip is wrong and ask them to check and rectify if applicable.
    • If you are still having issues, contact BMA Advisers on 0300 123 1233.

    Get informed

  • Other key contacts