This Q&A is produced to deal with redeployments across HSC employers specifically linked to the outworkings of employer responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is not intended for medical redeployments or other redeployments of a temporary nature that may occur through Acting Up etc. If members are unsure about any aspect of redeployment during this pandemic you should seek advice from your local NIPSA Representative first or if they are not available the NIPSA HQ Official for your area (check contact details here).

Additionally, NIPSA strongly recommends members seek information about their role before agreeing to any redeployment. This is to ensure that any specific training etc. can be arranged.

1 Q: The service I work in has either been suspended, reduced or isn’t taking referrals. Can I be redeployed?

A: Yes. As part of its surge planning to deal with the outworkings of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, individual Health Trusts and other Health employers are seeking to redeploy some staff. This is both to deal with the Trust response to the pandemic in relation to the establishment of new services and to ensure essential services are maintained in both hospital and community settings. While this is due to a number of factors it is also to allow employers to deal with increased sickness levels and staff having to self-isolate etc.

2. Q. Can I be redeployed to another Trust/Health employer?

A: Yes. Some staff in specialist grades e.g. critical care nurses may be asked to redeploy to another Trust. For example, the Nightingale service established at Belfast City Hospital will need appropriately qualified staff so that services there can function at the required level and patients receive the appropriate care from trained professionals.

3. Q. Can I be redeployed from the Health Service to a private health provider?

A: NIPSA has been involved in Regional discussions about voluntary redeployment to The Independent Care Sector/Care Homes. An agreement has been reached that stipulates any redeployment will be on a voluntary basis. If any concerns or issues arise members should contact their local representative or if they are not available a NIPSA HQ Official for your area to seek advice.

4. Q: I normally work Monday to Friday but the service I am going to works evening and weekends. Will I be paid unsocial hours?

A: Yes. Any hours you work in a redeployed role, that are unsocial, or on a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday will be paid at the appropriate rate based on your substantive post, in line with Agenda for Change terms and conditions. Unless your redeployed role is at a higher AFC banding than your substantive post in which case pay and allowances associated with the higher banded role apply.

5. Q: At my request, I’ve changed my hours specifically to fit in with my childcare arrangements due to schools being closed/lack of childcare etc. which means I work unsocial hours and at weekends. Will I be paid unsocial/weekend rates for these hours?

A: This is currently under discussion regionally and NIPSA and the other Health trade unions are pressing for the Unsocial Hours to be paid. We will update members when talks have concluded.

6. Q: I’m moving from a service where the hours were unsocial to another service where the hours are 9-5 Monday to Friday. Will I lose money?

A: No. You will be still be paid unsocial hours. The Trust will take an average of the last 13 weeks you worked as unsocial hours and pay you this during the duration you are redeployed, so it depends on what the average of this is as the amount of unsocial hours an individual works may vary every month. The policy the Trusts are using advises of there being “no detriment” to any employee who has to be redeployed.

7. Q: Will I have a choice about where I go?

A: While accepting there is a requirement for some staff to be redeployed, NIPSA has pressed all employers to ensure this is done appropriately. Best practice for this means staff should be involved with the identification of potential redeployment roles and that as far as possible individuals should have options that match their skill sets, competence and experience. Whilst this may not always be possible, staff should be redeployed to an area that is familiar to them and in which they can operate without breaching the relevant codes of practice their regulator requires them to follow.

8. Q: If I require training to the post I am being redeployed to will this be offered?

A: Yes. Employers have made a commitment that appropriate training will be offered to staff. Group training is no longer being undertaken so much of this may be online. If more specific training is required to ensure the safe discharge of service in any redeployed roles members should ensure that any such identified need be brought at the earliest opportunity to your line manager.

9. Q: Will I return to my substantive post as the pandemic ends?

A: Yes. It is NIPSA’s position that all employees who have been redeployed under the Covid-19 pandemic return to their substantive post as and when the pandemic ends. When this will be isn’t clear and depends upon how long the pandemic and services set up to deal with the pandemic last, but any employee who is redeployed should return to their substantive post once “normal” services can be re-established.

10. Q: I’m doing additional miles to the post I have been redeployed into. Can I claim these miles and the additional travel time?

A: Yes. You need to calculate the distance from your home to your substantive place of work and from your home to the post you have been redeployed into. If the difference to your redeployed post is greater you will be able to claim for the additional mileage from your substantive post to your redeployed post. In relation to additional travel time this has now been agreed for those staff who are redeployed as a result of Covid19 and have further distance to travel to and from work. You should make your line manager aware of this situation prior to being redeployed and it should be incorporated into your start and finish times during the day.

11. Q: The post I have been redeployed to is a lower banded post. Will I lose money as a result?

A: No. You will continue to be paid at your substantive Band.

12. Q: I believe the post to which I have been redeployed may be a higher banded post to what I was working to. Will I be paid at the higher banded post?

A: If you are redeployed into what you believe is a higher banded post you should contact your NIPSA Representative so we can discuss this and if necessary bring this to your employers attention. It is NIPSA’s position you should be paid at the appropriate pay Band in line with Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions.

13. Q: I’m not happy where the Trust has proposed I be redeployed to. Can I refuse to go?

A: All employers have stated they will work with their staff as much as they can to offer them suitable redeployment in line with their experience, skills and preference. However, there may be occasions where there are no other options. There may be specific reasons as to why Trust employees can’t be redeployed into an area (e.g. children of parents with specific health conditions who are “At Risk”).

We would advise members to contact their NIPSA representative or if they are not available to contact the NIPSA HQ officials (available on NIPSA’s website) so that personal situations can be considered and advice given as appropriate. In some circumstances members may need to meet with management to resolve differences of opinion or to seek assurances about what may be entailed in their new post. NIPSA will offer advice and representation as appropriate in these circumstances.

14. Q: If I refuse to go to another post can my employer apply potential sanctions, for example could my pay be at risk of being stopped?

A: As previously stated, NIPSA will make all reasonable representations on behalf of members regarding redeployment directions. However, if there are no process based or mitigating reasons as to why an employee can’t or feels unable to go to a particular post and all other discussions are exhausted, it will be for the employer to decide how to handle this scenario. NIPSA members can be assured of effective representation of their interests in whatever scenario may occur.

Please note this Q&A is for guidance only. Individual circumstances will need to be considered. NIPSA will update this Q&A as and when required. Please raise any issues with your NIPSA representative or NIPSA HQ Official.

Maria Morgan
Assistant Secretary