Consultants' guide to industrial action 2023


Location: England
Audience: Consultants
Updated: Thursday 5 October 2023
Topics: Pay and contracts, Pay

Refusal of leave

Employers should not refuse your leave due to strike action. Refusing leave would be self-defeating for employers as any consultant not taking leave would be entitled to strike. It would also worsen employment relations.

Both employers and consultants as employees must make every effort to work together to ensure that consultants are able to take the full annual leave entitlement. Rejecting requests to take annual leave out of hand fundamentally undermines this process. In any case, provided suitable arrangements having been made, consultants may take up to two days of their annual leave without seeking formal permission as long as they give notification beforehand (Schedule 18, paragraph 3 – consultant terms and conditions of service).

Leave cancellation

If you have booked leave that coincides with a day of industrial action, you should still be able to take it. As above, there is no value to an employer in cancelling planned leave as the consultant would be entitled to take strike action anyway. Indeed, it would be counterproductive as such action would be actively harmful to employment relations.

Study leave

We recognise the importance of study leave. As such, we recommend rescheduling study time to a period when it is not impacted by industrial action and when you can better use it as it is meant to be used.

Sick leave and consultants industrial action

Workers who are absent on sick leave when industrial action takes place keep their right to statutory sick pay.

Employers can be expected to make their own judgement as to how to regard your absence if you call in sick on a day of action. Some employers have tried to introduce special rules about sick certificates in the event of sick leave during industrial action. If this is the case at your workplace, your Local Negotiating Committee (LNC) should inform their BMA Industrial Relations Officer (IRO). They will take the matter up with management.

Read about sick pay and consultant industrial action.

Still have questions?

If you can't find the information you need in this guide, send us your questions here and we will add the answers to these pages.


Or contact our member relations team at [email protected] if you have a question about your personal circumstances.