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
    • Occupational sick pay
    • Maternity pay, paternity pay and shared parental pay.

    Day off in Lieu

    If you are 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.

    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.

    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