Government stressed to modify NHS “Pay to Work”

What springs to your mind when you think of front line workers in the U.K.? One area of the front line that might arise is the wonderful workers of the NHS.

2020 has been a year which has made us gain more respect for the risk-taking staff of the NHS. What may surprise you though, is that before any new employees can begin to work for them, they’re handed a bill, before they enter any NHS premises.

Reports have circulated that the cost of a bill to several NHS staff on lower wages can total up to a full day’s wages! Such a scheme is otherwise known as the “Pay to Work” scheme. However, recently, it’s been changed a great deal. Why have the rules of the pay to work been changed?

DBS checks within the NHS

Any employee who works for the NHS has to undergo a disclosure and barring check (DBS check) before getting the job. This check involves reviewing an applicants criminal record and checks to see if there are any convictions or cautions, which would be a cause for concern in their new job role. Depending on the role, there are different levels of DBS check, and all of them require a fee.

If an NHS role is patient-centred such as porters, nurses, cleaning staff or anything else, they will require an enhanced DBS check. However, if the role involves being behind the scenes such as in a back office, they will need a standard DBS check. In particular, this type of check is for people who are working solely in laboratories or administration roles.

Do employers pay for the DBS check?

The majority of the time within the NHS, employers will fund the DBS check. However, employers do this out of the greater good; there’s no mandatory requirement by the law, forcing them to do this.

Sometimes, there are NHS trusts who will make applicants pay, to save money whenever they can within their trust. Similarly, if this is the case some refund the fees to the applicant once they’ve received their first payslip.

During COVID-19, the British government decided to temporarily make a change to waiver the fees for all applicants working within social care or the NHS. The reason behind this was to allow quicker transition of applicants into new roles and keep the NHS working to fill the capacity to deal with the crisis. However, once the pandemic ends, it’ll be up to the NHS to review the cost themselves or charge the applicants.

Overseas NHS Applicants

Every year, the situation becomes more complicated for many health professionals travelling to the U.K. from foreign shores. A DBS check would serve no purpose on these professionals, as the check only retrieves U.K. records.

Therefore, overseas applicants have to submit their own countries version of a DBS check. Most of the time, this is known as a certificate or something similar. However, depending on the applicants country, fees can vary and are not waived by the British government. As a result, for the foreseeable future, overseas applicants will have to pay for their certificate and the costs to arrive.

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