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									         POLICY TITLE                            Career Break Scheme


POLICY REFERENCE NUMBER                                      C17


 DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION                               December 2008


 DEVELOPED / REVIEWED BY                             Human Resources

 See version control sheet for
   document review history                              March 2010
   DUE FOR NEXT REVIEW


  RESPONSIBLE DIRECTOR                Executive Director of Workforce & Environment


    DISCLOSURE STATUS                 (B) Can be disclosed to patients and the public




Equality & Diversity statement

The Trust aims to design and implement services, policies and measures that meet the
diverse needs of its services, population and workforce, ensuring that none are placed at a
disadvantage over others.

The development/review of this policy has undergone an Equality Impact Assessment
[EIA], as per the guidance in the Trust Policy Development Monitoring & Review [P3].




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       1
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
C17 - CAREER BREAK SCHEME POLICY

Version Control Sheet
  Version      Date         Title of Author          Status                      Comment
 C17/01       May 03        Human              N/A                New Policy
                            Resources
 C17/02       March 08      HR Business        Reviewed by        Revisions in accordance with Agenda
                            Manager            ODG 26.06.08       for Change terms and conditions
 C17/02       July 08       HR Business        Reviewed by
                            Manager            ODG 26.06.08
 C17/03       August 08     HR Business        Out for            Revision to include reference to
                            Manager            consultation       Pensions Officer para 10
                                               period ending
                                               26.09.08
 C17/04       23.10.08      HR Business        Revised Policy     Final version following consultation
                            Manager            presented to       process – no amendments
                                               ODG and
                                               approved
 C17/05       05.12.08      HR Business        Policy             Final approved version with updated
                            Manager            disseminated       job titles




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       2
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
C17 – CAREER BREAK SCHEME POLICY
CONTENTS



1      Introduction

2      Objectives of the Scheme

3      Reason for Career Break

4      Eligibility

5      Duration

6      Continuous Service

7      Keeping in Touch

8      Return to Work

9      Procedure for Applying

10     Career Break Scheme Conditions of Service

11     Career Break – Guidelines for Managers




Appendix 1 Application for a Career Break
         2 Agreement to Vary Terms & Conditions of Employment




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       3
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
C17
CAREER BREAK SCHEME POLICY


1      Introduction
       1.1     The Career Break Scheme allows a member of staff to take an extended period
               of unpaid leave from work that begins with an intention to resume working at an
               agreed date in the future. The scheme also prepares the employee to return to a
               career with the Trust. The scheme forms part of the Department of Health’s
               Improving Working Lives – Programmes for Change.              This policy is in
               accordance with the Agenda for Change: Terms and Conditions of Service
               Handbook.




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       4
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
2      Objectives of the Scheme

       -       reduces the loss of trained and experienced staff
       -       a better return on the investment in training
       -       exemplifies the Trust’s commitment to equal career opportunities
       -       reduces ‘burn-out’ in mid-career
       -       provides a pool of trained, committed employees available for short periods to
               cover peaks in workload and holidays
       -       reduces recruitment costs

3      Reason for a Career Break

       3.1     Some typical reasons for requesting a career break are:

               -       to take time out to care for dependants
               -       domestic/family commitments
               -       to return to career related study
               -       for personal development
               This list is not exhaustive and consideration will be given to staff who wish to
               apply for a career break for other reasons. However the granting of a career
               break will be entirely at the discretion of the Trust, and all requests will be
               considered in the light of service needs.
       3.2     Outside employment should not normally be undertaken during the career break,
               unless, for example, work overseas or charitable work would broaden
               experience. This requires the express written permission of the relevant
               Service/Executive Director. Failure to comply with this condition could lead to the
               termination of employment.

4      Eligibility

       4.1     The scheme is open to all employees who meet the following criteria:

       -       one year’s continuous service with the Trust
       -       a satisfactory performance and attendance record.

5      Duration

       5.1     The maximum period for a career break will normally be up to 3 years, with a
               minimum of three months. More than one break may be possible provided that
               the total absence on career breaks does not exceed 5 years. There must be a
               period of at least one-year worked at the Trust between breaks.
6      Continuous Service

       6.1     Employees will not be asked to resign to take a career break, although there will
               be a change to the contract of employment. The Career Break will be unpaid,
               and provisions depending on length of service (i.e. pensions, occupational sick
               and maternity provisions, contractual redundancy payments, and annual leave
               entitlements) will be frozen for the period of the break. However, periods of paid
               employment with the Trust during the break will count as reckonable service.
       6.2     The employee will be required to sign an agreement (see appendix 2) detailing
               the conditions and contractual arrangements for the break; this will include an

West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       5
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
               undertaking that the employee will not enter into paid work for another employer
               (see 3.2).


       6.3     After a career break the employee will return to the service benefits accrued
               before the break. The incremental date will need to be adjusted to take into
               account unpaid leave and reckonable service.


7      Keeping in Touch

       7.1     Line managers and employees have a joint responsibility for keeping in touch on
               a regular basis to ensure that the employee is kept up-to-date with relevant
               departmental information.

       7.2     Whilst on a career break the employee must be available for work and/or training
               for a minimum of 10 days per year at a mutually agreed time. Additional working
               arrangements that are mutually beneficial may be agreed.

       7.3     Employees are also expected to maintain any professional registration, attend
               departmental meetings where necessary, and keep up to date with developments
               in their profession.

8      Return to Work

       8.1     The employee must give a minimum of two months written confirmation of their
               return date if the break was for one year or less or six months notice if the break
               was longer than one year. At this time the line manager will contact the HR
               Department to identify a suitable post.

       8.2     If the break is less than one year, so far as reasonably practicable the employee
               will return to the same grade and post. If the break is more than one year, the
               employee may be offered an alternative post, which is considered suitable in
               terms of knowledge, skills and experience. Every effort will be made to enable
               employees to return to the same or a similar job at the same level / grade as
               when they left but no guarantee can be given in this respect. Contractual rights
               must be observed.

       8.3     On request, options including part time work and job sharing will be considered.

       8.4     The employee is responsible for keeping all mandatory training and, where
               appropriate, professional registration up to date to enable them to return on the
               agreed date without delay.

9      Procedure for Applying

       9.1     Staff wishing to apply for a career break should do so on the Career Break
               Application Form at least 3 months in advance of the proposed commencement
               date. This form should be submitted to their line manager.
       9.2     In considering requests for career breaks, managers should give particular
               regard to the cost and availability of cover and impact on the service. All career
               breaks must be authorised by the relevant Service/Executive Director in
               consultation with the HR Department. Staff will be informed in writing by their
               manager as to whether their application is successful. If the application is
West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       6
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
                successful, the employee will be required to sign an agreement varying the
                contract of employment for the duration of the career break.
       9.3      The Trust maintains the right to decline a request for a break. In these
                circumstances, the employee will receive written reasons for the refusal. If the
                individual is not satisfied with the decision, they may pursue the matter under the
                Trust’s Grievance Procedure.


10     Conditions of Service


Employment        The contract of employment is maintained, with necessary variations to
status:           terms and conditions as detailed in an agreement.
Pay:              The career break will be unpaid, with the exception of the 10-day minimum
                  work/ training period.
Sick &            No entitlement to occupational sick or maternity pay during the career break.
Maternity
leave/pay:
Annual leave:     Annual leave may only be taken in the leave year in respect of which it is
                  due. Therefore employees are advised to take any annual leave owing
                  before commencement of the career break if that break carries over into the
                  next leave year.

                  Only the minimum statutory annual leave entitlement will be accrued during
                  the career break period.
Reckonable        Only periods of paid NHS employment during the career break will be
service:          regarded as reckonable service. Service related benefits will therefore not
                  be accrued during the career break.
Incremental       Credit will be given for periods of paid NHS employment during the career
status:           break.

Superannuati      2 or more years:                           Less than 2 years:
on – Retainer     Automatically preserved for pension        The employee may choose to opt
Schemes           although the time on the career break      out of the Scheme and apply to
SD(90)21:         will lead to a reduction of the pension    have contributions refunded
                  on retirement.




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       7
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
                 Staff are not able to contribute to the superannuation scheme during the
                 break.

                 The Trust will not continue to pay the employee’s side of the pension
                 contributions during the career break.

                 Members of staff considering a career break are strongly advised to
                 discuss the full implications of this on their pension position and
                 associated benefits directly with the Trust Pensions Officer and the
                 NHS Pensions Agency

                 When an employee returns to work, he/she may be able to purchase added
                 years or pay additional voluntary contributions to enhance pension benefits.

                 The career break will not count as either reckonable or qualifying service for
                 pension purposes. However, any intervening periods of employment may
                 be superannuable providing the normal eligibility requirements are met.

                 Members of staff with MHO Status must be aware that if they have a career
                 break of 5 years or more in any pensionable NHS employment it may affect
                 their special rights.

11     Guidelines for Managers

       11.1    Employees should complete the Application Form for the Career Break (appendix
               1) as early as possible and no later than three months prior to the Career Break.
               However in exceptional cases approval may be given with less notice.

       11.2    Points to consider when approving request:

Length of Service      Employee must meet this criterion, if unsure about length of
                       continuous service contact the HR Department.
Performance and       The Career Break Scheme is a staff benefit; it is approved at the
attendance            discretion of the relevant Service/Executive Director. A satisfactory
                      employment record is an eligibility requirement and consideration
                      should therefore be given to the employee’s attendance, timekeeping,
                      disciplinary and performance record. An employee who is currently
                      under performance management in respect of the above would not
                      normally be granted a career break.
Reason for break      Typically to take time out to care for dependants, for
                      domestic/family commitments, for personal development or return to
                      career related study. This list is not however exhaustive.
Keeping in touch      The line manager should ensure that staff are kept up to date with
                      departmental business – which could include sending copies of
                      minutes of departmental meetings, copies of the Vacancy Bulletin and
                      Broadcast/Mental Health Matters, information about relevant training
                      courses, etc. as well as inviting employees to meetings, if convenient
                      /appropriate.

                      Each year the line manager will arrange a review meeting with the
                      employee.

                      All copies of correspondence should be forwarded to the HR
                      Department for the personal file.
Link Person           It is important that a member of staff on a career break has a link in the
                      department – it could be the line manager, deputy or a member of staff.
West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________        8
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
Paid employment       Employees are required to be available during the career break for 10
                      days employment in each year. This maybe project work, training or a
                      work placement in their normal work area.

                      These dates should be mutually agreeable between the employee and
                      manager, and should provide six weeks notice on either side. The
                      manager should be flexible and accommodating to the employee’s
                      needs. Work will be paid at the employee’s substantive grade.
How to cover          If possible the career break period should be covered initially on a
Career Break          fixed-term basis, however each case should be reviewed on its merits
                      e.g. ability to recruit, staff turnover, age profiles of staff, possibility of
                      acting/secondment arrangements.
Monitoring of staff   The scheme will require careful management to ensure that funded
on the Career         establishments are not exceeded. Managers should maintain accurate
Break                 records of staff on the scheme and cover arrangements. These
                      arrangements should be reviewed regularly.
                      On receipt of the application for a career break, the manager should
Method of             arrange a meeting with the member of staff within a period of two
Application           weeks to discuss details of the proposed career break.

                      A copy of the form should be forwarded to the HR Department.



Approval for the      The manager should take all factors into account when considering an
Scheme                application for a career break. These include:

                              check all criterion for eligibility
                              alternative methods for covering the post
                              current/projected workload of the Department
                              value of member of staff – retention of skilled workers
                              needs of the department – other staff may be absent for some
                              time i.e. maternity leave, sickness

                      The manager should discuss in detail the reason for the career break
                      and establish that there is a genuine commitment to return to work.

                      All career breaks must be authorised by the relevant Service/Executive
                      Director in consultation with the HR Department.

                      A decision should be made and confirmed in writing to the employee
                      within two weeks of the meeting. If approval is not given, a meeting
                      should be held to explain the reasons.

                      The HR Department will prepare the necessary documentation for a
                      career break, monitor the take up of the scheme, and report to the
                      Trust Board on its effectiveness.




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________            9
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
  Appendix 1

                                     Application for a Career Break

 Full Name

 Home Address




 Job Title

 Grade

 Ward/Department

 Date of continuous NHS
 Service
 Date of continuous
 Service with the Trust
 Length of Career Break

 Requested Dates                Start Date                         End Date

 Reason for Career Break




I understand and accept the conditions of the Career Break Scheme.

Signed ……………………………………………. Dated ……………………………………..



   -     Managers will take all factors into account when considering an application for a career
         break.

   -     All career breaks must be authorised by the relevant Service/Executive Director or
         someone with delegated authority in consultation with the HR Department.

   -     A decision should be made within 2 weeks of the meeting.


  West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       10
  Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
Appendix 2

                                    Career Break Scheme

               Agreement to vary Terms and Conditions of Employment


I, ________________________________ (“The Employee”) hereby agree in consideration for
taking a Career Break commencing on ___________ [date] until ___________ [date] (“The
Career Break Period”) in accordance with the West London Mental Health NHS Trust Career
Break Scheme (“the Career Break Scheme”), to the following variations to the Terms and
Conditions of my employment with the West London Mental Health NHS Trust (“The
Employer”):
1.     I understand and accept that under the Career Break Scheme I will not necessarily be
       able to return to the same post at the same level/grade as I occupied prior to
       commencement of the Career Break Period. I understand that whilst every effort will be
       made to enable me to return to the same or a similar post at the same level/grade as I
       occupied prior to commencement of the Career Break Period, that the Trust does not
       guarantee that such a post or grade will be available. In this regard, I accept and
       acknowledge that if:
       a)      The post which I occupied prior to commencement of the Career Break Period is
               unavailable; and


       b)      On the date that the Career Break Period comes to an end I refuse to return to a
               post identified as a suitable alternative by the Trust,
       I will not be entitled to a contractual redundancy payment.


2.     I understand and accept that my Reckonable Service for the purposes of calculating
       contractual benefits will cease to accrue during the Career Break Period (except insofar
       as Reckonable Service is accrued in accordance with the Career Break Scheme) and
       will recommence if and when I return to the post I occupied prior to the commencement
       of the Career Break Period or a suitable alternative post which has been identified by the
       Trust, at the level that had been accrued prior to the commencement of the Career
       Break Period.




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       11
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
       For the avoidance of doubt, I accept that this applies to the following contractual
       benefits:


       (i)     Occupational Sick Leave
       (ii)    Occupational Sick Pay
       (iii)   Additional Maternity Leave
       (iv)    Occupational Maternity Pay
       (v)     Contractual Annual Leave
       (vi)    Contractual Redundancy Payment
       (vii)   Any other contractual benefits not specifically mentioned above for the purposes
               of which Reckonable Service is calculated.


3.     I understand and accept that I must be available for work and/or training for a minimum
       of 10 days per year at a mutually agreed time during the Career Break Period. For the
       avoidance of doubt, I understand and accept that I will not be paid during the Career
       Break Period, except in accordance with the Career Break Scheme.


4.     I shall not undertake paid employment of any kind during the Career Break Period,
       except in accordance with the Career Break Scheme. I understand that failure to comply
       with any of the conditions could lead to the termination of my employment.


5.     I understand and accept that I must give written confirmation of my return date As set
       out in paragraph 8.1 of the Career Break Scheme.


6.     I understand, accept and agree to all provisions of the Career Break Scheme as set
       down in the attached document.


Signed ____________________________________ Date___________________
       (The Employee)


Signed _________________________________ Date _________________
       (On behalf of West London Mental Health NHS Trust)
Name
Position


This Agreement is intended to vary the Terms and Conditions of Employment between the
Employer and the Employee.


West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       12
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
C17 - Checklist for the Review and Approval of Policy Document

To be completed and attached to any document which guides practice when submitted to the
appropriate Board, Executive Directors or Trust Clinical & Research Governance Executive
meeting for consideration and approval.

                                                      Yes/No/
      Title of document being reviewed:                                      Comments
                                                      Unsure
 1.   Title
      Is the title clear and unambiguous?                yes
      Is it clear whether the document is a              yes
      guideline, policy, protocol or standard?
 2.   Rationale
      Are reasons for development of the                 yes
      document stated?
 3.   Development Process
      Is the method described in brief?                  no       revision
      Are people involved in the development             no
      identified?
      Do you feel a reasonable attempt has               yes
      been made to ensure relevant expertise
      has been used?
      Is there evidence of consultation with             yes
      stakeholders and users?
 4.   Content
      Is the objective of the document clear?            yes
      Is the target population clear and                 Yes
      unambiguous?
      Are the intended outcomes described?               yes
      Are the statements clear and                       yes
      unambiguous?
 5.   Evidence Base
      Is the type of evidence to support the             yes
      document identified explicitly?
      Are key references cited?                          yes
      Are the references cited in full?                  yes
      Are supporting documents referenced?               yes
 6.   Approval
      Does the document identify which                   no
      committee/group will approve it?

West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       13
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
                                                       Yes/No/
       Title of document being reviewed:                                   Comments
                                                       Unsure
       If appropriate have the joint Human               yes
       Resources/staff side committee (or
       equivalent) approved the document?


 7.    Dissemination and Implementation
       Is there an outline/plan to identify how this     yes
       will be done?
       Does the plan include the necessary               no       None required – minor
       training/support to ensure compliance?                     revisions
 8.    Document Control
       Does the document identify where it will be       yes
       held?
       Have archiving arrangements for                   yes      DPC responsibility
       superseded documents been addressed?
 9.    Process to Monitor Compliance and
       Effectiveness
       Are there measurable standards or KPIs to         no       Recorded on ESR
       support the monitoring of compliance with
       and effectiveness of the document?
       Is there a plan to review or audit                yes      To be agreed
       compliance with the document?
 10.   Review Date
       Is the review date identified?                    yes
       Is the frequency of review identified? If so      yes
       is it acceptable?
 11.   Overall Responsibility for the Document
       Is it clear who will be responsible for co-       yes
       ordinating the dissemination,
       implementation and review of the
       document?




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       14
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
 Individual Approval
 If you are happy to approve this document, please sign and date it and forward to the chair
 of the committee/group where it will receive final approval.
 Name                                                       Date
 Signature

 Committee Approval
 If the committee is happy to approve this document, please sign and date it and forward
 copies to the person with responsibility for disseminating and implementing the document
 and the person who is responsible for maintaining the organisation’s database of approved
 documents.
 Name                                                       Date
 Signature




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       15
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
C17 - Plan for Dissemination of Procedural Documents
To be completed and attached to any document which guides practice when submitted to the
appropriate committee for consideration and approval.
 Title of policy /       Career Break Scheme
 procedure
 document:
 Date finalised:         November 2008          Dissemination lead:         J Hayward
                                                Print name and contact      01344 754318
 Previous                       Yes             details
 document already         (Please delete as
 being used?                 appropriate)
 If yes, in what         Trustwide policy
 format and where?
 Proposed action to      DPC to archive
 retrieve out-of-date
 copies of the
 document:
 To be                   How will it be               Paper    Comments
 disseminated to:        disseminated, who              or
                         will do it and when?       Electronic
 Policy                  DPC responsibility         Electronic
 implementation
 leads and the
 Exchange




              Dissemination Record - to be used once document is approved.

 Date put on the                                  Date due to be
 Exchange / Week of                               reviewed
 Monday Matters
 announcement


  Disseminated to:       Format (i.e.           Date         No. of       Contact Details /
  (either directly or     paper or          Disseminated     Copies         Comments
  via meetings, etc)     electronic)                          Sent




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       16
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08
C17 - Equality Impact Assessment Tool
To be completed and attached to any procedural document when submitted to the appropriate
committee for consideration and approval.
                                                       Yes/No              Comments
 1.   Does the policy/guidance affect one
      group less or more favourably than
      another on the basis of:
      • Race                                             no
      • Ethnic origins (including gypsies and            No
         travellers)
      • Nationality                                      No
      • Gender                                           No
      • Culture                                          No
      • Religion or belief                               No
      • Sexual orientation including lesbian,            No
         gay and bisexual people
      • Age                                              no
      • Disability - learning disabilities, physical     no
         disability, sensory impairment        and
         mental health problems
 2.   Is there any evidence that some groups             No
      are affected differently?
 3.   If you have identified potential                   No
      discrimination, are any exceptions
      valid, legal and/or justifiable?
 4.   Is the impact of the policy/guidance               No
      likely to be negative?
 5.   If so can the impact be avoided?
 6.   What alternatives are there to achieving
      the policy/guidance without the impact?
 7.      Can we reduce the impact by taking
         different action?
If you have identified a potential discriminatory impact of this procedural document, please refer
it to [insert name of appropriate person], together with any suggestions as to the action required
to avoid/reduce this impact.
For advice in respect of answering the above questions, please contact the Trust Diversity
Leads.




West London Mental Health NHS Trust________________________________________________________       17
Policy: C17 Date of First Issue: May 2003                 This is current version C17/05 Dec 08

								
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