Consultant Leave England Northern Ireland

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Consultants leave

Your annual leave entitlement

The annual leave entitlement of consultants engaged on the national terms and conditions is as follows:

Six weeks plus two statutory days (in most trusts these have been converted into between two and four days of annual leave) and, if you are on the English or Northern Irish 2003 contract and have been a consultant for seven or more years, another two days. Public holidays are usually fixed and are taken in addition to the above entitlement. In some circumstances public holidays may be added to annual leave.

Please note that these are model provisions and both full time and part time consultants may be able to negotiate more locally. We aware that some consultants may have their leave expressed in days rather than weeks in their contract; anyone in such a circumstance should take care to ensure that the number of days they have had allocated is correct.


Variations in working patterns

Consultants generally do not work on a 0900-1700 Monday to Friday basis. The variation in working patterns means that it is difficult to define a working 'week', and this may be more or less than five days. Equally, many consultants may work a number of PAs over a set cycle, which, although an average can be determined, makes it difficult to identify a standard week.

Complications may arise when working out how consultants who work anything other than a five-day week should take their annual leave. For example, if a full time consultant delivers their contractual commitment in three days of work, it might be thought to suggest that they would only have to take three days of leave to have a full week off.

A consultant in these circumstances could spend over 10 weeks away from the hospital if they were allocated 32 days leave per year, compared to their colleagues who spread their commitments over five days a week, for example. All consultants on a full time contract who have standard conditions of service have the same contractual entitlement to leave.

Consultants may wish to agree a local solution in order to ensure that annual leave is being taken equitably. See below for an outline of a variety of methods for calculating leave in order to avoid any potential inequity in those circumstances where differing work patterns make leave calculations difficult. Any arrangement should be agreed through the LNC.


Part-time consultants

Annual leave for part-time consultants should be calculated on a pro-rata basis – for example, if a consultant works two thirds of a full time commitment then their leave annual allowance should also be equally proportioned. There should be no advantage or disadvantage in terms of leave as a result of adopting different working patterns.


Calculating leave

Possible methods for calculating leave to avoid inequity resulting from differing work patterns are given below.

Option 1

Calculate leave based upon the number of PAs in the job plan. Recognising that the 2003 contract is based around PAs, one way to do so would be to annualise the job plan and to calculate leave on a PA basis rather than by days or weeks, eg six weeks of annual leave on a 10 PA per week contract = 60 PAs of annual leave, plus 20 PAs of leave for public holidays (10 days public holiday x 2PAs a day).

Each individual’s annual leave allowance would need to be calculated based on the number of PAs they work (either each week or over a specific cycle).

For example:

Consultant A works 10 PAs between Monday – Friday and has a contractual annual leave allowance of six weeks. There is no on-call associated with the post.

Consultant B works 9.5 PAs from Monday-Thursday each week and an average of 0.5 PAs per week for working 1/8 weekends and has a contractual annual leave allowance of six weeks. There is no on-call associated with the post.

Consultant C works a four-week cycle of 40 PAs which includes eight PAs from Tuesday to Friday each week, an average of one PA per week for weekend working and an average of one PA per week for unpredictable on-call (which might be during the week or at the weekend) and has a contractual annual leave allowance of six weeks.

All consultants wish to take leave and be absent from the hospital for one week.

Consultant A would need to use 10 PAs of annual leave.

Consultant B would need to calculate how many PAs he/she was due to work on the specific week which he/she wished to book as leave. For example, if this was a week without weekend working, this would be require 9.5 PAs of leave. If this was the week in the eight-week cycle in which he/she was working over the weekend, then 13.5 PAs of leave would be required to be absent from the hospital from Monday – Sunday inclusive.

Consultant C would need to calculate the actual number of PAs he/she would work on the specific week on which leave was required – eg exactly when his/her on call commitment that week would take place and what his/her weekend working commitment would be (plus the eight PAs usually worked from Tuesday-Friday). The exact figure would then need to be deducted from his/her annual leave allowance.



Option 2

Adjust the total number of days of annual to reflect the length of the working week. If a consultant works 10 PAs a week over Tuesday-Friday with no on-call or weekend working, then his/her annual leave allowance could be calculated accordingly – eg 4 days x 6 weeks = 24 days per year. The consultant would then need to use four days of annual leave to be absent from the hospital for one week, assuming it did not coincide with a weekend of work.

This method is less suitable when more complicated working patterns are involved..

Other calculation methods may also be employed: each method should ensure that leave for both full time and part time consultants is fair and equitable.

Please note that any calculation must be based on an individual’s specific work commitment.


Working on public holidays

Are consultants obliged to work on public holidays?

The Definitions set out in the preface to the Terms and Conditions – Consultants (England) 2003 (T&Cs) state (page 3) that work on a public holiday counts as work in Premium time. Schedule 3, para 6 of the TCS confirms that non-emergency work after 7pm and before 7am during weekdays or at weekends (premium time work) will only be scheduled by mutual agreement. Therefore a bank and public holiday working should only be scheduled by mutual agreement.

I don’t work on Mondays and I’m not sure whether I should be entitled to public holidays in lieu given that I miss some. What is the right way to handle this?

Increasing numbers of full time consultants work different patterns which sometimes mean that they are not scheduled to work on a public holiday and want to know whether they are entitled to take a day off given that they have missed a public holiday. Similarly, part time consultants are entitled to the same leave, pro rata, as full timers but might also find that they aren’t scheduled to work on a public holiday.

It can be difficult to work out how they should be compensated for missing public holidays. It would not be fair for the full timer for different hours simply to take a day off in lieu because they may take a day off when they are scheduled to work three or more PAs and would, therefore, be taking more leave than a full time consultant who took leave on a public holiday when he/she was scheduled to carry out two PAs.

A fair way of dealing with this is outlined in the advice above.


Carry over of annual leave entitlement

For consultants, Schedule 18, paragraph 6 of the 2003 TCS states that carrying over annual leave is subject to the General Council Conditions of Service. These conditions include a provision which states that ‘Subject to the exigencies of the service up to 5 days annual leave may be carried forward on application and taken in the ensuing leave year.’ We would expect this to be observed in all but exceptional instances which would need to be clearly justified.