Recruitment and retention premia criteria
1 Recruitment and retention premia are additions to the pay of a post or group of similar posts where market pressures would otherwise prevent the employer from being able to recruit or retain staff in sufficient numbers at the normal salary for jobs of that weight. The new system provides for them to be awarded on either a short term or long term basis.
2 To ensure consistency in the application and payment of recruitment and retention premia, the Department should adhere to the following protocol.
3 All new vacancies should be advertised in relevant local, regional, national and/or professional media.
4 Where adverts have produced no suitable applicants HR personnel service/department managers and staff representatives should consider the reasons for this. Account should be taken of the number of applicants, relevant national vacancy data and local labour market information, the media used and any non-pay improvements that could be made to the employment package (for example, training opportunities, childcare, relocation), or any expected increase in the supply of staff suitable for the post.
5 If it could be reasonably assumed that vacancies could be filled through, for example, advertising in different media or by waiting for an expected increase in supply (for example from new trainees) then vacant posts should be re-advertised.
6 However, if on the basis of paragraphs 2 and 3 above, it is decided that the vacancy problem can be addressed most effectively only through payment of a recruitment and retention premium; the employer should write a business case and present it at Joint JNC. It would then be decided in partnership with local staff representatives whether the problem is likely to be resolved in the foreseeable future (in which case any premium should be short-term) or whether it is likely to continue indefinitely (in which case any premium should be long-term – see Section 5).
7 Before consideration is given to paying recruitment and retention premia to increase retention of staff, HR personnel, service/department heads and relevant staff representatives should ensure non-pay benefits (for example, childcare support, training and development) are sufficiently developed. Where possible, local turnover rates should be compared with national rates. In addition regular exit surveys will be undertaken to assess how far pay is a factor in employees’ decisions to leave the organisation.
8 However, if it is decided that a retention problem can be addressed most effectively only through payment of a recruitment and retention premium, the Department should decide whether the problem is likely to be resolved in the foreseeable future (in which case any premium should be short-term) or whether it is likely to continue indefinitely (in which case any premium should be long-term – see Section 5. The Department should then consult at Joint JNC level.
Posts to which this guidance may be applicable
9 The use of Job Evaluation to ensure fair pay between NHS jobs has revealed a number of jobs with relatively high levels of pay in relation to job weight which appear to reflect past responses to external labour market pressures. In some cases employers have used higher grades than would appear appropriate on the basis of a strict interpretation of grading definitions in order to recruit or retain staff. In other cases there have been national agreements to improve the pay of particular grades or groups because of concerns about recruitment and retention.
10 In normal circumstances, evidence will be sought that it is not possible to recruit or retain staff at the normal job-evaluated pay level before agreeing a recruitment and retention premium.
11 The NHS Employers website lists those staff groups which have been awarded nationally (UK) agreed awards and should not exclude any premia that have been locally agreed.
2 The JNC may establish different premia for different classes or types of post provided there is evidence that the recruitment and retention position is different, for example, because they have significantly different job descriptions and are in different pay bands under the new system.
13 Once recruitment and retention premia are awarded they should be reviewed annually. This review should be done at Joint JNC.
14 The review should consider, among other factors:
- how far the recruitment and retention premia have allowed the Departments to reduce its vacancy rates and turnover
- the likely impact on vacancies of removing or reducing a recruitment and retention premium
- any changes in labour market circumstances
15 The principle consistent with equal pay for work of equal value should be that where the need for a recruitment and retention premium is reduced or has ended, short-term premia should be reduced or withdrawn as soon as possible consistent with the protection period in Section 5.17. Long-term premia should be adjusted or withdrawn for anyone offered a qualifying post after the decision to withdraw or reduce the premium has been made.