How will my salary be determined after changes due to coronavirus?
Because of coronavirus, a number of juniors across the country have had their working rota amended, to facilitate emergency staffing. This may have meant a change in the frequency of your weekends, out-of-hours shifts or total working hours.
The change in your shift pattern means that you are entitled to an adjustment in the amount you are paid. There has not been a national agreement in how you should be compensated for this, but at a bare minimum you should:
• Receive a new work schedule for this new rota.
• Be paid for this new work schedule, as directed by the Junior Doctor Terms and Conditions of Service (2016). This means you will have a basic salary, with additional supplements depending on various factors outlined here.
You should be able to plug the details of your work schedule into our pay calculator, to see how much you should expect based on the above.
Some hospital trusts may revert to paying locum rates, but you should expect the above as a bare minimum.
I haven’t been able to take annual leave, or have been made to work on rest days. Will I get paid for these?
Moving to an emergency coronavirus rota may have also meant working when you should have had a rest day, or not being able to take annual leave. You might consider requesting to be paid for these days, rather than taking an extra day off later on.
There hasn’t been any national agreement on how these days should be managed, or at what rate they should be paid. HEE and NHS Employers (the national bodies responsible for trainees employment and education) have advised that this should be resolved at a local employer level (usually at the trust level), but that trainees should be facilitated to take their leave wherever possible.
You might find that there is an argument for being paid locum rates on days like these – as this would be the rate of pay if you had volunteered to do these shifts on your day off. Your trust might argue that you should be paid for a day of normal work, i.e. 1/365th of your basic annual salary, or x number of hours at your normal daily rate.
Unfortunately, there is no provision in the junior doctors’ contract to recommend what to do in these circumstances – which means that this has to be a local negotiation at your junior doctors’ forum (JDF) or local negotiating committee (LNC).
If I live in London and have had to drive to work, can I get reimbursed for the Congestion Charge?
TFL has outlined on their website a few situations where NHS staff can be reimbursed for the London Congestion Charge fee:
• Using your vehicle when responding to an emergency, if on call.
• Using your vehicle to travel to and from work, if responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
• Using your vehicle for NHS work, e.g. transporting equipment/notes/drugs/specimens.
TFL have advised applying to your NHS trust for this reimbursement.
I was due to get a pay increase for my new rotation, but this hasn’t happened. Am I still entitled to a higher pay?
Some trainees may have found that their schedule and pay have been affected by non-rotation, i.e. where they should have rotated onto a higher-paying job, or did rotate into a higher-paying job and have now rotated back into a lower-paying one.
For example, for an FY2 some specialties like A&E may have a more demanding work pattern than GP, and hence a trainee in A&E would have been paid more. But what happens if you were due to rotate from GP onto A&E, and were expecting a higher salary but instead received less due to non-rotation? Or what happens if you had been moved from GP into a higher-paying coronavirus rota, but have now been moved back?
The junior doctors’ contract has a single clause (#71) which might apply in this scenario:
Where changes to the work schedule are required by the employer and total pay would be decreased as a result, the doctor’s total pay will be protected and so remain unchanged until the end of the particular placement covered by that work schedule. This protection will not extend to any subsequent placement, including a placement where the doctor returns at a later date to the same post.
There are no concrete recommendations, but it might suggest there is some element of pay protection for trainees who have had their employer change their planned work schedule.
Unfortunately there has been no national guidance on this at the time of writing, and therefore there are no strict rules that trusts should follow in these circumstances. This should be a local discussion with your trust, via your junior doctors’ forum (JDF) or local negotiating committee (LNC), until further guidance is released.
What do the various terms in my payslip mean? How is my salary calculated?
We’ve outlined a breakdown of how your salary is calculated here.
If you’ve received a work schedule, you can enter the details into our pay calculator to check that your salary is correct.
If you’d like to find out more about what the different parts of your payslip mean, see our interactive tool here (doesn’t work on mobile screens!).
I am a new FiY1. How should my income tax be calculated?
In your first few payslips as an employed doctor, you might find that the income tax calculations seem a little crazy. For example, you might be expecting £12,500 in tax-free allowance before being charged income tax, so why was a small amount of tax deducted after only a few thousand earned?
Income tax is deducted via something called Pay as You Earn (PAYE), under which it shows up in your payslip. What this means is, your tax is calculated as you earn (monthly), rather than annually. Your tax-free Personal Allowance, therefore, is divided monthly across the entire year, instead of being bundled up at the start of the year.
Instead of having £12,500 of Personal Allowance in one go at the start of the year, therefore, you would be allowed approx. £1,041 of Personal Allowance each month, above which you are charged tax.
If you started working in August, you would have accumulated a few months of Personal Allowance by the time you started – since the tax year starts in April. With around four months’ worth of Personal Allowance to use up, you might find that for your first payslip or two, no PAYE has been deducted. But once your Personal Allowance is used up (after the first 2-3 months), PAYE begins to be deducted as normal.
If you started work in May instead, you only had one or two months of Personal Allowance accumulated, meaning your PAYE charges would start with the first payslip.
You might find that your PAYE varies slightly every month, meaning your net salary also varies. This is because your tax is constantly being adjusted throughout the year to ensure you pay enough and not too much. Small variations are fine, and at the end of the year (around May-June) you will receive a summary from HMRC telling you if you paid too much or paid too little.
You can also keep track of this by setting up an HMRC online account.
What is my tax code? What should I do if it’s incorrect?
Tax codes are used to help your employer work out how much income tax should be deducted from your salary. It’s always worth checking this to ensure you’re paying the right amount of tax.
Sometimes, the problem might lie with your employer – in which case, do contact them to raise a review of it. It may be that they are missing some information which you can provide to help resolve the issue.
Who do I contact if I have any queries about my payslip?
All trusts should have a payroll department set up to answer queries about your pay and deductions. If you haven’t got their contact details, medical HR or your local postgraduate medical education department can be your first port of call to find the right contacts.
What else should I know as a new FiY1?
Other things you should consider doing before starting work:
• Reading about how the NHS Pension works. You will be automatically enrolled once you start working, but it’s worth knowing and making an informed choice about what you’re paying towards!
• Consider joining the BMA for advice and support.
• Record your work expenses (including MDU/MPS, GMC and Royal College fees) and apply to have your income tax refunded on them.
• Check your salary using our pay calculator, to ensure accuracy and plan your income.
• Consider setting up an ISA to keep the money you’ve saved.
Other coronavirus related resources
BMA guidance on changes to rotas and working conditions.
GMC advice for doctors and medical students.
Health Education England resources and guidance on rotations, recruitment and training.
Foundation Programme news and information regarding coronavirus, including advice on ARCP.
Various mortgage lenders and banks offering support in the form of mortgage payment holidays, credit card payment holidays and interest-free overdrafts.
NHS England page of current offers to support NHS staff.
Well and Resilient Doctors (WARD) support page.
Advice on cancelled travel and events
Many journeys using public transport will have been cancelled during the pandemic, especially flights. Events involving large groups of people such as concerts, sports matches and festivals have almost universally been cancelled or postponed.
Most event organisers will email you to explain how you can claim a refund if applicable. If they haven’t, get in touch with them to request this information.
The majority of rail booking companies (such as Trainline and TrainSplit) as well as most individual operators are offering refunds on travel booked for the lockdown period if it was booked before lockdown began.
Refund policies from flight operators are more variable and the exact policy will depend on the individual airline. Many airlines are offering travel vouchers as opposed to cash refunds. If this doesn’t suit you, consider claiming back on your travel insurance if you have it. If you booked on credit card, you can also consider making a Section 75 claim.