Is salaried GP entitled to this sick pay deal?
Our expert answers your questions
Q We are planning to employ a salaried GP who has asked for the BMA recommended amount of sick leave entitlement of six months' full pay plus six months' half pay. The partners are concerned about this and believe she is not entitled to this as she will not be employed by the NHS.
A The NHS regulations set out the following:
·Terms and conditions
63. The contractor shall only offer employment to a general medical practitioner on terms and conditions which are no less favourable than those contained in the 'Model terms and conditions of service for a salaried GP employed by a GMS practice' published by the BMA and the NHS Confederation as item 1.2 of the supplementary documents to nGMS contract 2003.
The model contract in the supporting documentation sets out the terms and conditions in relation to sick leave as follows:
·Scale of allowances
46. A practitioner absent from duty owing to illness, injury or other disability shall, subject to the provisions of paragraph 48 (calculation of allowances), be entitled to receive an allowance in accordance with the NHS scale contained in paragraph 225 of the hospital conditions of service.
47. The practice shall have discretion to extend the application of the foregoing scale in an exceptional case. A case of a serious nature, in which a period of sick leave on full pay in excess of the period of benefit stipulated above would, by relieving anxiety, materially assist a recovery of health, shall receive special consideration by the practice.
·Calculation of allowances
48. The rate of allowance, and the period for which it is to be paid in respect of any period of absence due to illness, shall be in accordance with paragraphs 225-244 of the hospital conditions of service.
The Agenda for Change NHS terms and conditions of service handbook January 2005 sets out the following:
·Scale of allowances
14.2. Employees absent from work owing to illness will be entitled, subject to the conditions of this agreement, to receive sick pay in accordance with the scale below (see section 12 for provisions on reckonable service):
during the first year of service: one month's full pay and two months' half pay
during the second year of service: two months' full pay and two months' half pay
during the third year of service: four months' full pay and four months' half pay
during the fourth and fifth years of service: five months' full pay and five months' half pay
after completing five years of service: six months' full pay and six months' half pay.
14.3. In the event of employment coming to an end, entitlement to sick pay ceases from the last day of employment.
Your salaried GP therefore would only qualify for the six months' full pay and six months' half pay after five years of service, unless of course you chose to be more supportive.
If your salaried partner stays with you for that period of time you could be better off making her a partner at that stage. Indeed some people believe employment law now offers such wide-ranging protection to an employee that it is always worth seriously considering the pros and cons of offering a partnership at the outset!
Dr Christine Dewbury, Wessex LMCs
Neither Pulse nor Wessex LMCs can accept any legal liability in respect of the answers given readers should seek independent advice before acting on the information concerned