You will not be entitled to be paid for any day on which you were due to be working but take industrial action.
We know that it is hard to lose income. However, if we do not fight to defend our pay now, we could stand to lose a lot more in the future.
The Government is giving us no alternative. We need to send a message that we will defend our pay both now and in the future. However, if you feel that you are unable to take part in industrial action because of financial issues, we would encourage you to make the best decision for yourself and your family.
Annual leave or zero hours
If you are on annual leave or a zero hours day on a day when industrial action is taking place, your employer must not deduct your pay. This is the case even if you partake in picketing. You should not be called in to provide cover.
Read our section on strike action and maternity pay.
Calculating pay deductions for consultants
NHS Employers have published advice to trusts (see 'Pay and contract FAQs' on the NHS Employers industrial action hub page) that the pay deduction calculation for employers to use should be the equivalent of 1/365th of annual salary for each day of industrial action, or an hourly calculation rate that crucially must be no greater a deduction than the 1/365th figure.
Note also that this only applies to days when you are actually striking from job-planned duties. It does not apply to non-working days or days of leave that overlap with the period of industrial action.
One shift equals one day
We expect a single shift to be treated as a single day for deduction purposes. This is regardless of whether it straddles one or two calendar days. So those working night shifts should not suffer greater pay deduction than colleagues working days.
When to expect the deductions
It is unlikely that your pay would be deducted on the same month as you took the relevant industrial action. This is because it takes some time to record the activity and for the necessary arrangements on the system to be made by payroll. It is important to your payslip each month to ensure that this deduction has been applied correctly.
'Christmas day cover' deductions
The industrial action we are calling for might mean that you change the way you work on a day of action. For example, if you have a clinic and are due to be on-call, our advice is that you should perform Christmas Day only cover. There is a risk that your employer may seek to deduct pay in this circumstance as they have the right to do so. We do not expect this to be a common occurrence as encouraging consultants to refuse to be on-call by refusing to pay them would not be in the interests of employers (more advice on on-call arrangements can be found in our guidance on action on the day).
Further guidance on pay deductions
If your employer seeks to deduct pay in any other way than we've set out, please refer them to the NHS Employers advice they will have received. If you have any further issues, please contact us for support.
Sick pay and consultant 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 LNC should inform their BMA Industrial Relations Officer (IRO). They will take the matter up with management.
Read about sick leave and consultant industrial action.
Impact of industrial action on your pension
When a member takes strike action, it is typical that they would not be paid for that day. Therefore, no service or pay accrues towards your pension benefits, and the day(s) are disallowed, and therefore effectively ignored from active service. This is confirmed in guidance by NHSBSA.
Impact for members with service in the 1995/2008 pension schemes
The way final pensionable pay is calculated that, on the date of retirement, there is a countback of three lots of 365 days of active service. The highest of these 365 days is your pensionable final pay. If there are strike days, they do not form part of your active service and, therefore, these days are ignored and, consequently, this count back period will be increased by the corresponding number of strike days you have taken. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, there will be no impact whatsoever on final salary pension.
The only exception to this is if you have had a significant pay rise in the last 12 months before retirement. In this situation, the 365 day countback period would ignore strike days paid at the higher level of pay and, therefore, the countback would potentially extend to include a period of working days before the pay rise was in place. This may reduce the level of final pensionable pay. This however can be fully mitigated by delaying retirement by the corresponding number of days you took strike action to ensure you have the full 365 days at the higher pay level.
Impact on members with membership of the 2015 pension scheme
The 2015 pension scheme is different, as your pension is based on 1/54 of your actual pensionable pay for each year. If you take strike action, you will typically not be paid for these days, they will be ignored or disallowed, and your actual pensionable pay for that year will be reduced. Consequently, the pension you accrue for that year will be reduced. The overall impact of this however is small.
Further general points
It is worth remembering that as the 1995, 2008, and 2015 pension schemes are based on your level of pensionable pay, any rise in pensionable pay achieved through action will have a very significant impact on the total amount of your pension in increasing this. In addition, disallowed days cannot be repurchased, but additional pension benefits can be improved if required by buying additional pension, as set out here.