Bank nurses feel ‘cheated’ after missing out on holiday pay

London-based nurses say their right to statutory holiday pay was not made clear by NHS Professionals, and now it’s too late to claim

A group of nurses working bank shifts have voiced their anger about losing out on statutory holiday pay.

Some bank staff say they are now unable to claim all the holiday pay they were entitled to.
Picture: iStock

The nurses, who want to remain anonymous, all work for a London NHS trust, but have also been working for the NHS Professionals (NHSP) bank to earn extra money.

They believe their right to statutory holiday pay was not made clear by NHSP when they started their contracts, and say they feel ‘cheated and let down’.

In 2015, the government introduced statutory regulations in England, Wales and Scotland that limit how far back an individual’s claim for holiday pay can go, meaning some staff are now unable to claim all the money they were entitled to.

The nurses claim they were not given an induction or separate discussion by NHSP regarding holiday pay and have never received regular emails about it.

Unable to claim

One said: ‘I signed up to the nurse bank two years ago. It is a struggle to make ends meet, so the ability to earn extra money is very appealing.

‘One of my colleagues asked me at the start of this year if I realised I could claim holiday pay. I didn’t. When I got in touch with NHSP I managed to get about £400 back but there are 25 shifts I have not been able to claim for.

‘It may well be in the small print somewhere in our contracts, but it certainly was not obvious to me. To find out I have lost out on hundreds of pounds in holiday pay that I was entitled to is rather upsetting, as is the dismissive attitude of the nursing bank when I contacted them.’

The nurse said that while she accepts it may be impractical to send personalised emails to staff, a general notice about how to claim holiday pay could be sent quarterly to prevent this issue arising.

Another nurse who works for the bank said: ‘I have been doing bank shifts since 2016 and in December last year someone mentioned holiday pay. NHSP said I had to get into the online system myself and it was my responsibility to check these things. I think I’ve lost out on £1,000 or more.

‘I feel cheated and I know I’m not the only one, it must also be happening elsewhere in the country.’

‘Complicated process’

A clinical nurse specialist said she felt the process for claiming holiday was ‘purposely complicated’.

RCN national officer Gerry O’Dwyer said bank and agency workers are entitled to receive statutory holiday pay, and advised those who had not to contact their RCN representative.

He said: ‘The RCN is aware of this problem, and we will be asking NHSP to do more to ensure bank staff are aware they can claim for holiday pay, and to put in place a clear procedure through which to do so, to avoid this happening in the future.’

An NHSP spokesperson said: ‘We give all our flexible workers the right to take their full paid holiday entitlement. This is made clear in their written terms. Our systems are designed to make taking paid holiday as simple as possible, and anyone can access their holiday pay directly from their mobile phone, tablet or laptop. 

‘We also regularly email details of the holiday pay process to all our flexible workers. As is standard practice, we have a "use it in year" approach. This means our flexible workers are able to take their full paid holiday each year, but if they choose not to, the leave is not rolled over to the next year.’

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