Provisions for unsocial hours payments for ambulance staff

Annex E

Working outside normal hours

  1. The following provisions for unsocial hours payments will apply to Ambulance staff until such time as an agreement is reached for harmonised unsocial hours payments for staff employed under these terms and conditions.

  2. Pay enhancements will be given to staff whose working pattern in standard hours, but excluding overtime and work arising from on-call duties, is carried out during the times identified below:
  • for staff in pay bands 1 to 7 – any time worked before 7am or after 7pm Monday to Friday, and any time worked on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays

  • for staff in pay bands 8 and 9 – any time worked before 7am or after 10pm Monday to Friday, any time worked before 9am or after 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and any time worked on bank holidays
  1. The pay enhancement will be based on the average number of hours worked outside these times during the standard working week, and will be paid as a fixed percentage addition to basic pay in each pay period. The enhancement will be pensionable and count for sick pay, but will not be consolidated for purposes of overtime or any other payment. Once the average has been agreed, the payment will not normally change because of small week-to-week variations in the shifts worked. It will, therefore, be payable during short periods of leave or training. It will, however, be re-calculated if there is a significant change in working pattern.

  2. This average will be calculated over a 13-week reference period or over the period in which 1 cycle of the rota is completed, whichever more accurately reflects the normal pattern of working. For the purposes of the calculation short meal breaks taken during each work period will be included. An 8 hour shift from 3pm to 11pm would, therefore, include 4 qualifying hours for staff in pay bands 1 to 7, irrespective of when in that period a meal break was taken.

  3. The enhancement will be paid as a percentage of basic salary each month, subject to a maximum of 25% for staff in pay bands 1 to 7 and 10% in pay bands 8 and above. Basic salary for these purposes will be regarded as including any long-term recruitment and retention premia. It will not include short-term recruitment and retention premia, high-cost area payments or any other payment.

  4. Where the average exceeds 5 hours a week during the times set out above, there will be a banded system of pay enhancements. The payment will not vary unless the working pattern changes sufficiently to take the number of qualifying hours outside the band over the reference period as a whole.

  5. Where unsocial hours working is limited or very irregular (averaging no more than 5 hours a week over the reference period) pay enhancements will be agreed locally. These may be fixed or variable, and based on actual or estimated hours worked, subject to local agreement. To ensure fairness to staff qualifying under the national rules set out above, locally agreed payments may not exceed the minimum percentage in the national provisions.
  6. For part-time staff and other staff working other than 37½ hours a week excluding meal breaks, the average number of hours worked outside the normal hours will be adjusted to ensure they are paid a fair percentage enhancement of salary for unsocial hours working. This will be done by calculating the number of hours which would have been worked outside normal hours if they had worked standard fulltime hours of 37½ hours a week with the same proportion of hours worked outside normal hours. This number of hours is then used to determine the appropriate percentage set out in Table 11.

Table 11

Average unsocial hours Percentage of basic salary  
  Pay bands 1 to 7 Pay bands 8 and 9
Up to 5 Local agreement Local agreement
More than 5 but not more than 9 9% 9%
More than 9 but not more than 13 13% 10%
More than 13 but not more than 17 17% 10%
More than 17 but not more than 21 21% 10%
More than 21 25% 10%


  1. For an example of the effect of this provision see Annex F.

Staff working rostered overtime

  1. Where staff work shifts that always include a fixed amount of overtime (rostered overtime) the hours worked outside normal hours should be calculated as if they were working non-standard hours in excess of 37½ hours per week. For an example of the effect of this see Annex F.

Self-rostering schemes

  1. Where staff have agreed self-rostering arrangements with their employer, local provisions should be agreed to ensure that the enhancements payable under these types of provisions are shared fairly among members of the team.

  2. In these cases employers and staff side representatives should agree the level of payment appropriate for the team, on the basis of the unsocial hours coverage needed to provide satisfactory levels of patient care. This should be based on the period covering a full rota or, where there is no fixed pattern, an agreed period of not less than 13 weeks’ activity for that team and divided among team members subject to a formula that they agree.

  3. For an example of the effect of this provision see Annex F.

Annual hours and similar agreements

  1. Agreement should be reached locally on pay enhancements for staff on annual hours agreements who work outside normal hours. The agreement should respect the principles of this Annex to ensure that the arrangements for these staff are consistent with those for other staff working outside normal hours.

  2. For an example of the effect of this provision see Annex F.

Bank staff

  1. Work for a staff bank run by the employer should be treated as a separate contract for the purpose of these rules and any additional payment due calculated as a percentage of their bank earnings, based on the number of bank hours worked outside normal hours.

  2. For an example of the effect of this provision see Annex F.

Unforeseen changes to agreed patterns of working

  1. Management and staff side representatives, working in partnership, should develop protocols that ensure sensible planning for unexpected absence (such as the use of first on-call rotas for overtime) and minimise the need for frequent or sudden changes to agreed normal working patterns.

  2. However, where it is necessary for employers to ask staff to change their shift within 24 hours of the scheduled work period, such staff should receive an unforeseen change payment of £15 for doing so. The payment is not applicable to shifts that staff agree to work as overtime, or that they swap with other staff members.

  3. Good management practice should ensure that this type of payment is not used where absence is predictable, for example to cover maternity leave, long-term sick leave, planned annual leave etc. Appropriate monitoring of these payments should be undertaken at both a local (for example, ward) and strategic (ie. board) level in the organisation to identify circumstances which would suggest excessive or unusual trends for such payments.