HR Policy
To Be Categorised
CoSO 11a
NHS Fife Agenda for Change Team
HR Directorate
01 June 2017
01 January 0001
01 January 0001

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.


Document Title:

Protocol for Payment of Unsocial Hours During Sick Leave


Circulation to EDG Members and General Managers, for cascading to all managers with responsibility for completion of timesheets.

HR and Payroll Staff for information.

Document Reference No:

CoS11a (Updated June 2017)


Protocol agreed by the NHS Fife AfC Terms and Conditions Sub-group and the NHS Fife Agenda for Change Project Team / Steering Group for the Payment of Unsocial Hours During Sick Leave, in relation to the reference periods to be used and the system to be used for processing such payments.


Agenda for Change differs from many Whitley Council Agreements by calculating sick pay for all staff covered by the agreement on the basis of full pay, not basic pay, during periods of absence due to illness, injury or other disability.

This protocol outlines the mechanism to enable NHS Fife to make the appropriate unsocial hours payments to staff during periods of sickness absence, in line with NHS Circulars PCS(AfC)2008/1 – Managing Round the Clock Services, PCS(AfC)2008/2 – Managing Sickness Absence and PCS(2011)1 – AfC Payment of On-Call Allowances and Call Outs During Periods of Sick Leave, attached to this guidance.


NHS Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions Handbook; Section 14, Paragraph 14.4 refers:

The definition of full pay will include regularly paid supplements, including any recruitment and retention premia, payments for work outside normal hours and high cost area supplements. Sick pay is calculated on the basis of what the individual would have received had he / she been at work1. This would be based on the previous three months at work or any other reference period that may be locally agreed2. Local partnerships can use virtual rotas showing what hours the employee would have worked in a reference period had he or she been at work.


The level, duration and entitlements to occupational sick pay are specified in Section 14 of the Agenda for Change: NHS Terms and Conditions Handbook.

Staff should not earn more during periods of sick leave than they would normally when at work, eg, full pay needs to be inclusive of any statutory benefits (so as not to make sick pay greater than normal working pay). The combined addition of statutory sick pay to half pay must not exceed full pay.


For staff who work on a rota:

A rota is designed to roster an agreed group of staff to cover a work area e.g. a ward or department. The rota would not usually change and the member of staff would not usually change their place in it. Staff would know of and have agreed to the rota, and it would not be modified, for payment purposes after the period of sick leave had commenced.

  • The unsocial hours the employee would have received, as per the fixed rota, are returned to payroll in the usual format i.e. via SSTS or time sheets.
  • For short absences i.e. those that occur during the period covered by a written duty rota, the shifts the employee is rostered for are returned to payroll in the usual format i.e. via SSTS or time sheets.
  • In the exceptional situation where a rota does not follow a repeating pattern as described above and the period of sick leave extends further than the available agreed duty rota, the “Reference period for calculating unsocial hours in sick pay” is used (refer to Section 5 below). This would only occur after the agreed available duty rota is exhausted. This will mean that the reference period of 13 weeks will include an element of actual hours rostered within the average 13 week calculation.

For staff with no duty rota:

  • In very exceptional circumstances, if no duty rota has been made up for the member of staff, or the working arrangements are extremely variable, the “Reference period for calculating unsocial hours in sick pay” should be used (refer to Section 5 below).
  • Only in these exceptional circumstances, if it is felt by the manager that the “Reference period for calculating unsocial hours in sick pay” is not an accurate reflection of the working pattern for the employee, this should be discussed with the relevant Human Resources Officer / Manager and Payroll, prior to processing any payments via SSTS or timesheets.


  1. When it is unknown what an employee would have worked, an average will be calculated. The average will normally cover a 13 week reference period, although a longer period may be used if 13 weeks would not accurately reflect the rota worked. This should be discussed with the relevant HR Officer / Manager and Payroll prior to any agreement being reached or payment processed via SSTS or timesheets.
  2. The average hours will be notified to payroll via SSTS or timesheets, as if the member of staff were at work.
  3. On their return to work an employee can request a copy of the reference period / details from their manager.

If you have any queries regarding the information required by Payroll, please contact the SSTS Systems Manager or the Payroll Team Managers on (01592) 643355, extensions 28713, 28604 or 28598.

Related Publications