ATTENTION ALL INMO MEMBERS - VERY IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS
As detailed, in previous updates, the INMO has been seeking progress on the following long standing issues:
- The reintroduction of the senior staff nurse/midwife increment;
- Regularisation of long term actors; and
- Reinstatement of concession days and days in lieu.
I can now confirm that the HSE, in circulars issued earlier today, have advised all health employers as follows:
1. Senior Staff Nurse/Midwife
- The INMO have achieved the reinstatement of the Senior Staff Nurse/Midwife grade, with effect from the 1st July 2013.
Members will be aware that health employers have not appointed any Nurses/ Midwives, with 20 years service, to the grade of Senior Staff Nurse/Midwife since 2009.
The INMO has consistently sought to have this corrected and the issue was subject to a full Labour Court hearing. However health employers declined to implement the Labour Court finding and the matter remained unresolved. This issue was then raised, as part of the Haddington Road negotiations, and the final text of the agreement confirmed that it would be reinstated from 1st July 2013.
The HSE has now issued the required circular (dated today, Thursday, 17th October 2013) confirming that all nurse/midwives, who have accrued 20 years service, and who should have been appointed Senior Staff Nurse /Midwife since 2009 , should now be appointed with effect from the 1st July 2013. The circular also states that, in future, Staff Nurses/Midwives, who accrue 20 years service, should be appointed to this senior SN/M grade with effect from November each year.
This is a very positive development, for nurses and midwives, as the difference in salary is significant. The restoration of this grade is long overdue and is obviously welcome particularly as it secures appointment, into the future, for all Staff Nurses/Midwives who accrue the 20 years service requirement.
All members who accrued the requirement of 20 years service, but were not appointed in the past four years, should immediately contact their Director of Nursing / Midwifery to ensure they are placed on the Senior Staff Nurse/Midwife salary with effect from 1st July 2013.
Members should contact the INMO, immediately, if they require any clarification/assistance in relation to this matter.
2. Regularisation of Long Term Actors and new arrangements for the short term filling of posts.
- Actors with two years acting, on 31st December 2012, to be appointed to vacant posts immediately.
Members will also be aware, the issue of long–term acting up has been a major grievance for nursing/midwifery staff, and other grades, particularly in recent years. There are many examples where members have been acting up, for extended periods, without recognition and/or any real prospect of being confirmed in the higher post.
In view of this the INMO, together with other health service unions, sought changes to this long standing method of filling both short and long term acting vacancies which inevitably arise from time to time in every workplace.
In July 2012 an alternative method was negotiated with the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), but was not implemented by the HSE. All health service unions, therefore raised this issue as part of the Haddington Road negotiations. It was ultimately agreed that the outstanding 2012 agreement would be implemented, by the HSE, if the overall Haddington Road Agreement was accepted by the union side.
As part of these new arrangements the INMO, and other unions, sought that long term actors would be appointed to the posts they filled and that acting up would not be allowed continue indefinitely.
The HSE has now also issued a circular (again dated today, 17th October 2013) setting out the process for regularising acting positions and the new arrangements regarding the filling of short term vacancies.
This circular directs that long term actors will now be appointed to the posts they have been acting into under the following conditions:
- the post holder had been in that acting position for at least two years up to 31st December 2012 (including periods spent on maternity leave);
- the post in question is vacant;
- no backfilling of consequential vacancy;
- appointment will be made to the promotional salary scale by adding any allowance received to current salary and rounded to the nearest point, not below, on the promotional scale; and
- it will not be a requirement to have been in receipt of an acting allowance - however documentary evidence confirming that the employee was in an acting role will be required and sign off of same at senior HSE management level is stipulated.
The new arrangements for filling posts, on a short term basis, will be:
- short term vacancies (less than three months) will see employees requested to take on the higher post role of responsibility to cover annual leave, short term sick leave and other short term absences. This period will not attract a payment unless the period in question exceeds three months. If the three month period is exceeded then payment, on the appropriate point of the higher scale, will be made retrospective to the first day of the absence;
- for longer term (greater than three months) absences, appointment to the actual post, with appropriate remuneration, which is required to be filled on a temporary basis (e.g. maternity leave, long term sick leave, career break etc.) will occur; and
- the selection process will be in accordance with the rules of recruitment as set out in the code of practice relevant to appointment to short term higher posts.
Any employee who is acting, but who does not meet the criteria for regularisation, will be temporarily assigned to the higher post in accordance with the new criteria.
As a result of these new arrangements many nurses and midwives, who are acting for over two years in vacant posts, will now be appointed to these higher grade posts. This is a very important , and beneficial, outcome to the INMO long held policy that the previous long term acting arrangements required significant correction.
All INMO members, who believe they are in this category, should contact their local Industrial Relations Officer, in their area, immediately for further advice/ guidance.
3. Concession Days and Days in Lieu for Immunisation
- Concession days and immunisation days to be re-instated to those who were in receipt of them up to January 2012.
In January 2012 the HSE issued a circular implementing the government decision to reduce annual leave for existing employees. The maximum annual leave from that date is set at thirty two days. All concession days would be incorporated into this maximum but Good Friday would be allowed as an extra day, where it already was in place for employees.
The HSE circular went further than the relevant government instruction by refusing to allow all staff, who were in receipt of concession days, to incorporate them. This particularly affected some Public Health Nurses, Community General Nurses and nurse/midwives, working in hospitals on Monday to Friday administrative type rosters, who always received concession days up to the issuance of this circular. The concession days in question were usually one at Christmas and one at Easter.
The HSE circular also sought to remove the days in lieu granted to Public Health Nurses as part of a previous agreement relating to taking on additional roles in immunisation.
The INMO strongly objected to this interpretation of the government decision. It was subsequently agreed, again as part of the Haddington Road Agreement, that any employee who held concession days, up to 1st January 2012, would be allowed to maintain them. This would be done by incorporating them into their annual leave allocation provided they do not exceed the overall maximum of 32 days.
In addition to the maximum of 32 leave days, the two days in lieu for PHN grades, relating to the immunisation agreement, will continue to apply. These immunisation days will not be subjected to the cap of 32.
Good Friday will also continue to be given, additional to the cap of 32, to all grades who held it.
The HSE circular confirming these negotiated corrections, and improvements, also issued today, 17th October 2013. It should also be noted its implementation is backdated to the commencement of the annual leave year 2012.
The INMO is very pleased that we were able to correct this situation and, obviously, this is good news for the members/grades involved.
There are obviously significant benefits, accruing to affected members, arising from the circulars issued today. In the first instance I stress again that members should consult with the INMO if they require any clarification or assistance.
In the interim the INMO will continue, in discussions with the HSE, to ensure the smooth implementation, of these developments, and to address any anomalies which remain outstanding or arise.
However, in the short term, all members are asked to study this newsletter, decide whether it is relevant to them and ensure they are included in the positive changes which now fall to be implemented.
5. Graduate Placement Programme
The INMO continues to engage, with the HSE, in relation to all matters arising from the commencement of the Staff Nurse/Midwife Graduate Programme.
Further discussions are scheduled, with management, early next week, particularly focusing upon service related issues, and a full update will issue immediately thereafter.
In the interim the HSE has confirmed the nature of the education programme and details are here
May I close by thanking you for your attention, to what I recognise is a very lengthy update, but I believe it is vitally important that all members are made aware of these very significant matters.
As always we will continue updates, on an ongoing basis, with regard to the implementation of the Haddington Road Agreement.
Haddington Road Agreement- Ongoing Implementation
Letter from HSE. 17 Oct. 2013
INMO Welcomes Clarifacation On Cash Equivalent Or Lost Leave Under Incremental Ajustment Section Of HRA.
Letter to Nursing Agencies regarding the Haddington Road Agreement.
LRC Proposals for the PSA (Croke Park 2): Report on the Impact of Proposed Pay Reduction Measures. For the 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance Staff.