Royal Mail Group: BRT&G Agreement Section 6.4.1 – Sick Pay Arrangements
Branches will be aware from LTB 216/23 dated 21st August that the payroll system needed to be developed to take account of the new arrangements which were applicable from 1st October 2023. Consequently, we have been in negotiations with Royal Mail to arrive at a position in respect of sick pay calculations that can be deployed in a consistent way whilst ensuring an equitable and fair approach for all. Obviously these negotiations had to take into account many variable, such as gross hours versus net hours which apply amongst the different grade groups, differing attendance patters with long and short days and seasonal variations.
Branches will appreciate that this has been an extremely complex matter hence why it has taken a considerable time to get to an agreed position. Yesterday the Postal Executive endorsed the attached National Agreement that will be deployed immediately. To support this position a Joint Statement (also attached) along with some Q&As have been agreed to explain the details.
Reduced Occupational Sick Pay – ROSP
The new arrangements introduce ROSP for the reduction in sick pay for the first two, four or three days of a second, third, fourth or subsequent absence within a 12 month rolling period from the first absence. This is in accordance with Section 6.4.1 of the BRT&G Agreement. Crucially ROSP will be paid as a proportion of the number of scheduled hours (excluding SA and overtime) members are contracted to work. Only working days are included in the calculation and part day absences are excluded. In these circumstances, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be paid. This is based on the current weekly rate of £109.40 and payroll will automatically adjust pay to ensure that no member is paid less than SSP where applicable.
For members who work net hours (with unpaid meal reliefs) we have ensured that the ROSP calculation excludes the unpaid meal relief.
Fundamentally, ROSP is based on the appropriate proportion of hours to ensure fairness for those members who work fewer, longer days thus avoiding an otherwise larger reduction in sick pay. Examples of this are provided in the agreement to demonstrate how it will work in practice. We have also ensured there are no detrimental impacts arising from the operation of Seasonal Variations.
With the introduction of ROSP there will be in certain circumstances where exceptions apply meaning that normal occupational sick pay will continue to be paid. These exceptions will be overseen by the HR Shared Services unit to ensure consistency and fairness. These exceptions include Pregnancy related absences, non-blameworthy accidents at work, Equality Act absences and other serious incidents. Naturally, these exceptions will be based on individual circumstances and if the decision is made to not grant an exception this can be challenged visa the lodging of a grievance.
It is jointly recognised with Royal Mail that these entirely new arrangements may not be perfect and might require modification in their light of working experience. This will include updating and releasing frequently asked questions on a regular basis. Therefore, it was obviously of paramount importance to include within the agreement a clause to allow for a joint review. This approach will enable us to modify the application of the agreement if we find in practice there are anomalies or legitimate concerns raised that haven’t been taken into account during the negotiations.
Additionally the agreement includes the key principle that issues of interpretation or application should be referred to the signatories for resolution.
The payroll system has been updated and the changes described in the National Agreement will be made automatically from 3rd February 2024. Also as previously agreed for any second or subsequent absence since 1st October and 2nd February will now start to be repaid via a payroll sick pay adjustment. The maximum deduction will be £50 per week or £200 per month for full time members and will be pro-rata for less than full-time members.
These adjustments will start on 9th February for weekly paid members and the 29th February for those monthly paid
As Branches would expect we will discuss this matter at the National Briefing this Thursday and will include a Q&A session. Alternatively if you have any questions on the new National Agreement please write to the DGS(P) department.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)