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HR Policy
To Be Categorised
HR Directorate
HR Policy Group
Director of Workforce, Employee Director
01 April 2013
01 November 2017
01 November 2020

General Note

NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy/procedure statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.

New policies/procedures will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies/procedures will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy/procedure is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy/procedure review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.


The main purpose of the policy is to maintain the duty of care to patients whilst maintaining the Health and Safety of Staff. It recognises that the impact of a pandemic will be significant and that current working arrangements will be insufficient. Planning assumptions indicate that a pandemic will result in an increased workload coupled with a reduction in available staff.


This policy applies to all employees of NHS Fife.


The responsibility for the application of the policy rests with Line Managers within NHS Fife and HR staff.


The Pandemic Flu Policy and associated arrangements will only be invoked during an outbreak of pandemic flu for a period determined by EDG. Authority will be delegated to the Executive Directors Group to deal with any issues arising from its day to day operation, the policy will override existing policies and will not set any precedents or status quo practices upon the cessation of operation of the policy. NHS Fife will continue to work in partnership with the Trade Unions and Professional Associations during a flu pandemic.

The following areas are covered by this policy:

  • Annual Leave
  • Hours of Work / Alterations to Working Practices
  • Management of Employee Conduct and Dealing with Employee Concerns Policies
  • On Call
  • Overtime Payments
  • Payment for Staff who are Redeployed
  • Payroll Arrangements
  • Recruitmentof Former Employees
  • Recruitmentof Staff
  • Redeployment
  • Reserve Staff and Volunteer Payments
  • Sickness Absence
  • Staff Vaccination
  • Staff who are excluded from work or have flu during a Pandemic
  • Staff who refuse to work
  • Staffing Levels
  • Study Leave
  • Support for Staff
  • Work / Life Balance and Disruption to Staff Travel Arrangements Policies and Pandemic Flu
  • Workers at Risk for Complications from Pandemic Influenza
  • Working Time Regulations

4.1 Recruitmentof Staff

Recruitmentprocesses will continue as normal. However emergency policies have been established to allow fast-tracking of new starts prior to employment checks being received. The RecruitmentTeam, led by the Human Resources Manager responsible for Recruitment, will provide advice and support to managers when they are utilising these arrangements.

4.2 Recruitmentof Former-employees

Former employees (leavers and retired staff) will be contacted by Human Resources staff to ascertain their ability and willingness to work during a pandemic. The Leads will be:

  • Senior HR Manager / Bank Manager → Agenda for Change staff (i.e. staff employed under Agenda for Change).
  • Senior HR Manager → Medical Staff
  • Primary Care Manager → GPs

The identified Lead above will link with operational managers to discuss the deployment arrangements for these staff.

4.3 Staff Redeployment

Staff will continue to report for work as normal during a pandemic. Any changes to base/ward/work area will be managed by local managers. If it is necessary to redeploy staff into other areas, staff will receive appropriate travel time and expenses to attend their temporary change in base. Expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with Section 17 of the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions of Service for Staff covered by Agenda for Change. Equally Medical and Dental Staff will receive payment in accordance with the relevant Terms and Conditions of Service. Staff will not be expected to undertake roles for which they are not competent but there is an expectation that staff will respond positively by learning new skills. Practice Development and Medical Education will provide training and support to staff to ensure they are not professionally compromised. Training will be mainly work based and will employ models of mentoring and supervised practice. Learning & Development will coordinate non-clinical requirements eg moving and handling, food hygiene. General induction and orientation to a new work area will be the responsibility of local service leads.

Managers have a responsibility to ensure that all staff allocated to them are fully competent to fulfil the duties required before any duties are delegated.

It will be the overall responsibility of the Chief Operating Officer (Acute Services Division) / Health & Social Care General Managers to deploy staff according to the clinical priorities within their service. However, if there is a requirement to move staff between H&SC Divisions and Acute Services Division or vice versa, this will be the responsibility of NHS Fife’s Flu Pandemic Workforce Group.

A database has been developed for NHS Fife which will support the redeployment process.

4.4 Payment for Staff who are Redeployed

Staff who are redeployed will continue to receive their existing terms and conditions unless they are asked to undertake duties at a higher grade. For staff who are subject to AfC and are asked to work at a higher level they will receive payment in accordance with AfC Terms and Conditions of Service for temporary movement into a higher pay band. Medical and Dental Staff will be paid in accordance with their current Terms and Conditions.

4.5 Hours of Work

Redeployment may require staff to consider changing their working pattern in order to ensure adequate cover. Staff will be expected, where reasonable, to comply with these requests. Staff will not be financially disadvantaged by any organisationally directed change to their hours and salary protection will apply. Where earnings are not variable the normal monthly / weekly payment figure will be used to determine the protected earnings figure. Alternatively if a variable pattern is the norm an appropriate reference period will be used.

In addition, staff themselves may also request a change to their work pattern for personal reasons. NHS Fife will, where reasonable, agree these requests. Where such a request is made and approved no protection of earnings will be applied.

5. Staffing Levels

Operational Managers working with relevant professional leaders will be responsible for the determination and deployment of the minimum staffing levels with appropriate skill mix.

6. Bank Staff & Volunteers Payment

Human Resources staff working with the Bank Manager, Volunteer Co-ordinators and Payroll will ensure that staff receive the appropriate level of payment and expenses. In addition where volunteers have helped out they will receive payment for expenses as laid down within the relevant Scottish Government policy.

7. Staff Who Are Excluded from Work or have Flu during a Pandemic

Staff Wellbeing & Safety will continue to operate and will provide appropriate support and advice. This will include the provision of information to operational managers about absence levels due to flu. Staff will be reminded not to attend work if they develop flu-like symptoms but to phone in for further advice. It is essential that all staff who are fit and well attend for work as normal, where staff refuse to attend with no reasonable grounds this will be treated as unpaid unauthorised absence. The matter will then be investigated under the Management of Employee Conduct Policy when the pandemic is over.

8. Work/Life Balance and Disruption of Travel Policies and Pandemic Flu

It is appreciated that many of our staff have carer’s responsibilities which may be increased during a pandemic. If an employee has difficulty attending for duty they should contact their Manager to discuss alternative work arrangements. However all staff are expected to start making contingency childcare arrangements for nursery and school closure.

The existing Disruption of Staff Travel Arrangements Policy will apply in the event of a reduction in public transport during a pandemic. Arrangements may be established to provide transport for staff where this is considered appropriate and necessary

9. Annual Leave

During a pandemic we need to maximise the availability of staff therefore it is important that Operational Managers put in place robust and consistent plans for annual leave and do not rely on shortfalls in staffing being covered by Bank Staff as it is anticipated that the Bank will need to provide cover for a higher than normal sickness level. It also has to be recognised that continuing to provide essential operational services may result in staff being asked to cancel their annual leave on a voluntary basis. This would only be done as a last resort.

10. Overtime Payments

The Bank will continue to provide extra cover as and when required. However in exceptional circumstances if this is not possible staff may be asked to work excess hours. In these circumstances, staff will receive overtime payments as per their terms and conditions of employment. The AfC Terms & Conditions of Service do not allow for staff on AfC Band 8 and above to be paid excess hours payments. Should this position be altered as a result of a national agreement this will be clarified and communicated as appropriate.

11. On Call

If component parts (eg H&SC Division / Directorate / Department) of NHS Fife require to introduce additional on-call facilities, staff will be entitled to payment in line with the relevant terms and conditions of service.

12. Working Time Regulations

Currently, paragraph 9 in Section 27 of the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook, Working Time Regulations, restricts working time, in normal circumstances, to 48 hours in each seven day period, calculated over an averaging period of 17 weeks.

As with the previous Flu Pandemic situations, further national guidance may be issued in respect of amending the reference period in respect of the WTR. If this does occur, discussion will take place locally in Partnership, to consider any guidance received.

13. Sickness Absence

Normal reporting arrangements for reporting absence will be followed as far as possible in relation to staff notifying their immediate line manager / named contact of their absence, reason for absence and expected date of return. If the absence is related to pandemic flu this will be managed in line with advice from Staff Wellbeing & Safety and Public Health. The database referred to in section 3 which has been developed to support redeployment will also be used to record staff absence data. Normal sick pay rates will continue to apply throughout this period.

All other sickness absence should continue to be managed as per the normal NHS Fife Management of Ill Health and Capability Policies.

14. Study Leave

All normal study leave and training will be postponed if services are affected by increased activity or staff absence due to flu. However staff may be requested to attend training that is particularly relevant for those staff that require enhanced skill training to work in other clinical areas as a consequence of redeployment.

15. Support for Staff

Staff will continue to have access to Staff Wellbeing & Safety services.

16. Payroll Arrangements

For staff who either work extra hours or are redeployed into other areas, they should ensure that their normal line managers are kept informed of any extra hours worked this will allow payroll to make correct payments. In the event that Payroll experience staff shortages due to absence levels we will ensure all staff receive their normal pay and any additions will be made as soon as normal services resume.

17. Workers at Risk of Complications from Pandemic Influenza

Healthcare workers who are at high risk for complications of Influenza (for example pregnant women, immune-compromised workers and staff with some other chronic conditions) should be considered for alternate work assignments, away from direct patient care for the duration of the pandemic or until vaccinated if it is clinically appropriate for them to receive vaccination. At the very least they should not provide care to patients with flu-like illness or known to have influenza and not enter parts of the facility segregated for the treatment of patients with influenza.

18. Staff Vaccination

To protect staff the Scottish Government has prioritised the vaccination of all health and social care staff. All staff are encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as arrangements are established to protect themselves, their patients and their families. When the details and timescales are determined a communication will be sent out to staff and managers.

19. Management of Employee Conduct and Dealing with Employee Concerns Policies

It may be necessary to postpone disciplinary and grievance processes until we resume normal services and staffing levels. Staff will only be suspended from duty if there is an incident of gross misconduct or in situations where patient safety is compromised.

20. Staff Who Refuse to Work

It is appreciated that staff may feel anxious attending work during a pandemic and systems and processes will be implemented to keep them informed about the situation and the risk of infection. It is essential that all staff who are fit and well attend for work as normal, where staff refuse to attend with no reasonable grounds this will be treated as unpaid unauthorised absence. The matter will then be investigated under the Management of Employee Conduct Policy when the pandemic is over.