UCEA have decided to set a single date of transition for all university-employed academic trainees of 1 April 2017. This is to simplify the process for the university employees.
While this is indeed the case the consequence is that the UCEA do not recommend that employers backdate pay according to the NHS timetable. However, we believe that there would have been very few trainees to whom back-dating would have applied.
In addition, the BMA has been calling for delays in implementation.
Category 1 is unlikely to apply to many university-employed academic trainees, simply because most will be at ST3 and above before they are appointed to a university post. However, we know from discussions with UCEA that some university-employed academic trainees are currently at ST1 and ST2 level. For those who were at this level on 3 August 2016, they will be entitled to ‘cash floor’ pay protection. This effectively sets a minimum level, based on the incremental pay point they were on the day before they transition to the new scale, below which their pay cannot fall. However, given the ‘front-loading’ and focus on basic pay, many academic trainees are likely to earn more under the new pay arrangements than previously and, as such, the cash floor will not be relevant.
For NHS-employed trainees, Category 1 protection also includes protection of the value of banded work undertaken for the NHS. UCEA have been clear that, as they have never been, nor should be, responsible for banding payments for NHS work, they cannot include this in calculating cash floor pay protection.
However, they have reached an arrangement with NHS Employers whereby, if the academic trainee is continuing to do work for which they were previously paid banding, this can be included for the purposes of calculating pay protection (by invoicing the NHS for the clinical work at the rate of protected banding). Those who are not or are no longer undertaking NHS banded work will not be able to have the value of this work factored into their cash floor protection.
As a consequence, for this group, in order to be certain that their pay will not drop, they will need to continue to undertake the NHS work for which they would previously have received banding.
Academic trainees who were at ST3 and above on 2 August 2016 will be eligible for Category 2 pay protection. This protection is more likely to apply to university-employed academic trainees, given where the majority will be in their career at the stage of university appointment.
For academic trainees employed by a university, this means that they will remain on the current Clinical Lecturer scale throughout the transitional period. While individuals in this group will not have access to the new academic pay premium, or any other premia introduced as part of the new arrangements, they will be able to access the higher HE-only spine points (set out in the UCEA pay circular).
If they continue to undertake work for the NHS which attracted a banding payment, they will continue to receive this payment.
Duration of transitional pay protection
As in the NHS, both categories of protection will be applied until:
(a) the individual exits training;
(b) until 3 August 2022; or
(c) once four years of continuous employment have elapsed,
whichever is the sooner.
There are exceptions to this rule to ensure there is no detriment to those whose training is extended. Less than full-time (LTFT) will have a transition period which is increased proportionally to reflect the full-time equivalent (FTE) entitlement. Additionally, trainees who are absent from work for prolonged periods – whether for long-term sick leave or maternity/parental/adoption leave – can have their protection period increased by the length of that absence, up to a maximum of 2 years, or until 3 August 2022, or until they exit training, whichever is the sooner.
UCEA have clarified that trainees on a recognised period of out of programme (OOP), such as those undertaking a PhD, will be eligible for transitional protection provided they still hold a national training number (NTN, or in the case of academic trainees, their NTN(A)) or were part way through their foundation or core training programme when their OOP was agreed.
When the transitional protection expires, the individual, if still in academic training, will move onto the new pay scale and any protection they may have received will cease.
Less than full-time (LTFT) allowance
UCEA are mirroring the provision of a less than full-time allowance for those training on a LTFT basis since 3 August 2016. The allowance is worth £1,500 and will continue for as long as the individual remains in training on that basis until the end of the transition protection period (as outlined above).
The allowance is also available to those trainees who were on maternity leave on 2 August, are receiving Category 1 protection, and subsequently return directly to work on a LTFT basis.